'Finding Nemo' sequel changed due to 'Blackfish' controversy

Aug. 9, 2013 at 8:15 PM ET

Pixar / AP
Pixar reportedly has changed some of the plot of "Finding Dory," the "Finding Nemo" sequel, due to concern about marine theme parks sparked in part by the movie "Blackfish."

Directer Gabriela Cowperthwaite told NBC this week that she "didn't have one goal" in mind for how audiences would react to "Blackfish," her documentary about SeaWorld orca Tilikum. 

But according to the New York Times, Cowperthwaite's film had a big effect on an upcoming blockbuster -- Pixar Animation Studio's 2015 film, "Finding Dory," the much-awaited sequel to 2003's "Finding Nemo."

Although "Finding Dory" is still in its early stages, the Times reports that a Pixar employee says its initial ending involved a marine park.

"But as a result of the sometimes harsh 'Blackfish,' directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, and the resulting publicity battle SeaWorld has had to fight, Pixar decided to restructure that part of the story so that the fish and mammals taken to its aquatic center have the option to leave," the Times reported.

Pixar declined to comment to the newspaper.

Ellen DeGeneres, who voiced Dory, the regal tang who befriended Nemo's father Marlin in the first movie, will return for the sequel. DeGeneres had long been gently nudging Pixar to make a second "Nemo" film, and announced the news of the new movie on her talk show in April.

"It's hilarious, it's fantastic, it's warm, it's everything you want it to be," DeGeneres said of the script at that time.