The spin-off movie will incorporate new characters alongside preexisting characters, although this might be a bit of minion overkill seeing as it will be coming just a year after next summer's "Despicable Me 2," which co-stars Kristin Wiig and Al Pacino (in a role originated for Javier Bardem). This summer also saw "Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem," a 3D simulator ride, open at Universal Studios Florida (don't worry, it didn't replace "The Simpsons" ride).
This new movie will be co-directed by Pierre Coffin (who co-directed the original film and the sequel) and Kyle Balda (co-director of this past spring's somewhat grating Dr. Seuss adaptation "The Lorax"), with a script having already been written by Brian Lynch. While the report says that production will immediately shift to work on the spin-off after "Despicable Me 2" is complete, with pre-production starting now, we kind of feel like the projects will be worked on in parallel, with one project always aiding the other. We secretly hope for more minion cross-dressing in this spin-off, maximizing the gender fluidity of a creature roughly the shape of a Tylenol PM and the size of a smallish potbellied pig.
The minions are, of course, a marketing machine, which of course had no bearing on this movie being green lit over, say, something that was actually original. That said, we really did love the minions in the first film, and all of the films that Universal and Illumination have worked on since "Despicable Me" have carried with them some kind of minions surrogate – it was the evil chicks in "Hop," and then in "The Lorax" it was the fish. The characters have also become a kind of corporate logo for Illumination (their version of the Luxo Jr. lamp). It will be interesting to see if the excitement for the characters can last through two more movies and a theme park ride that will be rode all year long.
"The Minions" should be out in the summer of 2014.