Toy Story 4 Director Explains Why The Toy Story Movies Didn't End With 3

Buzz, Jessie, and Bullseye in Toy Story 3

The Toy Story franchise was a groundbreaker when it debuted in 1995, and ushered in a new age of animated blockbusters. Since then, Andy's toys have never been truly far from theaters, as a trilogy of movies arrived in theaters, breaking our hearts in the process. Toy Story 3 was especially devastating, and seemed like a perfect ending to the trilogy. And that's why news of the fourth movie was originally so surprising.

Josh Cooley directed Toy Story 4, picking up the story now that Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the toys are Bonnie's. The upcoming fourth movie has been teased to be a super emotional story, which is saying something after the events of the threequel. Cooley recently explained why the franchise continued on after Toy Story 3, saying:

We had the same questions right now that everyone has that’s, ‘Wait, I thought you guys were done?' And so we had those questions five years ago when we started…Tons of responsibility, tons of pressure a lot of sleepless nights knowing that we were going to attempt this. Because we loved the end of Toy Story 3 and feel like that’s the completion of Woody and Andy’s story, but there’s more of Woody’s story to tell.

Touche. While the original trilogy about Andy and his toys was wrapped up with Toy Story 3, the individual characters still have more storytelling possibilities. Specifically Woody, who will be reuniting with Bo Peep throughout the course of the fourth movie.

Josh Cooley's comments come from the recent Toy Story 4 press day, which CinemaBlend's Jessica Rawden was in attendance for. Cooley didn't direct Toy Story 3, that honor went to Lee Unkrich for the 2010 release. As such, he had the same concerns about the fourth movie, and whether or not another story needed to be told.

Related: Toy Story 4 Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Think

Ultimately he decided that Toy Story 4 would be largely about Woody, and his life post-Andy. Tom Hanks' character has always been the most loyal to his kid, and it was a seismic change to see Andy leave him and the group with Bonnie in the threequel. So there should be some emotional baggage to unpack in the fourth movie, especially once Woody reunites with Bo Peep.

But just because another story came in the form of Toy Story 4 doesn't mean we should expect the franchise to continue on indefinitely. In fact, the advertising and comments from cast/crew certainly make it seem like the fourth movie will be the last. Later in the Toy Story 4 press conference, producer Jonas Rivera spoke to the upcoming movie's ending, and how it may be a proper fit to wrap up the story. As he put it:

We feel satisfied that this is where we CAN end it. There's an implied future to all these films and we sort of never say never at Pixar but as storytellers we're satisfied with this as the closing of the chapter.

While Toy Story 3 had a perfect potential ending for the franchise, it looks like the filmmakers in charge of Toy Story 4 were sure to give the toys a satisfying conclusion as well. But considering how strong the trend of nostalgia is, you can never say never when it comes to Woody and company.

Toy Story 4 will arrive in theaters on June 21, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.