When Disney+ launched, a big part of its promise was that it would offer infinite open spaces for its many franchise properties. To date we've seen this bear fruit for the Star Wars universe via The Mandalorian and for the MCU with the likes of Wandavision and Loki. This week the service debuts its first longform series based on a Pixar brand with.Monsters at Work, a sequel series to Monsters, Inc. Following the events of the original 2001 film, the world of monsters will no longer be powered by the screams of children; it'll now be powered by children's laughter. This is a major change to the city of Monstropolis and its economy, not to mention the career paths of the monsters emerging from University. Into this peculiar circumstance comes newly graduated monster Tylor Tuskmon, who must adjust to this new monstering normal if he wants to make his way at his new workplace.
The original film and its 2013 prequel Monsters University famously starred the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman, but which voices figure in this next chapter in the Monsters saga? You've come to th eright place.
Superstore and Mad Men star Ben Feldman voices the show's lead character, Tylor Tuskmon, fresh out of Monsters University and ready to take on the world as a big, longhorned scare machine. Only, oops, we're in the business of making kids laugh now. Aside from his two most famous roles, Ben Feldman also starred opposite Hilary Duff in The Perfect Man, was briefly in Cloverfield, played Fran Drescher's son in the WB sitcom Living with Fran, and he played the Pied Piper lawyer on HBO's Silicon Valley.
You couldn't have a Monsters, Inc. series without Sulley! At the end of Monsters, Inc., Sulley discovered that children's laughter was a far more potent source of energy than children's screams. Thus, he rescues Boo, changes the entire Monsteropolis energy economy, and becomes the CEO of Monsters, Inc. So in this sequel series, Sulley is the head honcho, with his buddy Mike by his side. John Goodman's list of screen credits is impossibly long, and what you know him best from is as open-ended a question as it gets. Perhaps it's his TV role as Dan Conner from the seminal sitcom Roseanne and its current evolutionary form The Conners. Perhaps it's the many films he's made with the Coen brothers, including The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink, and Inside Llewyn Davis. Perhaps it's his roles as Fred Flintstone in The Flintstones, Babe Ruth in The Babe, or King Ralph in King Ralph. In addition to his work on The Conners, Goodman also currently stars as charismatic pastor Eli Gemstone in the HBO series The Righteous Gemstones.
Mike Wazowski is Sulley's best friend, a big ol' eyeball with a tiny green body surrounding it. Mike is neurotic and headstrong but also a loyal friend, and in this spinoff series he's helping Sulley run Monsters, Inc. He's voiced by Billy Crystal, one of the great comedic actors of his era, with credits that include When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers, Analyze This, and hosting the Academy Awards nine times. Most recentl, he directed and starred in the film Here Today, opposite Tiffany Haddish.
Val is a mechanic within the Monsters, Inc. business, and she's enthusiastic about her work. She's also Tylor's best friend from college — at least if you ask her — which he'll need as he tries to adjust to the new way of things. She's voiced by Mindy Kaling, who got her big TV breakthrough as Kelly Kapoor on The Office. Since then she starred in her own sitcom, The Mindy Project, voiced Disgust in Pixar's Inside Out, co-starred in A Wrinkle in Time and Ocean's 8, and has produced shows like Champions, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Never Have I Ever.
TV legend Henry Winkler will of course always be remembered for playing Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli on Happy Days, one of television's most iconic characters. He's worked steadily since then, most recently finding a renaissance on HBO's Barry as small-time acting coach Gene Cousineau, a role for which he won an Emmy Award in 2018. He plays Fritz, Tylor's boss on the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team; Fritz is is nice, friendly, and a bit scatterbrained.
Returning from the original Monsters, Inc. is the character of Celia Mae, who was the receptionist in the original film and also Mike's girlfriend. She's got one eye and snakes for hair, and she's voiced by Jennifer Tilly, who is likely best known for her role as both herself as an evil little doll in Bride of Chucky and its sequels. She's also starred in films like Bound, Liar, Liar, and earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Bullets Over Broadway.
In the original Monsters, Inc. movie, Roz was the impassive, bureaucratic, slug-like monster working as the administrator on Sulley and Mike's floor. But by the end of the movie, she revealed herself to be an undercover agent for the Child Detection Agency, grateful for Sulley and Mike's help in cracking the case. In the spinoff, Roz is the head of the CDA, and she's also got a twin sister working at Monsters, Inc. Both are voiced by Bob Peterson, a Pixar animator and voice actor who, among other roles, provides the voice of Dug in Up.
Duncan is a cunning plumber who takes advantage of any opportunity he can seize on, and he's voiced by Lucas Neff, whose big break on TV was in the lead role in the FOX family comedy Raising Hope. He also starred in the Patricia Heaton sitcom Carol's Second Act and had a small role in the film Marriage Story.
Character actress Alanna Ubach is probably most recognizable to audiences as one of Elle Woods's Delta Nu sisters in Legally Blonde. She co-stared in Sister Act 2 and The Brady Bunch Movie, and starred alongside Parker Posey, Lisa Kudrow, and Toni Collette in the indie comedy Clockwatchers. She's also a prolific voice actress in films like Rango and Coco, as well as countless TV shows. She's voices the role of Cutter, a crab-like monster who prefers to play it by the book.
Millie Tuskmon is Tylor's mother, and she's voiced by Aisha Tyler. Tyler's best known role is likely as Lana in the FX animated comedy Archer, although you likely know her face as well from roles on Friends, The Ghost Whisperer, C.S.I, and as Mother Nature in the Santa Clause films. She's also hosted TV shows like The Soup and The Talk.
Mrs. Flint returns from the original Monsters, Inc., where she helped train monsters like Sulley and Mike to scare children. She's voiced by Bonnie Hunt, the great comedic actress best known for films like Jumanji, Jerry Maguire, and Cheaper By the Dozen, and TV shows like the eponymous Life with Bonnie. She's also a hugely popular voice actress in animation, lending her distinctive voice to such movies as Cars, Zootopia, and the last two Toy Story movies.
If you've seen a Pixar movie, you've heard the distinctive voice of John Ratzenberger, since he's provided his vocals to every Pixar animated feature, most memorably as Hamm the piggy bank in the Toy Story movies. He's also, of course, a TV legend for playing mail carrier/fraudulent know-it-all Cliff Clavin on the long-running sitcom Cheers. He reprises his role as the Yeti monster from the first Monsters, Inc. movie, an abominable snowman who was banished to the Himalayas.
Monsters at Work premieres with two episodes on Disney+ Wednesday July 7. New episodes are set to drop Wednesdays through August.
Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.
TOPICS: Monsters at Work, Disney+, Aisha Tyler, Alanna Ubach, Ben Feldman, Billy Crystal, Bonnie Hunt, Henry Winkler, Jennifer Tilly, John Goodman, John Ratzenberger, Lucas Neff, Mindy Kaling, Pixar