Disney+ subscribers can now enjoy a brand-new spinoff series to 2009’s UP, a collection of animated shorts set in the suburbs called Dug Days.
Anyone who has a dog like Dug, so protective and caring and distracted by squirrels, is likely to laugh and cry watching this sweet series, perfect for binge-viewing on a summer afternoon.
The adventures of Dug the dog take place after the wild events of UP, when he and his owner, Carl Frederickson (voiced by the late, great Ed Asner), settle into their new life as part of a neighborhood.
Though the five shorts add up to only about 40 minutes of content, that might be just enough time to spend in the perspective of a happy-go-lucky dog like Dug.
Disney and Pixar Greats Team Up
Disney+ tapped director Bob Peterson (UP, Finding Nemo) to take creative control of Dug Days along with producer Kim Collins, who has worked at Pixar for over two decades. Collins worked as a production manager for UP, Ratatouille, Toy Story 4, Cars 2, Brave, and more.
Animation Magazine’s Ramin Zahed spoke with Peterson and Collins about the new project to get more insight into how Dug Days came to be.
“I pitched an idea of an UP mini-sequel, to see how Carl and Dug are progressing, but to see it all from Dug’s point of view,” said Peterson. “The goal was to get to see the fun of a dog’s life. We thought that might put a smile on people’s faces.”
Dug Days could have gone into development when Peterson initially pitched the idea about three years ago. However, the topsy-turvy nature of 2020 forced the creative team to recalibrate their plan. Luckily, though, they were able to bring their ideas to Disney+.
Who Voices Russell?
Yes, little Russell appears in the new spinoff series, too. However, actor Jordan Nagai was only about ten years old when he voiced Russell in the film UP. Of course, his voice would not match the young character now.
Instead of bringing a new actor to the project, Peterson, Collins, and the rest of the Dug Days team decided to try reworking Russel’s dialogue from UP into the new series.
“We loved [Jordan Nagai’s] voice so much that we decided to keep his kid voice,” Peterson told Zahed. “We found old dialogue from Up with the help of our editorial team. So, for example, after I wrote the script for the short ‘Science,’ we went looking for Jordan lines that matched. Some of the found lines, in fact, were actually better than the written lines.”
What Are You Waiting For?
Dug Days is receiving great reviews. Joel Keller reported for Decider’s “Stream It Or Skip It” that the series of shorts is “light but funny,” perfect entertainment for both children and parents.
Keller adds, “What worked about UP was the emotional bond between Carl and Dug, helped along by Russell. And that emotional bond is always there, because at the end of every episode, Carl is telling Dug that they’re best buddies and that even when he tears up the yard, everything is OK.”
The new series has been streaming since September 1, and audiences across the country seem to be loving this collection of shorts. Make sure to add this one to your list; it may be one of the most heartwarming, lighthearted releases of the year.