With each new Pixar movie comes a new Pixar short, and sometimes it's hard to be sure which one is more exciting. The good news is that you don't have to choose one to watch, and the studio's new animated short, Bao, is almost as exciting as the movie it precedes. You'll want to know where to stream Bao, the Pixar short before Incredibles 2, as soon as you hear about what it's about, but since both animations hit theaters on June 15, you'll probably have to wait about a year before Bao gets released online.
The short will eventually be available in a new Pixar Short Films Collection like the ones already on Amazon. Since Pixar Short Films Collection 1 and 2 came out in 2007 and 2012, respectively, it's likely that another volume will come out soon. After all, Pixar has released a good number of shorts since 2012 including the shorts corresponding with Brave, Inside Out, Finding Dory, Coco, Cars 3, and now Incredibles 2. More likely than not, a new anthology is on its way within a year.
Even if that doesn't happen, you can probably expect Bao to become available on Google Play sometime in the next year. After Lava aired with Inside Out in 2015, it was added to Google Play later that year. You might want to buy both Bao and Incredibles 2 together, too, just to re-create your initial viewing experience.
While the Pixar shorts don't always have anything to do with the movie they precede, Bao works perfectly with Incredibles 2 because both of the animations explore the themes of family relationships. They both have a lot of imagination involved, too. In Bao, a Chinese-Canadian woman has a magical encounter with a dumpling after the food she makes comes to life as an impossibly cute baby boy. The baby dumpling becomes the woman's son, and the woman — who is otherwise childless — has such a strong bond with her baby dumpling that she has a hard time letting go as he grows older and wants freedom.
All you have to do is watch a clip from Bao to instantly fall in love with it. But be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster, because without spoiling anything, the short gets a bit darker and stranger than your typical Pixar film. "I was afraid that it would be too dark and too weird of a story to tell at Pixar," director Domee Shi told IndieWire. "But I pitched it to Pete Docter [the director/writer of Inside Out] and he became a champion. He said it was cool and different and encouraged me to keep the twist ending.”
Bao's darkness sets the film apart from so many other Pixar shorts like Day & Night or Boundin', but that's not the only reason that it stands out from the pack. Bao is the first Pixar short to be directed by a woman, Shi, a Chinese-Canadian story artist. And it's a good thing that Shi stuck to her original vision for Bao, because the short now might even inspire a feature-length movie in the future. As the filmmaker told IndieWire, "I definitely want to keep putting in all the elements that I love from Bao into a feature. That weirdness, that fun energy, the surprises. But it’s still early.”
In an interview with the blog, Oh My Disney, Shi revealed that Bao started as a personal side project that held a lot of importance to her. She used her mother, whom Shi calls a “dumpling queen,” as inspiration in telling the story about parenting and traditional Chinese foods. Shi wasn't the only person involved with Bao who felt a personal connection to the story, though. When speaking to Oh My Disney, the short's Production Designer, Rona Lui, said, "Working on Bao was extremely special to me because it gave me the chance to express my experience as an immigrant through color and design."
As you can tell just from learning about the creators of Bao, the short is filled with excitement and importance. It will be worth the wait for it to hit a streaming site in the future, but until then it's definitely worth seeing in theaters.