Disney's D23 Expo kicked off today with a massive three-hour panel that showcased the 20th Anniversary of Toy Story, while looking forward to Toy Story 4, arriving in theaters June 16, 2017. Pixar Animation Studios' John Lasseter, who's one of Pixar's three founders, celebrated 20 years since Toy Story transformed the animation industry and the art of storytelling. Lasseter welcomed to the stage iconic two-time Oscar-winning songwriter and longtime Pixar collaborator Randy Newman, whose Pixar credits include Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc. and Cars.
Also joining in the celebration were Toy Story 4 co-director Josh Cooley (Cars 2, Ratatouille) and producer Galyn Susman (Toy Story of Terror!). Screenwriters Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (Celeste and Jesse Forever) joined Buzz, Woody and Bo Peep in the Toy Story 4 celebration. Directed by Lasseter, the movie is slated for release on June 16, 2017. John Lasseter revealed earlier today that the plot centers on the love story between Woody and Bo-Peep. It was also revealed that Bo Peep goes missing, and Buzz and Woody team-up to find her. Their search for Bo Peep, who was either lost or sold at a garage sale, turns up plenty of new characters who will be revealed at a later date. Here's what the filmmaker had to say.
"I'm very proud of our films. When we made the first three Toy Story films, we didn't realize what we had done was to change the genre of each of the films' story. For Toy Story 4, we are doing a type of story we have not done before: a love story. It's a story about a relationship between Woody and Bo Peep. All the characters from Toy Story-especially Woody and Buzz-are so close to us. They seem more like family members than just creations. Not only do we dearly love the characters, but we also love the world of Toy Story-the world where toys come to life when people are not in the room has always been rich with many story possibilities."
Fans were also given new information on another one of Pixar's animated projects at D23, which was long known as the Untitled Dia de Los Muertos Project. Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and producer Darla K. Anderson (Toy Story 3) revealed the title of their upcoming film, Coco. Disney·Pixar's Coco is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion. Here's what the filmmakers had to say in a joint statement.
"As artists and filmmakers, we couldn't help but be drawn to the striking visuals of Dia de los Muertos. But it was the celebration's core themes of family, remembrance and connection across generations that resonated within and truly inspired us. Dia de los Muertos is as singular as the Mexican culture, while at the same time completely universal in its message. In our story," they continued, "the celebration of Dia de los Muertos serves as the perfect backdrop for our main character to ask where he comes from, what his place is within his family, and how families stay woven together across time through the simple act of remembrance."
Toy Story 4, which will be directed by John Lasseter and produced by Galyn Susman, is slated for release on June 16, 2017. Coco doesn't have a release date at this time, and no voice actors have been announced yet. There was a rumor that surfaced earlier this year that Coco will be Pixar's first musical, but that was never confirmed. What do you think about all of these new details?