When word of Toy Story 4 hit the web last week, the reaction was fast, fierce, and decidedly divided. Many fans cheered for another chance to see Woody, Buzz, and the gang swing back into action in a new adventure. But others grumbled that Pixar had created a perfect trilogy, and that a fourth film would be an artless cash grab. Well, now we're getting a bit more dimension to what the celebrated animation studio has in store for Toy Story 4: a love story.
The LA Times talked with the people of Pixar to get a scoop on Toy Story 4, and among chatting with its director John Lasseter, they uncovered that the fourth installment of this toy-driven franchise will focus on a love story. We've also learned it will pick up right where Toy Story 3 left off, meaning with Woody, Buzz and the rest of Andy's toys living happily with little Bonnie and her peppy pack of playthings. But as to who falls in love, or even what kind of love (Maternal? Brotherly?) Lasseter is keeping mum.
However, he did want to soothe Toy Story fans fretting over a fourth film ruining the series somehow. He explained:
"A lot of people in the industry view us doing sequels as being for the business of it, but for us it's pure passion. We only make sequels when we have a story that's as good as or better than the original."
He went on to explain that the secretive plot of Toy Story 4 was first sketched out more than two years ago. Lasseter has brought in Pixar heavy hitters Pete Docter (Up) and Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo) to develop it. After seeing their indie divorce comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever, Lasseter decided to loop in Rashida Jones and Will McCormack as screenwriters, offering, "They have such a great sense of character and originality. And I wanted to get a strong female voice in the writing of this."
A female voice, huh? Could this perhaps mean that Toy Story 4 will put the focus on Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl? After all, Pixar has taken heat for having the majority of their movies centered on male protagonists. And if it is Jessie who's the hero of this adventure, who will be involved in her love story? Perhaps it could focus on her blossoming romance with Buzz Lightyear? Or maybe a new toy shows up to play a part in a love triangle. I'm hoping not, as that's a plot device that's been done to death of late, and I expect more of Pixar.
Perhaps Pixar will make some cerebral fan's dreams come true and complete the full circle introduced in the Andy's Mom theory, reuniting Jessie with her long lost first owner, Emily. Or perhaps the focus will stay mainly on Woody as it has for the first three films, and this "female voice" business is in reference to his newly introduced love interest. He's been a bit lonesome since Bo Peep disappeared between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. Or maybe we'll get more Barbie and Ken shenanigans.
Okay, likely not that last one, but I do hope for the return of Michael Keaton's Ken. It's just perfection.
Toy Story 4 will hit theaters on June 16, 2017.