Smith was actually responding to a question over why Newt had been deleted from the latest supplement to his book "Disney A to Z." It seems that there were rumblings that this film might not make it. This past February Disney Legend Floyd Norman stated that "Newt is dead".
The film was initially announced at the Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios 2008 Animation Presentation in New York City. Newt had been set to be released in the summer of 2011.
After this, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter said that production on Cars 2 (originally set for 2012) was going to be pushed up and that it would come out in the Summer of 2011. Newt was then set back for the Summer 2012.