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Pixar played a little game of Good News / Bad News with fans when they recently revealed that The Incredibles 2 would open one year earlier than expected, but Toy Story 4 (as a result) would be delayed one full year until 2019. The date shift signifies a strong vote of confidence in Brad Bird's sequel... but on the flip side, it also has to be looked at as a slight cause for concern for the fourth Toy Story. Other sites are running with the rumor that the delay could be caused by uncertainty in the screenplay for Toy Story 4. Which is why I'm going out on a limb and saying if there's even a whiff of doubt, Pixar should scrap plans for this sequel and leave the series alone.
Let me also start by saying that if and when Toy Story 4 reaches theaters, I will be the first in line, waiting to see what the animation super studio has in store for Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the colorful characters I've grown to love over the years. But I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't already concerned that Pixar was going back to the well one too many times with a Toy Story 4, especially after coming up with a perfect ending to Woody and Andy's emotional arc, and if a delay caused by story concerns already is happening, I'm not sure I want to see the result of an undercooked or improperly plotted Toy Story sequel.
In my opinion, Pixar has a perfect trilogy with its Toy Story movies. Until this year, the trilogy's capper, Toy Story 3, was the highest-grossing film in the studio's history. Toy Story 3 also is one of two Pixar films to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination (the other being Up). The main reason I'm hesitant to get excited over Toy Story 4 is that, against all odds, Pixar stuck the landing, giving the toys and their owner real closure for a saga that lasted 15 years.
I chose to believe that Pixar came up with an amazing idea for Toy Story 4, one that demanded the dust be blown off the beloved Toy Gang for the start of a new series of films. Yesterday's news shook that faith. Because up until now, we've been lucky enough to catch up with Woody, Buzz and the gang in short films that find their way to ABC or a DVD. It's not like these characters have been on a shelf since 2010. But pushing Toy Story 4 back to 2019 means that nearly a decade will have passed since Toy Story 3. Will time away be kind to the series?
I wish I could point at Pixar's track record with sequels, but even that has been so unpredictable, I've no idea how Toy Story 4 would turn out. It could be Finding Dory, a box-office smash that reminded us why we loved a stable of adorable characters we hadn't seen in years. Or it could be Cars 2, a misguided adventure that lost sight of what worked in the original film.
Maybe I'm being too cautious. Maybe Pixar has earned the benefit of the doubt, and the one-year delay has nothing to do with the overall quality of the Toy Story 4 script, but more a matter of timing on Brad Bird's The Incredibles 2. But so far, I think Pixar has been extremely lucky that they didn't step wrong with the three Toy Story films, and attempting a fourth is the textbook definition of pushing their luck. I didn't love the idea when they were being headstrong about it. I like the idea even less now that they are delaying the movie. Also, shouldn't Pixar be focusing on original story ideas? Tell me I'm wrong, and that you think Toy Story 4 will be just fine, in the comments section below.