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Like many of us, Toy Story franchise actor Tom Hanks had a difficult time dealing with the end of the phenomenal Toy Story 4. But unlike most of us, he has an even deeper connection to the franchise, one which transcends emotional attachment and nostalgic partiality and instead becomes part of his professional (and probably personal) identity. The impact these movies have had on his life and career is as significant as the effect his character has had on millions of children and parents everywhere. Oh, and because of these films, he and co-star Tim Allen are also friends in real life.
But his involvement with the franchise stretches back further than some might think. Most of us know Tom Hanks has been an invaluable part of the Toy Story series since the first installment hit theaters in 1995. Cast as the charismatic cowboy doll Woody (who, unbeknownst to me, has a last name), Hanks would become a hit with the kids and parents of that era as well as with those of each generation that would follow. Tom Hanks's recent comments confirm an even longer tenure as the character.
During an interview on BBC America's The Graham Norton Show, Tom Hanks said:
It [saying goodbye] was terrible. I started recording Woody in '91. That's when we actually got together to do the first one. You record these things over about four years. You go in about every eight months and deliver everything the writers have come up with. The last session I thought was just odds and ends. You had to do a little bit of this reel and a little bit of that. But I was in the same studio, with the same microphone, with the same glass. And then they said, 'Okay, great. Thanks!' And just like, twenty or however many years were over.
If you're shocked and a bit miffed, fret not. Tom Hanks also thought this was abrupt. He continued, saying:
And I had to say, 'Wait, wait. Guys, there's gotta be...there's gotta be something else you need.' And they said, 'Nope, we pretty much got it all.' And the only thing to do was to get in my car and drive away. I heard the music and the sun was going down and the credits were rolling on my life.
And when the credits rolled on this latest installment, that same sense of finality was absolutely present. Loaded with humor, heart, and life lessons, Toy Story 4 is an important film that, despite Hanks's need for more Woody, needs to be the last in the franchise. End things on a high note, yeah? Oh yeah, and it's now making a killing at the box office. Hopefully, Disney doesn't take that as a go-ahead from audiences to make another one.