The original was another enchanting animated classic from Studio Ghibli but Ponyo 2 probably isn’t going to happen. Hayao Miyazaki is the co-founder of the legendary Studio Ghibli, a Japanese animation studio responsible for films such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Miyazaki also directed those entries and is rightly acclaimed as one of the greatest living filmmakers.
Ponyo from 2008 was Miyazaki’s tenth film and tells the story of a boy who discovers a goldfish who turns out to be an underwater princess. Ponyo was another Ghibli film about the wonder of childhood and while it contains darker moments, it’s also just a joyful adventure. The movie’s English language dub also contained an all-star cast, including Matt Damon, Tina Fey and Cate Blanchett (Thor: Ragnarok).
While Ponyo was a critical and commercial success, a sequel looks highly doubtful. Here’s why Ponyo 2 probably won’t happen.
Hayao Miyazaki Wanted To Make Ponyo 2 – But Was Overruled
Surprisingly, Hayao Miyazaki was actually interested in making Ponyo 2 but he was talked out of it. Miyazaki initially wanted to follow up Ponyo with a sequel, but producer Toshio Suzuki convinced him to adapt his own manga The Wind Rises instead. Miyazaki was reluctant at first since the subject matter, a biopic of Jiro Horikoshi who designed fighter planes during World War 2, wasn’t typical Studio Ghibli fare.
His staff convinced him to press ahead with the project, which was released in 2013 to great acclaim. The film was also intended to be Miyazaki’s final feature film, but it was later announced he was working on a new project dubbed How Do You Live?
Studio Ghibli Don’t Really Make Sequels
Another barrier in the way of Ponyo 2 is that Studio Ghibli has never made a feature-length sequel to one of their projects. Miyazaki’s interest in making Ponyo 2 is one of the rare times the animation studio has even flirted with making a follow-up. In 2002 they released The Cat Returns, a spinoff of their 1995 movie Whisper Of The Heart, and in 2003 Miyazaki also directed Mei And The Kittenbus, a short film sequel to My Neighbor Totoro.
Miyazaki will be busy for at least a couple more years with How Do You Live? and it’s doubtful any other filmmaker at Studio Ghibli would be brave enough to tackle Ponyo 2. It’s possible once the legendary director is finished with his next project he could revisit the sequel but realistically he will likely make good on his threat of retirement. Ghibli has historically chosen not to make sequels either, so the odds of Ponyo 2 happening aren’t great.