Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, who has been behind animated classics like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, has officially come out of retirement.
Long-time colleague Toshio Suzuki confirmed that he is producing Miyazaki’s next feature film in an interview. “[Miyazaki] is putting all his effort into making it,” Suzuki told Japanese news agency Kyodo News.
Despite announcing his retirement in 2012, the 76-year-old filmmaker seems unable to detach himself from his work, with some sources saying he has “retired” six times.
This occasion, Miyazaki was tempted back to turn an idea for short film about a caterpillar into a feature.
Kemushi no Boro (Boro the Caterpillar), was originally intended to be a short animation for the Ghibli Museum but in December the director proposed expanding it into a full length film to Suzuki, who accepted.
According to Kyodo News, the storyboard took Miyazaki just 20 minutes to put together.
Screenshots of Hayao Miyazaki's Boro short film as seen on the recent NHK TV special. Or is this perhaps the FEATURE FILM version??? pic.twitter.com/4ysYdLTYM7
— Daniel Thomas MacInnes (@GhibliBlog) February 24, 2017
Ghibli reportedly hope to release the film, which would be Miyazaki’s 12th feature, before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Since retiring, Miyazaki has focused his energies on working on a number of short films for the Ghibli Museum, which are due to premiere later this year.
Studio Ghibli was co-founded in 1985 by Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.