Despite previous reports that he’d be co-directing the film (after taking the third installment off) Pixar leader John Lasseter won’t be in the director’s chair for Toy Story 4. Variety reports that Lasseter broke the news to fans at Disney’s D23 expo today, revealing that he’s leaving the franchise’s fourth installment in the hands of his previously announced co-director, Josh Cooley.
Lasseter and Toy Story are basically synonymous with Pixar’s rise over the last 20 years, from the bold ambition and bright humor of the original, through the darker overtones (and occasional sequel fatigue) of the subsequent installments. Now, though, Cooley—who started at the studio as an intern on Cars, and who worked as a story supervisor on the studio’s triumphantly well-received Inside Out—will handle sole directing duties on Toy Story 4. (Which is being described as a romantic comedy, scripted by Will McCormack and Rashida Jones.)
Not that Lasseter seemed overly disappointed by his decision to step away from co-directing the film: The Pixar CCO—who’ll still serve as an executive producer on Toy Story 4—apparently greeted fans at today’s expo armed with a T-shirt cannon, firing Hawaiian shirts into the crowd.