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‘Toy Story 4’: Josh Cooley Becomes Sole Director as John Lasseter Steps Down

Variety logo Variety 7/14/2017 Maane Khatchatourian
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John Lasseter has stepped down as director of “Toy Story 4,” leaving co-director Josh Cooley to take full reins.

Lasseter revealed the news on Friday at D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif. Lasseter, Pixar’s chief creative officer, has directed the first “Toy Story” in 1995. He will stay on the project as an executive producer.

Cooley, head of story on the Pixar hit “Inside Out,” was named one of Variety‘s 10 Animators to Watch in 2015. Cooley started at the company as an intern working on “Cars.”

“To be co-director on ‘Toy Story 4’ with John, who brought the ‘Toy Story’ characters to the screen 20 years ago, is a dream come true,” he told Variety in 2015. “When I first saw ‘Toy Story,’ I was amazed by the groundbreaking computer-generated animation. But it was the strong storytelling that kept me coming back. ‘Toy Story 4’ will continue that tradition and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it!”

On stage, Lasseter and Cooley played a video taken at Pixar headquarters that introduced the movie’s crew.

“Toy Story 4” will bring back original stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. “Toy Story 3” remains Pixar’s highest-grossing film, having hauled $1.1 billion worldwide.

“Toy Story 4” is written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, based on a story by the Pixar Braintrust (Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Lee Unkrich).

The fourth installment of the animated franchise hits theaters on June 21, 2019.

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