**UPDATE** We've compiled all the things we know about the next Toy Story 4 movie into a comprehensive article for your research enjoyment.
We thought the story of Toy Story had been told. The trilogy of Pixar films concluded in 2010 with the brilliant, entertaining and ultimately tear-jerking Toy Story 3. And here we are today, processing the news that Pixar is doing Toy Story 4. It already has writers, a director and a release date. Here's what we know about Toy Story 4 based on Disney's official announcement.
1. It's hitting theaters more than 2 years from now - The release date is June 16, 2017.
2. John Lasseter is directing: John Lasseter directed the first two Toy Story films, as well as Cars and Cars 2 and A Bug's Life.
3. Woody and Buzz will be back - Disney's announcement says it will "open a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the "Toy Story" gang." That's not a ton to go on, but it does vaguely confirm that Buzz and Woody will be at the center of this new story, as opposed to an entirely new set of toys.
4. No cast members have been announced yet - No actors have been confirmed for voice roles yet, but it seems safe to assume that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen would return Woody and Buzz respectively. It's impossible to imagine anyone else voicing the cowboy and spaceman.
5. The writing team has already assembled - Disney says the story was dreamed up by Toy Story veterans John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Lee Unkrich. Also attached to the project are Celeste and Jesse Forever writing team Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, along with Pixar's Galyn Susman, who's producing. Here's a look at the story team at work...
(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)
6. Though it's unconfirmed, there's a good chance Bonnie will be back - (Toy Story 3 spoilers ahead!) There's no mention of Bonnie in Disney's announcement, but we know from the Toy Story TV special Toy Story OF TERROR! and the upcomingToy Story that Time Forgot (coming to ABC next month) that the TS toys are still in the care of young Bonnie, the adorable little girl who adopted Andy's toys at the end of Toy Story 3 (sniffle).
Assuming these TV specials apply to official Toy Story canon -- they do feature the original characters and voice actors -- it's likely that Bonnie will be the toys' current owner. But as we said, that's not officially confirmed yet. This would be barring a prequel or some other story inserted somewhere in Andy's timeline, (but let's hope that's not the case.)
7. Pixar's John Lasseter is really excited about this - From what Lasseter says, once the idea was conceived, they had to bring it to the big screen. Here are John Lasseter's exact words:
"We love these characters so much; they are like family to us. 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."
I get why people would be wary of a sequel, given how perfectly Toy Story 3 wrapped up. But Lasseter seems to appreciate that, and the optimist in me believes this sequel is happening because there's a great idea, and not just to give Disney more Toy Story box office dollars. With that said, Toy Story of Terror was a fantastic TV special, and evidence that there are more toy humor and toy adventures to be had among these characters.