Last weekend’s D23 Disney convention brought us all kinds of news about animation, Star Wars, Marvel, and everything else under the mousey sun. One bummer bit of info was that John Lasseter is no longer directing Toy Story 4.
John Lasseter had a large part in Pixar’s rise to fame, along with Edwin Catmull, Alvy Smith, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs. He’s a talented writer, director, and animator.
Lasseter directed the first two Toy Story films, as well as A Bug’s Life, Cars, and the US version of Ponyo. His title is Chief Creative Officer, and he’s credited as a producer on just about every Pixar film. He has a hand in most of Disney’s CG-animated projects, as well.
So, fans were excited to learn he was returning to the director’s chair for Toy Story 3. And now he’s not, due to other commitments. So who will direct the further adventures of Buzz, Woody, and the rest?
It’s a guy named Josh Cooley, and we can rest easy. Cooley has been at Pixar since 2004’s The Incredibles, where he worked on storyboards. He also did storyboards for Cars, Ratatouille, Up, and Cars 2.
From there, Josh worked his way up the ranks. In 2009, he created a short film called George & A.J., which was included as an extra with Up. His next position was as a screenwriter on Inside Out, and he created the Riley’s First Date short that acted as a mini-sequel to the film.
Cooley has another important credit on Inside Out. He voiced Jangles the Clown, possibly the best character in the movie.
So, he’s a storyboard artist who became a writer, who became a short film director, and now he’s directing Pixar’s biggest franchise.
Just a guy who worked his way up through blood, sweat, and talent. The movie should be good, and Lasseter’s helping hands will be there as always.