Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter announced at Anaheim’s D23 Expo that he will no longer be directing the upcoming Toy Story 4. Co-director Josh Cooley will take over as the film’s director, with Lasseter serving as a producer on the project.
Lasseter directed both Toy Story, for which he won a Special Achievement Award at the 68th Academy Awards, and its 1999 sequel Toy Story 2. Although Lee Unkrich directed Toy Story 3, Lasseter did serve as a writer and producer on that film.
Cooley has spent much of his career working as a storyboard artist at Pixar, for which his credits include such animated films as The Incredibles and Cars. He also served as a co-writer on Inside Out and was responsible for directing and writing the animated shorts Riley’s First Date and George & A.J.
Last July, Pixar President Jim Morris stated that the company will move away from sequels after the release of Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2, choosing instead to launch four new properties.
Toy Story 4 is targeted for release in June 2019.
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