Will ‘Toy Story 4’ Be the Last One?

We certainly hope that Toy Story 4 will be the last one of the series  – and that’s not any kind of complaint at all. Just when it seemed like there was nowhere for the franchise to go after the pitch-perfect ending of Toy Story 3, the folks at Pixar have miraculously found a way to justify another sequel.

Toy Story 4
Toy Story 4 | Franco Origlia/Getty Images

That’s why Pixar ought to quit while they’re still ahead. They’ve given every indication that’s exactly what they’ll do. Not only will there not be any Toy Story sequels, but there also won’t be any more sequels of any sort.

No Incredibles 3, no Cars 4, no Finding Crush. For the foreseeable future, Pixar intends to focus on originals. To back this up, they just announced a second original film coming up next year.

What’s ‘Toy Story 4’ about?

You may recall that at the end of Toy Story 3, as Andy was making his final departure for college, he gave away his beloved toys to a little girl named Bonnie. She may have an even zanier imagination then he did as a child. Andy gave up Woody in particular with some reluctance, but we know the toys are in a good place. As Andy drives off to his new life, the toys wistfully but gratefully watch him go, and Woody says, “So long, partner.”

The characters lived on with Bonnie in various shorts, but they seemed to be done as far as movies went. Then, former Pixar chief John Lasseter had a brainwave: what if the toys found Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who was conspicuously missing from Toy Story 3?

In the new movie, the playful but shy Bonnie starts kindergarten and feels awkward there. With an unseen assist from Woody, Bonnie creates her own new toy called Forky (Tony Hale), who feels compelled to stay in the trash.

The ever-loyal Woody has a new mission: keep Forky from getting lost at all costs. And yes, while on a road trip, Woody does run into his former squeeze Bo, who has become streetwise and found that she loves being a lost toy.  

Is ‘Toy Story 4’ any good?

Toy Story 4 isn’t just good, it’s great as usual. This is one of the best series of any kind of movie, animated or otherwise, with nary a dud in sight. That it works so well after the third movie seemed to be such an ideal stopping point is a minor miracle. This may be the funniest Pixar movie. There were so many great gags involving Forky repeatedly trying to throw himself away.

The only significant drawback is the movie makes Buzz a little too dim. He has to rely on his voice box sayings to make decisions while he’s on the road. Buzz may not be particularly bright, but he’s still a natural leader who did quite well on the road in Toy Story 2, so the gag is clumsy.  It’s also too bad that outside of Woody,  Buzz, and Bo, the familiar toys don’t get much to do.

That said, Bo Peep makes a most welcome return, and her animation, in particular, is striking and lovely. The detail on her face, complete with reflections, is impressive. Moreover, Bo figures into a third act turn that is almost as much an emotional wipeout as the end of Toy Story 3.

In other words, yes, this one will make you cry too. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks said they shed a few tears themselves. If Pixar finds a way to make Toy Story 5 after this, they’ll really be pushing it. Then again, that’s what a lot of people said after Toy Story 3.

Pixar is swearing off sequels

In recent years, sequels had dominated Pixar’s output, some of them very good (Incredibles 2) and some of them not so much. (Cars 3). However, Pixar has a new creative chief, Pete Docter, who wants to emphasize developing new talent and new ideas.

We had already seen that the next Pixar movie would be Onward, where the characters are fantasy figures like elves, unicorns, and gnomes. The voice cast includes Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, and Octavia Spencer. It is due to come out March 6 of 2020. That’s an unusual release date for Pixar, which usually releases movies in the summer or during the holiday season, the most lucrative times of the year.

This week that date made more sense when we learned that Pixar will release two movies next year, and the second one does get a summer slot: Soul comes out June 19, and the press release describes it this way:

Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from? What is it that makes you … YOU?

It sounds a bit similar to Inside Out, which makes sense because both movies are directed by Docter. He has one of the best track records at the company. His other credits include Monsters Inc. and Up.