While 2016 was chock full of celebrity deaths, 2017 has not been without its losses. And this week we saw one of the all time comedy greats go, as legendary insult comic Don Rickles passed away at the age of 90. And while the entertainment community collectively mourned Rickles' death, speculation quickly arose as to whether or not he had recorded his role in Toy Story 4. Now we have an answer to that question.
Unfortunately, it appears that Don Rickles did not record his dialogue as Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story 4 before he passed. This news comes to us from Rickles' team (via THR), which is sure to be disappointing for everyone involved in the sequel, as well as the franchise's generations of fans. Toy Story 4 is still in pre-production, and therefore Mr. Potato Head's lines hadn't been worked on before Rickles' passing from kidney failure.
This comes months after Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher suddenly passed away before she could film any footage for the untitled Episode 9. This has thrown the future of the franchise into similar confusion, although Fisher's brother has since stated that she'll still be apart of the film. With technology advancing the way it is, perhaps old footage of Don Rickles could be used to help bring Mr. Potato Head to life in Toy Story 4.
Mr. Potato Head is one of the main characters of the franchise, usually serving as a pessimistic and hot headed foil to Tom Hanks' Woody. Following the events of Toy Story 3, Potato Head, his wife, and three alien children (just go with it) were gifted to Bonnie from original owner Andy. Plot details for the upcoming sequel are few and far between, so it's unclear exactly how Don Rickles' role will factor into the narrative.
It should be interesting to see how Disney decides to proceed with the character of Mr. Potato Head. Will it be a case of art imitating life, with Potato Head possibly being thrown out or broken? The Toy Story films have never been shy to tug at our emotions, especially Toy Story 3's heartbreaking near death sequence, and Andy's goodbye. If they chose to address Don Rickles' passing, I'm sure it'll send theaters reaching for their tissues.
Or will the House of Mouse choose to recast the role and keep the gang all together? Right now it's anyone's guess. Don Rickles is a comedian of legendary caliber, so it would be difficult to find another voice actor with the same clout and timing. But with the full cast set to return for the fourth film, it wouldn't be the same without Mr. Potato head around to kvetch.
Be sure to check back with us at CinemaBlend for updates on Toy Story 4's response to Don Rickles' passing. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.