Pixar has a long tradition of setting two directors on one project (only a handful of Pixar films, including WALL-E and Toy Story, were steered by a single director), so it’s not entirely surprising to hear that the animation house has assigned a new director to help John Lasseter craft Toy Story 4 to completion. Also not surprising? That the new co-director comes from another storied Pixar tradition: Homegrown talent.
/Film points us over to a tweet from the official Disney/Pixar Twitter account that reveals that Josh Cooley will co-direct the new film alongside Lasseter:
DisneyInsider describes Cooley as a “rising star” who has more than paid his dues at the studio. Cooley first started as an intern on Cars, eventually moving into storyboarding work for films like Ratatouille, Up, and Cars 2. Recently, he served as Head of Story for the upcoming release Inside Out, and a Cooley-directed short will appear on the Inside Out Blu-ray.
The new film was announced back in November, and despite early concerns—mainly, “uh, why?”—the latest Pixar property has already made it clear that its creators want to do something a little bit different than its predecessors. (As an aside, if you click on that Disney/Pixar tweet and check out the replies, many of them appear to be from fans that don’t want to see this film happen, clearly far from the kind of reaction the studio wants and kind of curious, considering the loyalty and adoration the studio generally garners.)
The film has already been billed as a “romantic comedy,” (still pulling for a Potatohead origin story) and it has a pair of screenwriters uniquely equipped to make that happen, with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack on board to write the film. The Pixar team also seems to be well aware of the need to be respectful of what came before, while not staying beholden to it. It may be called Toy Story 4, but it sure seems as if this new film will be it own animal (or, as the case may be, charming toy).
The film is set to open on June 16, 2017. Hug your Barbies close, people.