Woody, Buzz and the gang will reunite in Toy Story 4

PIXAR has announced a fourth Toy Story movie and original director John Lasseter will helm the new film.  

Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger has confirmed the fourth instalment of the Oscar-winning animated franchise will be released on June 16, 2017.

The original story for the fourth film was conceived by Lasseter and his fellow members of the Pixar brains trust: Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, Up director Pete Docter and Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton.

Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones will pen the script with screenwriter Will McCormack.

"We love these characters so much; they are like family to us," Lasseter said in a statement.

"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."

As well as directing the first two Toy Story films, Lasseter also oversaw Pixar hits Cars, A Bug's Life and Cars 2. He has served as an executive producer on dozens of films including Brave, Tangled, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc and the upcoming Boxing Day release Big Hero 6.

Toy Story's lovable characters haven't been in hiding since the 2010 release of Toy Story 3, which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide.

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprised their roles as Woody and Buzz Lightyear for last year's TV special Toy Story of Terror.

They also feature in the upcoming TV special Toy Story That Time Forgot, premiering in the US on December 2.