Editor in Chief

John Lasseter: "There’s no desire to make things fit perfectly into any kind of Pixar model."

John Lasseter Toy Story 4

Variety spoke with John Lasseter for their March 10 issue, and the animation chief discussed sequels and how things are run at Pixar.

photo via Variety

The article touches on Pixar’s philosophy of failure, which is encouraged in order to make room for risks. Once the fear of failure is removed, directors are freer to honor their ideas. It’s a strategy Pixar president Ed Catmull discussed at length in his book, Creativity, Inc.
Naturally failure is on everyone’s minds as Pixar plans to release more sequels. Although they’ve haven’t produced a mediocre film (those biased against Cars 2 are bound to disagree), the public feels that the animation studio is relying too heavily on existing properties. It’s a little odd that people who dismiss Monsters University, Finding Dory, and Cars 3 have been clamoring for a sequel to The Incredibles. Even if that’s a film where a sequel likely makes the most sense, no one accuses Pixar of “selling out” or of that sequel merely being profit driven. With the exception of Toy Story 2, Pixar’s sequels are never immediately released following the original film. Yet people have been demanding Brad Bird to make one for years.
Lasseter also discusses Toy Story 4, which has a confirmed co-director: story artist Josh Cooley. Cooley’s credits include the upcoming Inside Out, and he directed the short “George & A.J. ”
Addressing the concern over Pixar’s upcoming sequels, including the fourth , Lasseter has this to say:

“We do not do any sequel because we want to print money,” Lasseter says. “We do it because each of these films was created by a group of filmmakers, and to my mind, they are the owners of that intellectual property.
“So we look at it with the simple question: Is there another story we can tell in this world? And that desire has to come from the filmmaker group. Sometimes, the answer is an obvious yes. And sometimes it’s, ‘I love the characters and I love the world, but I don’t have an idea yet.’ And sometimes it’s just, ‘that movie is a great movie,’ and the filmmaker wants to move on and do something else. And that’s fine, too.”

A bit of encouragement about Toy Story 4: the treatment was written by Andrew Stanton. I think we can expect only the best.
Thanks to Leo Holzer on twitter for the heads up on this interview!

Last modified: March 11, 2015

Simoa (Elliefredricksen) is Editor in Chief of Upcoming Pixar and an aspiring Pixar heroine. She joined Upcoming Pixar in 2014 and is always excited to see how her favorite animation studio changes and grows.