Pixar has changed the ending to Finding Dory in response to the recent SeaWorld documentary, Blackfish.
In the documentary, Gabriela Cowperthwaite set out to uncover the truth behind trainer Dawn Brancheau's death. The 40-year-old was killed when orca whale Tilikum grabbed her and dragged her into his tank. An autopsy indicated that the cause of death was blunt force trauma and drowning. Brancheau's spinal cord was severed, and she sustained fractures to her a cervical vertebra, ribs, and jawbone. Tilikum was also involved in the deaths of two other people. He returned to performing in March 2011, and then was put on hiatus in December. He resumed performing in the spring of 2012.
SeaWorld has been fighting back against the documentary and its portrayal of the circumstances surrounding Brancheau's death.
"Instead of a fair and balanced treatment of a complex subject, the film is inaccurate and misleading and, regrettably, exploits a tragedy that remains a source of deep pain for Dawn Brancheau's family, friends and colleagues," SeaWorld said in a statement.
A Pixar employee said the ending to Finding Dory was originally set in a SeaWorld-type marine park, but the studio decided to restructure that part of the story following the documentary and the resulting publicity battle. The new ending gives the mammals and fish in the park the option to leave. Fortunately, since the film is still in the early stages of production, the changes only required a rewrite and not a complete overhaul.
Disney officially announced Finding Dory in April. The film was originally scheduled to hit theaters November 25, 2015, and the studio is still planning for a release that year. Ellen DeGeneres will reprise her role as the titular forgetful regal blue tang. Albert Brooks, who voiced clownfish Marlin in the original film, will also be reprising his role. Nemo, who was voiced by Alexander Gould, will most likely be recast.
What do you think of Pixar's decision to change the ending of Finding Dory?