After launching Pixar Animation Studios' incredible string of feature-film hits in 1995, the Toy Story saga seemed to reach a logical ending point in 2010 with the well-received Toy Story 3. The characters never really went away, though. They still star in videogames, can be found on toy-store shelves everywhere and even returned to star in a pair of TV specials: last year's Toy Story of Terror and Toy Story That Time Forgot, which will air this December. Even so, the big-screen adventures of a cowboy, a Space Ranger, a green dinosaur and all their friends seemed at a close, until this week.
Disney and Pixar announced Thursday that Toy Story 4 will be released on June 16, 2017. The film, which "opens a new chapter" in the lives of the beloved toys, will be directed by John Lasseter, a co-founder of Pixar who directed the first two Toy Story films, as well as A Bug's Life and both Cars films. The script will be written by actress and writer Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation) and actor and writer Will McCormack (In Plain Sight), who previously collaborated on the screenplay for the acclaimed romantic comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever. Jones and McCormack will work from a story developed by Lasseter and fellow Pixar veterans Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo), Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and Pete Docter (Up). According to Lasseter, there was no plan for a fourth Toy Story film until the four filmmakers got an idea they just couldn't let go of.
“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” Lasseter said in a Disney press release announcing the film. “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.”
There's no word yet on how many of the franchise's original voice actors will return for the film, but many of them have already returned for Toy Story That Time Forgot, so things look good on that front. As for what exactly the story is, or what it might do with these characters that breaks any new ground, we have to admit that this might sound like an unncessary stretching of a franchise that was wrapped up so neatly in Toy Story 3. However, there's a lot of tried and true Pixar talent behind this film at the moment, so we could get another great story out of this.
What do you think? Will Toy Story 4 prove a worthy successor to the original trilogy?