Franchises don’t end, they just go on hiatus. To prove that once again, Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios are going back into the vault and developing a new film based on some fan favorite characters. Or maybe we mean toy box. Yes, just four years after the release of the last movie, and nearly 20 years after the release of the first one, Toy Story is coming back to a theater near you. In a surprise announcement, Toy Story 4 has been set for a 2017 release under the direction of Pixar founder John Lasseter. Who else is involved, and how Toy Story ended up back on the studio’s radar, is revealed below.
It began with a scant mention on a call with Disney investors, but was backed up a few hours later with an official Disney press release. Lasseter, who directed Toy Story and Toy Story 2, developed the idea for Toy Story 4 with fellow Pixar luminaries Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich. The release further revealed that the Celeste and Jesse Forever screenwriting team of Rashida Jones and Will McCormack are currently at work on the script while Galyn Susman will produce.
“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” said Lasseter. “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.”
You’ll recall that Toy Story 3 ended on the very finite note of Andy going away to college and leaving his beloved toys in the possession of Bonnie, a little girl who promises to love Woody, Buzz et al almost as much as Andy did. That was after we were all emotionally scared by the dramatic “will the toys burn in a fiery death” climax, but you know it was a happy ending. And then the adventures of the toys continued on TV in the ABC Halloween specials Toy Story OF TERROR! and Toy Story that Time Forgot.
Here’s a picture of Lasseter and his crew working on the new film. (Photo by Deborah Coleman and courtesy of Pixar.)
All I have to say about Toy Story 4 is that it better be one heck of a great idea. Toy Story 3 was just about perfect, and I’d hate to think that Pixar is about to unleash its variation on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It would have been once unthinkable to invest such doubts in Pixar, but Cars 2 was a straight-up failure and Brave and Monsters University were hardly new classics when they were released. In many respects, Toy Story 3 was Pixar’s last grand slam both creatively and commercially, so hopefully this isn’t a case of going back to the well because inspiration failed. But I digress, there’s about two-and-a-half years till this thing is a reality.
Toy Story 4 will be release on June 16, 2017.