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At the end of Toy Story 3, it truly looked like the story of Woody, Buzz and the gang was at an end. We had seen a complete life cycle of the toys from cherished playthings to discarded objects. Then we got to see the toys begin a new life with a new child, where we knew the cycle would repeat. But the folks at Pixar thought there was more to be explored in the world of playthings, and so they begin preparations for Toy Story 4.
While the wait continues for the Pixar sequel to make its way to theaters, it's never too early to start collecting all the information available about the project. And there's a decent amount of info that has been revealed. Before we get to all the details, let's check our the first trailer.
Surprisingly, the first trailer, while it shows us our favorite characters, seems to focus on an entirely new one. What does that mean for the new film? Let's get into it.
When Will Toy Story 4 Be Released?
Pixar did some shuffling with regards to a couple of its most hotly anticipated sequels, and, unfortunately, this meant that Toy Story 4 was pushed back a bit. The original proposed release date, June 15, 2018, was eventually given over to The Incredibles 2. This left Toy Story 4 with the release date of June 21, 2019. So, while we have to wait a bit longer for the new project, it's now less than a year away.
What Is The Toy Story 4 Rating?
It's way too early for an official rating on Toy Story 4, seeing as how films don't get their ratings until a few weeks before release. But, judging by the earlier films in the series, Toy Story 4 will likely have a G rating, since that's what each of the previous films have had.
John Lasseter is the former Chief Creative Officer for both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation as a whole. He also personally directed the first two Toy Story films himself. Originally, he had planned to direct Toy Story 4, after stepping aside for Lee Unkrich for Toy Story 3. However, at Disney's D23 Expo in 2017, Lasseter revealed that he would be stepping down as director of the project and that his co-director Josh Cooley, would take on the project entirely.
Originally, John Lasseter claimed that he would still be keeping a close eye on Toy Story 4, however, that was before he took a leave of absence following allegations of misconduct. It has now been announced that Lasseter will be leaving Pixar entirely at the end of 2018 so he won't be around when Toy Story 4 is finally released.
The screenplay for Toy Story 4 was originally set to come from the writing team of Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. Previously, the two teamed up to write the indie film Celeste and Jesse Forever. Both are probably better known for their acting than their writing at this point, but both are multitalented stars. However, the pair left the project sometime in 2017 due to "creative and philosophical differences" regarding Pixar's apparent culture.
The current script for Toy Story 4 is being worked on by Stephany Folsom who has written unproduced films that have made the Black List, as well uncredited work on Thor: Ragnarok. It's unclear at this point if she started work on something entirely original or started with whatever Rashida Jones and Will McCormack left behind.
While the screenplay writer may be relatively new to this whole thing, she's being given the best possible story to work with. The script will be based on a story by four of Pixar's titans: John Lasseter, Inside Out director Pete Docter, WALL-E director Andrew Stanton, and Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich. With a team like that involved, we have to just assume the story is amazing. Though one assumes Lasseter's input is being greatly reduced.
Now the details of what's actually in the story is a little vaguer. What we do know is that the film will be something of a love story focusing on the characters of Woody and Bo Beep. A comment is made in Toy Story 3 that Bo was either lost or given away somewhere between the second and third films, so the plot will apparently be focused on Woody's attempts to reunite with his old flame.
However, there will apparently be more to the story than that. With new characters like Forky, Ducky, and Bunny, who we'll get into in a minute, it also appears the movie will be dealing with questions of identity. What does it mean to be a toy? What does it mean to be a toy that doesn't spend its life being loved?
There are two toys that you can't really make a Toy Story movie without, and one of them is Sheriff Woody. Since the plot of the film that has been referenced includes our favorite cowboy, then we feel confident to say that he'll be there. Tom Hanks has admitted he will be in the film - something which has gotten him in a bit of trouble with the Disney legal team for speaking before he was supposed to. More recently Hanks has told that the end of Toy Story 4 is going to be an emotional experience.
When Pixar officially announced Toy Story 4, the only character mentioned by name besides Woody was, of course, Buzz Lightyear. The Space Ranger voiced by Tim Allen is the other half of the duo that has been the centerpiece of every previous Toy Story movie, and not including him would be like forgetting to add marshmallows to your hot chocolate.
We have no idea how Buzz will fit into the overall story, besides, we assume, helping his best friend find the woman he loves. But, we'd also expect romance to progress for him as well. He's had something going on with the cowgirl Jessie for a while now. By the time Toy Story 4 comes along, we wouldn't be surprised if the two have a little Dream House together someplace.
We haven't seen Bo Beep since Toy Story 2, so exactly what happened to her is anybody's guess. In Toy Story 3 it's mentioned that Bo Peep along with other toys like Etch and Weezy have "gone on to new owners" via either a yard sale or a spring cleaning. At some point, Andy decided he didn't want the porcelain doll anymore, and let her go off someplace else.
What seems clear in Toy Story 4 is that at some point Woody gets wind of where Bo Peep is, and then resolves to go after her. We assume the rest of the toys aid him on his quest, and then shenanigans ensue. Bo Peep has been a minor character, even in the films that she's been in. While the plot puts her at the center it doesn't mean she'll have a large part. However, Annie Potts, who has confirmed she will return to voice Bo Peep, says she's done a lot of work for the new film, which would seem to imply she'll have a large role. Though some of the work she's had to do has revolved around rerecording lines due to the change in the story.
When we last saw Jessie in Toy Story 3, she and Buzz were flamenco dancing their way into our hearts. As mentioned earlier, she definitely has something going on with Buzz -- thought she also has a history with Woody, as they both come from the same series of toys. You know she'll be willing to do whatever it takes to help out Woody on his quest, though that surely will make her think about her own romantic entanglements.
As the "female lead" of the Toy Story franchise, we would expect Jesse will continue to play a major part in Toy Story 4. Jessie has been voiced by Joan Cusack ever since she was introduced in Toy Story 2, and we expect she'll back along with the rest of the gang.
Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head
In a Toy Story movie about love and romance, we can't ignore the first couple of the franchise: Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. Unfortunately, this is also where the news gets a little sad. Don Rickles, the voice of Mr. Potato Head, passed away in 2017 and, according to reports, never had a chance to record any dialogue for Toy Story 4. There are a few ways Pixar could handle this. First, they simply hire a new actor to replace Rickles. It's what they did when Jim Varney died, so there's precedent. However, Rickles' voice is a bit more iconic, so it's hard to see them doing that. The other obvious solution is to simply write Mr. Potato Head out of the film and simply not have him appear. Though that would likely mean Mrs. Potato Head, and voice Estelle Harris, would vanish with him.
There is, however, a third option. When Cars 3 wanted to bring back characters whose voice actors had passed away, they didn't let death stop them. Both Paul Newman and Tom Magliozzi appeared in Cars 3 via the use of both previously recorded, unused, material, as well as the use of unrelated performances, in order to create the voice tracks they needed. If Don Rickles' estate gives Pixar the ok, something like that could potentially be done here as well.
Andy & Bonnie
The end of Toy Story 3 gave us the passing of the torch. College bound Andy gave up his childhood toys to young Bonnie, a little girl who would love them and enjoy playing with them just as he had for so many years.
In the years since Toy Story 3, we have had a number of opportunities to see how the toys have been doing in Bonnie's care. There have been several cartoon shorts running before recent Pixar movies as well as a couple of TV specials -- including the Halloween-themed Toy Story of Terror and the Christmas-themed Toy Story that Time Forgot. Bonnie has continued to care very deeply for all of her toys, and we fully expect that they will still be in Bonnie's care in Toy Story 4. As the movie does not appear to really be about the relationship with the owners, any major changes in Bonnie would likely take away from the story they're trying to tell. It's possible a few years will have passed since the last movie, but not enough to push Bonnie out of her toy playing age.
For the same reasons that we expect to see Bonnie, it's unlikely that we'll see or hear much of Andy in the movie. It's possible we might get some glimpses of him if the movie contains any flashback sequences to give us specific details on what happened to Bo Peep, but we wouldn't expect much more than that.
The Rest Of The Toy Gang
Little official has been stated regarding most of the supporting characters we can expect to see in Toy Story 4, but based on what we've seen in the past, and some comments from Pixar's Pete Doctor, we can expect most, if not all, of the usual suspects to return.
Trixie: There is one additional character that we can confirm is returning, and that's Trixie. The triceratops voiced by comedian Kristen Schaal was a major focus of the Christmas special Toy Story that Time Forgot, which was the last time that we saw the toys in action. It makes sense that she'll be back.
Ham: John Ratzenberger is the official Pixar good luck charm. He's voiced a character in every Pixar feature since the beginning. Even if Ham only shows up as a cameo, it's essentially a guarantee that he'll be there, if not just so that the movie can give the former Cheers star more work.
Rex: The plastic T. Rex voiced by the great Wallace Shawn has been around from the beginning and there's no reason to expect that he's going anywhere.
Slinky Dog: Blake Clark took over the voice of Slinky Dog from the late Jim Varney for Toy Story 3. Since the character didn't fade away when we lost the actor, we don't expect he will now.
Mr. Pricklepants: Timothy Dalton voiced the stuffed porcupine with dreams of the Shakespearean stage for the first time in Toy Story 3. He's been an entertaining side character in the shorts and TV specials so he'll likely be back as well.
Ken and Barbie: While Ken and Barbie are currently ruling the roost at the Sunnyside Daycare center, it doesn't mean we won't see them again (given that Bonnie may still be spending some time there). Both of them made an appearance in the animated short Hawaiian Vacation and Michael Keaton's turn as Ken is the real reason that he's back amongst the Hollywood elite, as far as we're concerned.
In addition to the returning characters, we've also been introduced to a few brand new toys who will play a role in the new film.
The first trailer for Toy Story 4 introduced us to Forky. He a spork who has been turned into a toy thanks to pipe cleaners and hot glue. The description of the character that came along with the first trailer describes him as somebody have a crisis of identity. Toy's in the Toy Story universe believe they exist to be played with by children, but Forky insists he's not a toy. He wants to fulfill his purpose as a spork, but it now expected to be a toy. It seems that questions of identity will be key to the new film.
Ducky & Bunny
Following the release of the first Toy Story 4 trailer, we got a "reaction video starring Ducky and Bunny. The two stuffed animals are a pair of carnival game prizes who are looking to be won but will apparently have that goal interrupted by Buzz, Woody, and the gang. The two will then apparently join our team for their adventure, but it seems they might feel like outcasts as the other toys can't relate to Ducky and Bunny and what it means to be a toy stuck to a prize wall. It sounds as if our favorite Toy Story toys may be the recipients of a sort of privilege that they didn't realize they had.
Toy Story villains have been both humans and toys in the past. The first movie didn't really have a villain to speak of. While Sid, the boy who liked to torture toys, was certainly villainous, he was more of an obstacle to be overcome than a direct antagonist.
Toy Story 2 saw the dual villains of Stinky Pete, the toy who had grown old and dark after years of being overlooked, and Al, the owner of Al's Toy Barn, who steals Woody from Andy's house during a yard sale because he knows the old toy's value.
The last film gave us the evilest of the villains in the series, Lotso The Bear, who smells like strawberries, but absolutely hates children -- which is not the greatest personality trait for a toy.
We would guess, based on the premise of the new movie, that we probably won't have a straight-up villain, with Toy Story 4 having a structure similar to the first movie. The conflict will likely come from the obstacles that Woody needs to overcome in order to reach Bo Peep. There may be some people, either humans or toys, that stand in the way of that, be it Bo Peep's new owner, or a new toy from wherever Bo Beep is located who doesn't want to let her go. It's not too far of a stretch to believe that Beep has turned other heads in whatever place she has ended up in, so Woody may have a new boyfriend of hers with which he has to contend.