‘Toy Story 4’ Release Date Revealed, Plus Some Fun Facts About The Upcoming Movie

The Toy Story 4 release date has just been announced by none other than Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, surprising many fans who expected the third film to be the franchise’s last.

There are already a few fans skeptical of the quality of Toy Story 4, given the instant classic that was Toy Story 3 and how movie franchises past the third film are almost expected to decline in quality. Nevertheless, most people are just excited to learn that there will be more of Woody and Buzz on the big screen, so no Ebert-ese talk just yet. Fans are still reveling in the fact that one of the best animated franchises of all time will be back for more adventures.

There is a three-year wait, but every fan who’s watched the movies knows it’s going to be worth it. In the meanwhile, let’s relish in some awesome facts about the upcoming film.

First, the director. The first two movies were directed by John Lasseter, who also lead other animation classics such as A Bug’s Life and Cars. The director role for the third one was passed on to Finding Nemo’s Lee Unkrich, although Lasseter remained active in the writing of the movie. For Toy Story 4, Lasseter will be returning to the director’s chair, bringing back his own version of Toy Story magic that made the franchise incredibly successful.

According to Variety, Lasseter was initially hesitant to take the lead for a fourth movie, given the immense success of the last film and the critical reception it received from fans. The master animator changed his mind after dreaming up a brand new story with fellow Pixar geniuses Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Lee Unkrich.

“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.”

Another pressing question about Toy Story 4 is the writers. Lasseter was actively involved with the story development of all Toy Story movies, and so was legendary screenwriter Andrew Stanton. For the fourth movie, some new names are set to appear on the writer’s roster, including Rashida Jones.

Yes, you read that right. According to Slash Film, the Parks and Rec star has been confirmed to join Toy Story 4’s writing arsenal, and although no one doubts Rashida’s comedic talents, some fans aren’t too sure if she’s a positive addition to the team. Aside from Rashida, actor Will McCormack has also been hired to contribute to the upcoming movie.

According to Rolling Stone, it really is infinity and beyond for Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear) and Tom Hanks (Woody), who have been confirmed to lend their voices once again to the show. Some fans speculated a Pirates of the Caribbean scenario with the cast (remember Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly not being on the fourth movie), but we can all breathe easily now — our favorite toys are coming back to the big screen.

The Toy Story 4 release date for U.S. theaters will be July 16, 2017.

[Image from Samantha Decker/Flickr]