Disney confirms John Lasseter will direct ‘Toy Story 4’ for June 2017 release

File this one under “inevitable.”

Bob Iger held an earnings call on Thursday afternoon, and as part of that call, he announced that John Lasseter will direct “Toy Story 4” for the studio, with the film scheduled to arrive in theaters June 2017.

This shouldn't shock anyone. “Toy Story” was not only the film that launched Pixar as a feature animated company, but it has also proven to be their most respected and enduring franchise. They were able to make three films, all of them strong and smart and individual, all of them critically acclaimed as well as financially successful. As franchises go, “Toy Story” is in rare company, one of the few that has yet to disappoint with some entry.

While I see the appeal for everyone on that earnings call for a “Toy Story 4,” I hope that the reason Pixar is ready to make the film is because there's a story they fell compelled to tell, some new facet of the lives of these characters that they can explore. Since they were left with a brand-new owner at the end of “Toy Story 3,” something that has carried over to the shorter “Toy Story” projects since then, there are plenty of new places for the story to go.

One would assume that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen and Joan Cusack and the rest of the voice cast will all return. In the official press release they sent out to follow up on the call, Lasseter talked about his enthusiasm for the idea.

“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.”

I was surprised to see that Rashida Jones and Will McCormack are involved in the script. I really liked their work on “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” and I sat down with Jones at that point to talk about her work as a screenwriter.

Exciting news, even if it's not a complete surprise that they'd want to wring some more juice out of this particular property. Can't wait to see what they have planned for Buzz and Woody and the rest.