If you haven’t learned by now, franchises are never really dead in Hollywood. They get remade, rebooted, spunoff, or reimagined, and for a series as lucrative as “Toy Story,” it was only a matter of time before another movie was in the works. A year after the “final” movie, “Toy Story 3,” hit, Tom Hanks revealed another movie is on the way. And while Pixar has focused on “Toy Story” shorts ever since (“Hawaiian Vacation,” “Small Fry,” “Partysaurus Rex“) and a pair of holiday specials (2013’s “Toy Story of Terror” and next month’s “Toy Story That Time Forgot“)… surprise, surprise a full sequel is coming.
During their earnings call with investors this afternoon, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced “Toy Story 4” will arrive on June 16th, 2017. But perhaps more intriguing is that John Lasseter—now chief creative officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and DisneyToon Studios (as well as Walt Disney Imagineering)—is going to direct. It will be his first movie since 2011’s “Cars 2,” and will mark a return the franchise after helming “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” (Lee Unkrich, who served in various capacities on the earlier “Toy Story” movies, directed “Toy Story 3;” he’s currently at work on the still release-date-free Day of the Dead movie.) Even more interestingly, the studio has tapped Rashida Jones (yes, that Rashida Jones) and Will McCormack, who co-wrote “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” to pen the screenplay, based on an idea concocted by original Brain Trust members Lasseter, Unkrich, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton.
In a statement, Lasseter said, “We love these characters so much; they are like family to us. We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before. ‘Toy Story 3’ 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.”
The LA Times reports that the film will be a “love story,” picking up where the last film left off, and we presume Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and the rest of the gang will be back. So, raise a glass to branding, tentpole moviemaking, and ensuring the long term viability of revenue streams. Speaking of which, “Cars 3” is also in the works, with Variety reporting Lasseter is still attached to direct that too. – additional reporting by Drew Taylor