Two years ago at D23 in 2015, it was announced that Disney and Pixar were moving ahead with Toy Story 4. Now, two years later, we finally have some new information on the sequel, which is currently slated for release on June 21, 2019. During this year's D23 Expo, it was revealed that Toy Story 4 is the official title for the sequel and that Josh Cooley is going to be directing the project solo, as John Lasseter has stepped away from the director's chair on this one.
The announcements were made during the animation panel at D23 and, courtesy of Superhero Hype's live blog from the event, we now know that Josh Cooley, who previously directed the Inside Out short Riley's First Date, is now the man in charge. It is being reported that Cooley will be working very closely with Pixar's creative chief John Lasseter, who directed Toy Story and Toy Story 2. This is a big step up for a guy who has only directed a short for Pixar, but there is now way they would trust him with their most important franchise if they didn't think he could pull it off.
John Lasseter and Josh Cooley joined one another on stage during the panel to talk a bit about Toy Story 4. Even though Cooley hasn't directed a feature before, he has been with Pixar since 2003 and worked as a storyboard artist on Cars, Ratatouille, Up and Cars 2. It wouldn't necessarily be fair to blame the failings of Cars 2 on a storyboard artist, so he should probably get a pass on that one. Plus, it should ease fans to know that he is working closely with John Lasseter, who is pretty much the man that Pixar is built on.
It is early on in the process, so they didn't have any actual footage to show or any new plot details to reveal for Toy Story 4. As far as we know, this is still going to be a love story between Woody and Bo Peep. They did put together a behind-the-scenes video which was shown at the panel It was hosted by Josh Cooley and producer Jonas Rivera. The video teased that they were recording the first line of dialogue for Toy Story 4, which revealed Pixar's Jeff Pidgeon inhaling helium and going "oooo" for the Pizza Planet martian.
It still hasn't been confirmed what characters, save for Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, are going to return for Toy Story 4. Sadly, Don Rickles hadn't recorded any of his dialogue as Mr. Potato Head before his passing, so it isn't clear how that is going to be handled. Now that a director has been announced, Toy Story 4 will be cruising along in the right direction. Let's just hope they don't soil the legacy of one of the most perfect trilogies of all-time by making this movie. Be sure to keep an eye out as we will be keeping you up to date on all of the other big D23 news throughout the weekend.