This past July, Disney and Pixar tipped their first teaser on an animated film they plan to release early next year. “Turning Red” boasts a highly-skilled creative team (that handled Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and “Inside Out”) under director Domee Shi (Pixar short “Bao”), who also wrote the story inspired by her life growing up as a Chinese-Canadian in Toronto. Of course, magical elements are in play including the main character, Mei, turning into a giant red panda when she stresses out. If this teaser was more like a food photo on a restaurant menu, then prepare for the taste test.

By that we mean that Disney-Pixar just released the first long trailer for their 2022 feature “Turning Red” according to NBC News. This is definitely a treat for Pixar fans whose interests were piqued by the July teaser. A story set in Canada, circa early 2000s, about a Chinese-Canadian girl turning into a big fluffy creature, ticks all the boxes of the Pixar formula but presents everything in a fresh new way. And this time, fans anticipating “Turning Red” will now get an idea on just what the deal is with “poofing” into a red panda that Mei (unfortunately) experiences.

We return to Meilin Lee (Rosalie Chiang), a spunky 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian schoolgirl in Toronto. She is highly disciplined, smart and multi-talented (math geek, fluently multilingual, young student activist) with a devoted circle of friends. Then one night she suffers a nightmare and awakes the following morning as a big red panda. Her mother Ming (Sandra Oh) reveals that their family carries that transforming ability due to their ancestors’ mystical ties to the red panda. Mei is understandably freaked out, but with the support of her friends and her growing accustomed to changing when beset by any strong emotions, Mei decides that she might just get to like her new self.

One element of the story that has fans giddy for is its explicit early 21st Century setting. In the teaser this was punctuated by the Backstreet Boys’ “Larger than Life” as background music. In the trailer *NSYNC steps up with “It’s Gonna be Me” (which sounds like “It’s gonna be Mei”). Mei and her clique are also big fans of fictional boy band 4*Town (to be voiced by the likes of Jordan Fisher, Josh Levi and Finneas O’Connel). One of Mei’s friends, Priya is also voiced by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan from Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever.”

“Turning Red” is due to premiere in March 11 in North America, and the rest of the world (where movie theaters are open) for the rest of spring in 2022.

Image courtesy of Showtimes