Nine years after Andy left for college, the toy box is being opened once more in Toy Story 4.
Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command are setting off on a quest to find the cowboy’s lost love – but a fourth instalment was not always a sure deal.
“We made a pinky promise to each other that we would not make another Toy Story unless we found a story that was worthy,” said Disney Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter. Thank goodness they found one.
Here’s everything you need to know about the toys’ next grand adventure.
When is Toy Story 4 released in UK cinemas?
The film will be released in both the UK and US on Friday 21st June 2019. Luckily, this means it will be easier to avoid spoilers!
Originally, the release was set for June of 2017, but production has taken far longer than expected. Three-quarters of the script was scrapped when Rashida Jones and Will McCormack withdrew from their screenwriting gig in November of 2017.
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What happened in Toy Story 3?
The third film in the Toy Story franchise sees 17-year-old Andy preparing to leave for college. While packing, his mother accidentally donates Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and the rest of his toys to a day care centre. There, Woody and friends must plan their escape from, not only hyperactive toddlers, but also a tyrannical teddy bear who holds them prisoner.
The film ends with Andy choosing to gift his toys to six-year-old Bonnie Anderson, thus giving them all a renewed purpose.
What’s the plot of Toy Story 4?
The official synopsis for the film reads:
Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called “Forky” to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy.
In Toy Story 4, our favourite “child’s playthings” are back. Well, not all of them. In between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, Woody’s romantic interest Bo Peep was sold at a yard sale. The fourth instalment will centre around his search for her, accompanied by Buzz Lightyear.
Pixar describes Toy Story 4 as a “standalone” that is half adventure and half love story. John Lasseter has also revealed that this “touching story” is inspired by his wife Nancy. This has prompted him to make Bo Peep into a strong character with a rich backstory. “Bo’s got some ‘tude now,” voice actress Annie Potts jokes.
Here she is, leading a rescue mission titled “Operation Pull Toy” for a stray toy who is stuck outside in the rain…
Though they now belong to Bonnie Anderson, Mrs Davis – Andy’s mom – is set to appear. This begs the question: will grown-up Andy make a cameo as well?
Has Toy Story 4 had good reviews?
In large part, yes. The majority of critics have posted glowing reviews for the series’ fourth instalment, labelling it “wonderful”, “magic” and “outstanding”. Some have called the film up on its repetition of known characters and plotlines, but The Telegraph’s Robbie Collins wrote that the ending left him “sobbing like a lawn sprinkler”.
Forky and fellow newbie Duke Caboom (played by Keanu Reeves) also drew particular praise. Forky is the hero we need in 2019,” according to Indiewire.
Why was Bo Peep not in Toy Story 3 and how does she return in Toy Story 4?
Bo Peep was sorely missed by Toy Story fans in the third movie after it was revealed she had been sold at a yard sale.
“We wanted to show in a concrete and dramatic way that any toy at any time could be outgrown and given away,” director Lee Unkrich recently told IndieWire.
He added: “We thought it would be powerful if one of the beloved toys from the ensemble was missing from the room. Given our previous challenges [the fact Bo Peep was made of porcelain made it unsafe for her to go on adventures with the other toys], we made the decision to have Bo Peep be that toy; it killed two birds with one stone.”
In Toy Story 4, her absence will be dealt with in a flashback prologue which finally explains how Bo Peep came to be sold: after Woody and Bo Peep rescue RC, the remote-controlled car, from being washed away during a heavy rainfall, Bo Peep is suddenly given to another family because Andy’s sister, Molly, has outgrown her. Woody tries to rescue Bo Peep from the car and she invites him to run away with her. But Woody can’t bring himself to leave Andy behind so he decides to stay, a decision that has weighed heavily on his mind ever since.
The good news is that Bo Peep returns in Toy Story 4 to reunite with Woody. When Woody first sees her in a park, he is stunned at her transformation and at how well she’s been getting on as a shepherdess of lost toys. Toy Story 4 revolves around their romance and how she shakes up his world view.
Good news – the majority of the original cast will return! It’s confirmed that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will reprise their roles as Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear, respectively. In fact, the two of them were on board for the fourth instalment before it was even in the works.
Annie Potts will be back to voice Bo Peep alongside Joan Cusack (Jessie), Laurie Metcalf (Mrs Davis), Kristen Schaal (Trixie), Bonnie Hunt (Dolly) and Jeff Garlin (Buttercup).
The voice of Mr Potato Head, Don Rickles, died before recording. Disney confirmed that his voice will be used in Toy Story 4 as a tribute. Estelle Harris’s Mrs Potato Head is also set to return.
Patricia Arquette joins the cast to play a “hippie mother.” and Tony Hale will play another new central character, Forky, while Keanu Reeves also joins the cast as Duke Caboom – “Canada’s Greatest Stuntman”.
Andy’s favourite toy, Woody (Tom Hanks), is happy in his role as room leader, but after Andy’s birthday party, new toy Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), a space ranger with laser action and pop-out wings, crash-lands into Woody’s world and changes everything.
Andy heads off to summer camp and the toys are left to their own devices. An obsessive toy collector kidnaps Woody – who had no idea that he was a greatly valued collectible. Buzz Lightyear and the gang from Andy’s room are all systems go to rescue him. Kelsey Grammar starred as Stinky Pete and Joan Cusack starred as Jessie.
Andy prepares to leave for college meaning his toys find themselves in daycare. Life isn’t quite so nice when there’s toddlers with their sticky little fingers playing with you. Add to that Lotso, the evil bear, and it’s an emotional and daring escape for the toys.
Toy Story 4 is released in cinemas on Friday 21st June 2019.