Pixar Boss Explains Toy Story 5 Approach Amid Backlash

Buzz falling with style.
(Image credit: Pixar)

When the third Toy Story movie was released, many assumed it would be the conclusion of the series, as it saw Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang gifted to young Bonnie when Andy went off to college. But later, co-writer Andrew Stanton said it was never meant to be the final movie and, in 2019, a fourth flick was released. In recent weeks, it was announced that Toy Story 5 is on the way, and some fans have seemingly lashed out at the decision to release another installment. Now, amid the backlash, Pixar boss Pete Docter is sharing thoughts on his general approach to sequels and teased what audiences can expect from the upcoming sequel in the toy saga.

I don't think many would've expected that nearly 30 years after the release of the first Toy Story movie, we'd still be getting further entries in the franchise, but here we are. And as it turns out, the creatives at Pixar weren't so sure, either. Pete Docter, who's currently the company's CCO, explained to The Wrap that he honestly had no idea what the infinity and beyond future would look like for the franchise:

The thing we’ve been really trying to do, and this has been the case for a while, is we’ve been looking at them a little bit like, okay, we’re not planning for the future. When we made the first ‘Toy Story,’ we had no idea there would be a ‘Toy Story 2.’ We’re just trying to make this movie. But that in making the movie, it takes you places, unexpected places, which is what I love about the creative process. If I knew exactly what I was doing when I started making a movie, there’d kind of be no point in making it. I discover so much along the way.

So based on those comments, it sounds like the path for the beloved film series has been somewhat fluid, and that's worked out in the company's favor. Though that success still doesn't shield it from backlash. When it was confirmed that Disney had given the green light to Toy Story 5, the Internet had a lot of negative thoughts about it. Some believe this series of toy-centered films should have ended after the third movie. Another made the point that viewers can't take many more emotional conclusions. The sentimental ending of Toy Story 4 had Woody parting ways with his longtime friends in order to pursue a new life with Bo Peep. But with a fifth movie on the way, it's likely that the toys will somehow reunite.

Given that it's early days, Pete Docter didn't offer up too many details on the upcoming installment. Though based on the little that he did share, it sounds like audiences are in for something fresh:

I think it’ll be surprising. It’s got some really cool stuff that you haven’t seen before.

There's no way to tell what (or who) exactly the filmmaker is referring to with those comments. Maybe fans will see some impressive new characters. After all, Toy Story 2 introduced us to Jessie the roping cowgirl and Bullseye, the faithful toy horse that was part of the classic Woody's Roundup show. The third movie brought in  Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear as well as Barbie’s eventual beau, Ken. And as for the fourth flick, we can’t forget Forky, who taught us that not all toys have to be bought in a store. 

Amidst the backlash, it’s important to remember that the latest Toy Story movie still drew a crowd and became the eighth highest-grossing box office of 2019, earning critical acclaim as well. Toy Story 5 could also end up being an instant classic, but we'll just have to wait and see what Pete Docter and co. have in store. In the meantime, you can watch all four of the movies now using a Disney+ subscription

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.