‘Toy Story 4’: Disney Pixar hires new co-director for animated sequel

Rising star Josh Cooley will co-direct alongside original 'Toy Story' director John Lasseter

Disney Pixar has hired a new co-director for Toy Story 4.

Josh Cooley, described by Disney Pixar as a “rising star” of its creative team, will co-direct alongside John Lasseter, who helmed the first two Toy Story films. Cooley served as a storyboard artist on films including The Incredibles, Cars and Ratatouille before working his way up to Head of Story on this year’s Inside Out, which Disney Pixar is set to release on June 19.

“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,” Cooley told Variety. “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!”

Disney Pixar confirmed in November that Toy Story 4 is now in the works and set for release on June 16, 2017. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will reprise their popular roles as Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

Disney also announced in November that Rashida Jones and Will McCormack have signed up to write the animated sequel. The pair previously penned the acclaimed 2012 comedy-drama Celeste & Jesse Forever. Jones is also known for her acting roles in Parks And Recreation and I Love You Man.

Disney Pixar’s president recently revealed that the sequel will not continue the story from Toy Story 3. Instead, the eagerly-anticipated sequel will be a “separate story” designed as a “romantic comedy”.