John Lasseter stepping down as chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation leaves huge shoes to fill at both studios, the two most powerful in the industry. Disney announced today they will replace Lasseter with two of their most successful filmmakers: Pete Docter, director of Inside Out and Up, who will become the head of creative at Pixar, and Jennifer Lee, director of Frozen and its upcoming sequel, who will take charge at Disney Animation.

Via The Hollywood Reporter, here’s what Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn had to say about the news:

Jennifer Lee and Pete Docter are two of the most gifted filmmakers and storytellers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Pete, the genius creative force behind Up, Inside Out, and Monsters, Inc., has been an integral part of Pixar almost since the beginning and is a huge part of its industry-leading success. Jenn, in bringing her bold vision to the boundary-breaking Frozen, has helped infuse Disney Animation with a new and exciting perspective. Each of them embodies the unique spirit, culture, and values of these renowned animation studios, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them to lead us into the future.”

Docter and Lee will have “creative oversight of all films and associated projects of their respective studios.”

Given how long it takes to complete an animated film from start to finish, it will be years before the full ramifications of these decisions. It will be interesting to chart the evolution, if any, of Pixar and Disney under Docter and Lee’s guidance. Will they make more sequels? Less? Will their films look or feel demonstrably different than the ones made under Lasseter? This is the kind of things we need historians to determine, not dudes writing blog posts in a couple of minutes. But given the track records of both Docter and Lee, this is exciting news for animation fans. It’s hard to imagine the two studios in better creative hands.

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