Up and coming filmmaker, Josh Cooley, has officially been set as the solo director for 2019's Toy Story 4. The announcement comes this afternoon from the Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Studios Animation Panel, during the first day of Disney's packed D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. Similar to the studio's approach to its animation panel back in 2015, the presentation has been packed to the brim already with never-before-seen looks at new and already announced titles from both Disney Animation and Pixar. This has included new details and footage from Wreck-it-Ralph 2 and Brad Bird's long-awaited Pixar sequel, The Incredible 2.
But those aren't the only highly anticipated sequels to be featured and discussed at the animation panel today, with John Lasseter taking the time to further tease the fourth installment in Pixar's beloved Toy Story franchise. And with little to no official announcements coming from the project in the past two years since the first details from it were announced at the 2015 D23 Expo, fans and industry insiders alike are waiting to see what more might be revealed about the project.
Despite original reports, Lasseter has announced today that instead of Toy Story 4 being co-directed by both he and Josh Cooley, the latter will now be working as the solo director on the project. It will still be based on a screenplay written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, from an original story by Lasseter, Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E), Pete Docter (Inside Out), and Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3). The film is still set to hit theaters in the summer of 2019.
While Toy Story 4 will be the first feature film that Cooley has ever directed, the filmmaker is a Pixar veteran in his own right, after voicing roles in multiple films and shorts over the years like Up and Toy Story of Terror. Cooley was also the director on the Inside Out short film, Riley's First Date, which followed the lead human girl from Inside Out going out on her first date, and the internal emotions of her parents having to come to grips with it.
In addition, while Cooley will be solo directing Toy Story 4, Lasseter - who directed the first two Toy Story films - will stay on as an executive producer and mentor-like figure for Cooley on the project. Little is known about Toy Story 4 still, other than that it's been described by Lasseter previously as a romantic comedy, that will follow Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) as their journey to try and find Bo Peep (Annie Potts), a romantic interest for Woody in the first two Toy Story films, before it was revealed that she had been separated from the others sometime before Toy Story 3. No other details about the film were announced at the presentation today, but with the film's creative lineup now set, hopefully, that means more announcements will be on their way soon.
- Toy Story 4 (2019) release date: Jun 21, 2019