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Gabby Gabby talking to Woody in Toy Story 4

This weekend’s Toy Story 4 has been described as being very much Woody’s story. But while the heart of the story might be Tom Hanks’ cowboy, this latest installment in the Pixar franchise is also giving more shine to female characters, including Bonnie, the returning Bo Peep and newcomer Gabby Gabby. Christina Hendricks, who plays Gabby Gabby, believes the female focus of Toy Story 4 is important, as she explained:

I think it's important for them if they're going to make another one, you have to evolve. You want it to be true to what it is and the heart that has always been there, but if you don't change with the times, then it seems like it would be a mistake.

As she told USA Today, Christina Hendricks finds it important for this beloved franchise to change with the times by giving female characters more to do. In her estimation, to not do so and to become stagnant in that regard would be a mistake. So by having a greater female focus, Toy Story 4 is evolving in an important way and avoiding what the actress would see as a mistake.

This evolution has to come naturally though and stay true to what makes Toy Story, Toy Story. Christina Hendricks didn’t want any kind of evolution to have greater inclusion of female characters betray the core and the heart of the story franchise. If Toy Story 4 can both evolve to increase its focus on female characters while also remaining unmistakably a Toy Story film, then that is the ideal scenario.

That seems like it will be the case with Toy Story 4. The core of the story is still based around Buzz and Woody and their gang of toys, but with the toys all belonging to a little girl now and Bo Peep coming back in such a big way, the franchise mixes things up and makes the ladies part of the starting lineup, not just sideline cheerleaders.

The female characters aren’t the only ones getting some shine in this new film though. In addition to the obvious main characters Woody and Buzz, there are new characters like Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s Ducky and Bunny, as well as Tony Hale’s Forky (who was informed about the character through Arrested Development clips) and of course Keanu Reeves’ shockingly funny Duke Caboom.

This evolution and female focus seems to have worked out pretty well (although if we hear about a defeminized cut in the future, don’t be surprised) because the reviews for Toy Story 4 are as glowing and effusive with praise as you would expect for an entry in one of cinema’s most perfect series.

It looks like audiences too are eager to see the badass Bo Peep, creepy Gabby Gabby and the always-cute Bonnie. Toy Story 4 is set to get the box office out of its recent funk with an opening weekend that could top $160 million.

Toy Story 4 opens in theaters this weekend. Check out what you need to remember about the franchise before seeing it, and take a look at our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the other big movies you can look forward to this summer.

WATCH: Toy Story 4 Interviews with Tony Hale, Annie Potts and More

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