Today is a very good day if you are a lover of both Wes Anderson and canines: The first trailer for his highly-anticipated stop-motion feature The Isle of Dogs has dropped, and with it, our first real glimpse at the filmmaker’s mysterious project that’s been a couple of years in the making. Of course, it’s an aesthetic marvel to behold, with Anderson’s candy-coated hues transplanted onto an animated, if slightly darker, canvas. But more importantly, we finally get a substantial premise for this dog-centered tale.
Courtney B. Vance appears to be our narrator, informing the viewer that the setting is Japan, 20 years from now. “Canine saturation has reached epidemic proportions. An outbreak of dog flu rips through the city of Megasaki. Mayor Kobayashi issues emergency orders.” Dogs are now to be abandoned on an island of waste, thus transforming it into the Isle of Dogs. Understandably, the dogs—which include Rex (voiced by Edward Norton), Chief (Bryan Cranston), and Duke (Jeff Goldblum), are not happy about their newfound circumstances. Neither is 12-year-old Atari (Koyu Rankin), ward to the mayor, who sets off to find his “bodyguard-dog” Spots (Liev Schreiber).
Even after all of those actors mentioned above, the rest of the cast is pretty incredible, as Anderson ensembles tend to be—Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, Harvey Keitel, and Yoko Ono all lend their talents to The Isle of Dogs. And while there was some concern that Anderson might be the latest filmmaker to play fast and loose with whitewashing when it was revealed that the film was Kurosawa-inspired and set in Japan, while also starring Johansson and Tilda Swinton—they’ve both gotten in trouble for portraying Asian characters recently—it’s still unclear if this is actually the case. (Johansson, at least, can be heard voicing a dog, while several Asian actors appear to be voicing the Japanese characters.)
The Isle of Dogs is due out March 23, 2018.