It kind of came out of left field yesterday when it was announced that Pixar is planning a fourth Toy Story movie. Even bigger was the news that writer, director, and release date have already been set.
John Lasseter returns to direct the Pixar Animation Studios movie. This is a big surprise since Lasseter seems to be very wrapped up as the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Studios, and Disney Toon Studios, and the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering.
“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” Lasseter said in a statement. “We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before. ‘Toy Story3’ ended Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy so perfectly that for a long time, we never even talked about doing another ‘Toy Story’ movie. But when Andrew, Pete, Lee and I came up with this new idea, I just could not stop thinking about it. It was so exciting to me, I knew we had to make this movie—and I wanted to direct it myself.”
Expected to reprise their roles are Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
Probably the biggest surprise for many was the announcement that Rashida Jones and Will McCormack are writing the script based on ideas by Andrew Stanton, Pete Doctor, Lee Unkirch and Lasseter. I’ve been following Rashida Jones’ career for years when she first hit my radar in Boston Public (2000). Though she may be the daughter of Quincy Jones, she’s a real talent and shouldn’t be disregarded. If there is a talent that is waiting to explode on the writing/producing/directing front, my money is on Jones.
Toy Story 4 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on June 16, 2017.