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We usually have to wait until the newest Pixar film hits theaters to enjoy the latest Pixar short, but fans of the beloved animated studio won’t have to wait until this fall to see Dante’s Lunch… A Short Tail. Pixar has released their new short online a full eight months ahead of its theatrical debut, giving fans another sneak peek at the colorful world of Coco via the life of his endearing dog, Dante.
Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) pulled double duty on Coco and Dante’s Lunch — sort of. The latter was originally created as an animation test for the canine in Pixar’s new feature film, inspired by Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday tradition honoring the memory of those who have died. As you can see, Unkrich’s test is a pretty charming standalone piece, and with a little polishing, he felt it was good enough to become a short — one that could be released early as a treat for fans.
Yahoo debuted the short in a new feature, which reveals that Dante is a Xolo, or a Mexican hairless dog, and just one of the delightful characters we’ll meet in Pixar’s supernatural fantasy adventure, Coco. The feature film centers on Miguel, a young Mexican boy who defies his family by pursuing his dreams of becoming a musician. Those ambitions take him on a fantastical journey through the land of the dead, where he meets his (dead) idol, a musician voiced by Benjamin Bratt.
The Xolo, which is short for Xoloitzcuintli, “figures very prominently in Aztec legends about the afterlife,” Unkrich explains. “It was said that in order to make the journey through the afterlife, you needed to have one of these Xolo dogs with you.”
Coco hits theaters on November 22.