Toy Story 4 Due In 2017

John Lasseter will direct the new film


And then, there were four. It’s been quite the day for announcements from Disney, with word that Star Wars: Episode VII is actually titled Star Wars: The Force Awakens and now company chief Bob Iger has announced that Pixar will produce a new Toy Story outing for 2017, with studio animation boss John Lasseter back in the director’s chair.

The news came from somewhat of a low-key source: Iger was making a conference call with financial analysts to discuss the company’s earnings, a report that has been boosted thanks to its prodigious film output from the likes of Marvel and Disney Animation.

No details were announced for the film, but we do know that part of the big main Pixar brain trust – Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich and Pete Docter – came up with the idea and have handed script chores to Celeste & Jesse Forever duo Rashida Jones and Will McCormack.

"We love these characters so much; they are like family to us," Lasseter says in a statement. "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."

Rumours have floated about a fourth Toy Story for years, even as Pixar stayed silent on the idea. But with the third film earning more than a billion dollars in 2010 and the characters staying in the public eye thanks to the TV specials and shorts, this was perhaps inevitable. Though it will naturally lead some to accuse the studio of sinking back into sequel territory, there are several original films due from the team in the years before they start to re-visit the likes of Finding Nemo and Toy Story.

2017 is shaping up to be another big, competitive year: with the fourth outing for Woody, Buzz and the rest now headed for the pre-booked June 16, 2017 slot, the film is going up against the likes of How To Train Your Dragon 3 and Despicable Me 3. Time to speculate about which of them will blink to avoid hurting their audience share…