Good and bad news for Pixar fans. Disney has brought on screenwriter Stephany Folsom to take over the writing duties on the highly-anticipated Toy Story 4. But this last minute addition could mean the movie is being indefinitely delayed, after so many starts and stops already.
While Stephany Folsom only has one produced credit to her name, the TV series Ds2dio 360, she made the Black List in 2013 for her script 1969: A Space Odyssey, or How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon, an alternate history script which follows director Stanley Kubrick as he's tasked by NASA to fake the 1969 moon landing. The writer also worked on the script for Thor: Ragnarok, although she was denied credit by the Writers Guild of America.
This comes just a few months after original Toy Story 4 writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack were rumored to have left the project after Pixar chief John Lassetter reportedly made an unwanted advance. Rashida Jones later confirmed that both writers did in fact leave the project, but it wasn't because of any sexual misconduct. Rashida Jones issued a statement revealing that they left because of creative and philosophical differences, adding that Pixar has a culture where, "women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice."
While John Lassetter was initially slated to direct Toy Story 4, it was confirmed that he bowed out as director, with Josh Cooley slated to make his feature directorial debut on the project. Josh Cooley was originally slated to serve as co-director alongside John Lassetter, but now he'll direct the project on his own. No reason for John Lassetter's departure was given, but it came months before allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, which lead the Pixar chief to step away from the company and take a six-month leave of absence in November. Josh Cooley has been with Pixar since 2003, serving as a storyboard artist on Cars, Ratatouille, Up and Cars 2.
Disney Pixar had originally slated Toy Story 4 for release in 2017, but the sequel's release date was pushed twice, first to July 15, 2018 and then to its current home on June 21, 2019. With a new writer coming aboard, it seems unlikely that production has started at all, and it's possible this release date could be shifted once again as the script undergoes a new overhaul. As of now, Toy Story 4 is the only movie slated for release on June 21, 2019, although it falls between Sony's new Men in Black spin-off and Warner Bros.' Shaft sequel on June 14, 2019, and Universal's Cowboy Ninja Viking, Paramount's Transformers 7 and an untitled Entertainment Studios project on June 28, 2019.
John Lasseter revealed during the 2015 D23 Expo that Toy Story 4 will feature Woody and Bo Peep falling in love, marking the franchise's first love story. It will also not be connected to the original Toy Story trilogy, since they wanted to keep that story contained, but instead tell a new story that could possibly be continued with further sequels. Stephany Folsom is also adapting the Harlan Coben novel Missing You for Warner Bros. and producer Brett Ratner's RatPac Entertainment. Deadline first broke the news of Stephany Folsom taking over the Toy Story 4 writing duties.