To infinity and beyond – or, at least, back to the big screen. Disney is reuniting Woody, Buzz Lightyear and company for Toy Story 4, which will hit theaters on June 16th, 2017. As Variety reports, the sequel will be directed by Pixar Animation Studios veteran John Lasseter – who helmed the series’ first and second installments – while Tom Hanks (as Woody) and Tim Allen (as Buzz) will reprise their distinctive voice roles.
Walt Disney Co. chairman Bob Iger announced the film to Wall Street analysts on Thursday, adding that Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (who co-wrote the 2012 indie romcom Celeste and Jesse Forever) will script the project. In a statement, Lasseter says that he was initially reluctant to re-open the Toy Story universe after the success of the third film, but he changed his mind after dreaming up a fresh story with Pixar collaborators Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich.
“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” Lasseter says. “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.”
Lasseter currently serves as chief creative officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios. In addition to his work with the Toy Story franchise, he’s previously directed Pixar smashes Cars and Cars 2.