Well, it seems your favorite toys are returning.

Disney CEO Bob Iger, whose rocky rise to power is brilliantly detailed in James B. Stewart's must-read account of the Michael Eisner years "DisneyWar," just announced during an earnings report that "Toy Story 4" would be hitting screens on June 16th, 2017. And what's more: original "Toy Story" director John Lasseter is returning to helm the new film.

There are, of course, a couple of things to keep in mind here.

First of all, the "Toy Story" gang (led by Tom Hanks's Woody and Tim Allen's Buzz Lightyear) haven't exactly been absent from our hearts. Since "Toy Story 3," the supposed swansong, was released in the summer of 2010 and made us all cry like tiny babies, the characters have taken center stage in three short films ("Hawaiian Vacation" and the painfully hilarious "Small Fry" in 2011 and "Partysaurus Rex" in 2012) and two half-hour holiday specials (last year's Halloween-themed "Toy Story of Terror" and next month's Christmas-inspired "Toy Story That Time Forgot"). Additionally, the characters live on year 'round in Disney theme park attractions around the globe. So far, the toys are right where we left them at the end of "Toy Story 3": in the safe care of Bonnie, and nestled alongside their new friends (the idea of Michael Keaton returning as Ken almost made us throw up with excitement). The possibilities are endless and we couldn't be more excited.

It's also interesting to note that Lasseter will be returning to direct "Toy Story 4," considering that he effectively runs the creative side of the Disney empire, overseeing everything from the Disney Animation Studio and DisneyToon Studio to Imagineering, the team responsible for all of the rides, theme park attractions and cruise ships. Lasseter last directed 2011's "Cars 2," although he took over from original director Brad Lewis and was still torn between his administrative duties and the recent death of his father. "Toy Story 3" was directed by Lee Unkrich, who had worked on the previous films in various capacities and is currently working on a film centered around the Mexican Day of the Dead for the studio (a film that, last I heard, was in "good shape" but still is without a release date). Lasseter's involvement also means that he is, presumably, not directing "Cars 3," another film that was, along with "The Incredibles 2," announced during one of these stockholders' meetings, earlier this year.

"Toy Story 4" will follow Andrew Stanton's oceanic sequel "Finding Dory" in the summer of 2016. It will make lots and lots of money.

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categories Movies