Why Toy Story 4 Forced Pixar To Take The Story In A Different Direction

The three Toy Story films are pretty much universally beloved by everybody who has seen them. This led many to actually be upset that Pixar was even planning a fourth film, and as it turns out, Pixar agrees with its vocal fanbase, at least in part. Which is why the next movie will be something very different, as Toy Story 4 plans to tackle love instead of adventure.

People who were shocked at the announcement of Toy Story 4 were even more shocked when they realized that the new movie would be a love story. That’s a fairly major shift in tone for the series, albeit an entirely intentional one. The reason being that simply continuing along the same path as the previous movies didn’t make sense, since there was nothing left to do with the themes they had explored in great depth. Ed Catmull, one of Pixar’s founders and the man described as "the brains" of the operation told The Hollywood Reporter that they really had no choice than to take Toy Story 4 someplace new.

In the case of Toy Story, we had basically the perfect trilogy. So, in this case, it's not like, ‘OK, you can go on to the next step.’ We really wrapped that one up. At this point, you've got to go in a very different direction. This is a different kind of exploration.

We tend to agree that the trilogy is basically perfect. It’s the last part of the quote that is probably the most telling, as the Toy Story trilogy is very much a story about exploration. While much of that exploring is done literally, as they travel throughout the worlds of humanity, much more of it is internal. The toys deal with serious issues as they attempt to come to terms with their existence. They try to understand their place in the world, as they’re afraid of being ignored and set aside when they still have things to contribute. They deal with a whole host of serious adult issues, while at the same time engaging in child friendly flights of fancy.

However, love is one thing that the films never really completely explored. There were some hints of romance in the films, but love is not something that comes easy to most people. So in true Toy Story fashion, this should be a prime area of emotional discovery for Buzz and Woody to work through some serious issues, while at the same time making kids laugh. Catmull says that there isn’t actually any external pressure to make sequels and, if true, that means that this a story Pixar and director John Lasseter really want to tell, while using these familiar characters.

Are you excited for the upcoming, but still a long time off, Toy Story 4 or should they have let it all go after they completed the trilogy? Let us know in the Comments section below, and keep in mind that Toy Story 4 is slated for release on June 15, 2018 - but that could always change.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.