There’s literally a new sheriff in town.
Josh Cooley has been promoted from co-director to director of Disney/Pixar’s upcoming Toy Story 4, the news of which was first revealed by animation chief John Lasseter at Disney’s D23 animation panel on Friday.
Lasseter, who directed the first two Toy Story films and considers the series one of the closest to his heart, had previously been announced to direct the fourth film, with Cooley as his co-director. Instead, Lasseter will stay on as executive producer while Cooley, who worked his way up the Pixar chain as an intern more than a decade ago, will take on the big job. (The film’s producer, Jonas Rivera, was also a former intern, making the pair the first-ever former interns to produce and direct a Pixar movie together.)
Unfortunately, Cooley didn’t reveal much about the plot of Toy Story 4, but he showed off a video introducing D23 fans to the other artists and filmmakers up in Emeryville, California. Throughout the clip, various new characters made appearances — none of which it would really do much good to describe here as anything other than fairly simple, colorful, definitely Bonnie-appropriate toys.
The big tease came when Cooley mentioned that his colleagues were busy on an RV trip for research, suggesting that the fourth film could take place during a family vacation.
Otherwise, all that’s known about Toy Story 4 is the oft-reported line that the film will explore the love story between Woody and the newly-returned Bo Peep, as well as a deeper explanation for her noticeable absence in the third film. In fact, Lasseter also broke that news at D23 — two whopping years ago, which is like three decades in toy years.
The film is due out in 2019.