John Lasseter Returning to Direct ‘Toy Story 4’ for June 2017 Release

Disney and Pixar are going back to the toy chest with stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen

Last Updated: November 6, 2014 @ 8:35 PM

John Lasseter will return to direct Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” which Disney will release on June 16, 2017.

Disney’s Bob Iger announced the news Thursday during a conference call with financial analysts to discuss earnings.

Plot details for “Toy Story 4” remain unknown, but Lasseter concocted the new story with his fellow Pixar brain trust Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich — the storytellers who have been the driving force behind all three “Toy Story” films.

Writing team Rashida Jones and Will McCormack (“Celeste and Jesse Forever”) have also joined “Toy Story 4,” which will be produced by Pixar veteran Galyn Susman (ABC’s “Toy Story OF TERROR!”).

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will reprise their roles as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, though it’s unclear which other characters will be joining them.

“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” said Lasseter. “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.”

Back in July 2010, TheWrap first reported that Allen was under contract for “Toy Story 4,” though it was unclear at the time how serious Disney and Pixar were about making a fourth installment in the beloved animated franchise.

“Toy Story 4” will hit theaters the same month as animated sequels “How to Train Your Dragon 3” and “Despicable Me 3,” though it’s likely one or both of those films will move so as not to cannibalize their audience. The only other movie scheduled for release that month is WB’s “Wonder Woman” on June 23.

“Toy Story 3” grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, so it comes as no surprise that Disney and Pixar are going back to the lucrative well and making a fourth film in the family-friendly franchise.

Lasseter directed the first two “Toy Story” movies, though Lee Unkrich directed the third film.