Pixar’s “Brave” character images make us cheer

AfterEllen.com super-blogger Dorothy Snarker is the yin to my excitement yang. Over the course of our years of writing together, we’ve developed a kind of unspoken blogging support system — which, as you might guess, is necessary in the tempestuous world of female entertainment. If I get hyper-excited about Skins, Dorothy Snarker stays grounded until we can make sure Naomily isn’t going to get axe-murdered. If Dorothy Snarker gets hyper-excited about Glee, I stay grounded until we can make sure Santana isn’t going to turn into a serial killer. The system has never failed us — until now.

When Pixar announced that Brave, its13th feature-length film, would finally give us the animated female heroine we’ve been longing for, Dorothy Snarker and I both came unglued because, boy, do we ever love Pixar. I tried to remain calm and let her get hyped. I tried to measure my enthusiasm with imaginary catastrophes, like, “What if this is the movie where Pixar finally bombs? Of course people won’t be like, ‘It was bound to happen.’ They’ll be like, “Oh well, I guess now we know empowering stories with female heroines won’t sell.’”

But then, this week, the first one-sheet poster dropped and — cynicism be damned! — I just let my heart soar to a puppy level of excitement. “Change your fate. Summer 2012.”

Dorothy Snarker already hashed out the plot and the stellar cast for you. And yesterday, Pixar finally released character images to match the voices she is so excited about.

You’ve got Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly MacDonald) up there to the top left. And then Queen Elinor and The Wise Woman (voiced by the incomparable Emma Thompson and Julie Walters, respectively). And on the bottom right, Lord MacIntosh (voiced by Craig Ferguson). (If you doubt Ferguson’s voice-acting ability, you should do yourself a favor and watch How to Train Your Dragon.)

Some unofficial stills of Princess Merida leaked online last month, but Pixar’s been doing its best to hunt those down, so here’s the official concept art for her.

Pixar will show the first teaser trailer before Cars 2, which opens tomorrow. Yesterday, Brave director Mark Andrews told Entertainment Weekly: “What we want to get across [with the teaser] is that this story has some darker elements. Not to frighten off our Pixar fans — we’ll still have all the comedy and the great characters. But we get a little bit more intense here.”

Entertainment Weekly’s June 24 issue will have more scoop on the story.

I don’t think I can overstate my hysteria about this movie. Badass heroines, animated films, and Scottish highlands are three of my favorite things in life. Wrap that up in a Pixar bow, and I guess neither me nor Dororthy Snarker are going to be able to stay grounded for this one. Ah, well. You know what they say: Show me a girl with both feet planted firmly on the ground and I’ll show you a girl who can’t put her pants on.

What do you think about Brave’s new artwork?

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