After 'Toy Story 4,' What Toy Story Should Pixar Tell Next?
By John Boone
Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios
Spoilers for "Toy Story 4" below.
Most of us thought Toy Story 3 was the end...and then there was Toy Story 4, a hilarious, heartwarming and -- it turns out -- much-needed addition to the franchise. And while this newest Toy Story ends on an even more conclusive note than the last, at this point, why would and why shouldn't the series continue?
What we do know is that if Disney and Pixar do decide to make a fivequel, it will be drastically different than anything we've seen thus far. As such, here are five suggestions for which Toy Story should be told next:
1. Toy Story 5
Just because Woody is gone, doesn't mean the adventures in Bonnie's room with the rest of the gang can't continue. Especially now that Forky (voiced by Tony Hale) and Knifey (or whatever Bonnie's first grade crafts creation is called) have been introduced into the mix. It would be fascinating to see how Buzz Lightyear contends with life without Woody and how Bonnie's room functions with Buzz as its de facto leader.
As for whether Tim Allen is interested in continuing to voice Buzz, he told ET, "Once you've gotten to four, you're passed that trilogy [point], so I don't see any reason why they wouldn't do it, certainly. If you ask me, I'd say do five."
2. Barbie and Ken: A Toy Story
Following the events of the Toy Story short, Hawaiian Vacation, Barbie and Ken apparently returned to their daycare dream home. "Ken is not in this film. He's back at Sunnyside," Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley said ahead of the movie's release, though he and the film's producers went on to affirm how much they love Michael Keaton's scene-stealing lothario.
Here's an idea for a Toy Story anthology film, although it may ultimately be too similar to the plot of Toy Story 2: What if Barbie (Jodi Benson) and Ken were deemed vintage finds and bought to become part of a collector's set, only to become the outsiders in a dreamville of pristine dolls like Skipper and Stacie. (Or get meta with Disney-licensed Barbies like Elsa or Anna.) Facing life in a glass box, Ken and Barbie must call upon every occupation they've ever dressed up as to make their way back home.
3. Toy Story: Ducky & Bunny's Big Adventure
No disrespect to Keanu Reeves' Duke Caboom, but Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele) were my breakout stars of Toy Story 4. At the end of the movie, they are working with Woody and Bo Peep to match up every carnival toy with a kid, but it would be easy enough to spin them off into their own film.
Toy Story 4 makes something of a reveal when it comes to Ducky and Bunny that isn't apparent from the billboards: They're sewn together, hand-to-hand, so they are stuck together whether they like it or not. That adjoining stitch is never explained in this movie, but a fun premise could be the twosome meeting another solo Ducky or Bunny and discovering their extra stitch is a manufacturing error. So, the duo set out to return to wherever they were made to find out why destiny linked them together -- and whether they want to stay that way.
4. Toy Story: Back to the Toy Box
Think of this route as Toy Story: Origins. Now that we've seen (what appears to be) the end of Woody's story, we could go back to the beginning for a Woody-centric prequel, exploring how the cowboy came to live in Andy's room, his first interactions other OG Toy Story toys, and their first adventure together.
So, what would it be about? Well, Woody's biggest fear has long been being replaced by a new toy. What if that's because he once usurped Andy's favorite toy? There's innate drama there, as a young Woody would have to contend with being an antihero, of sorts, while helping the old guard move on. (Depending on the timeline, Woody could be replacing one of Andy's favorite baby toys. Toy Story 4 briefly introduced the likes of Mel Brooks and Betty White as discarded baby toys, a concept I'd love to see explored elsewhere.)
It would certainly be an adjustment watching a Toy Story movie with only Woody or Buzz in it -- or, as the case may be, without either -- but maybe this story is bigger than any one toy. Only time and box office receipts will tell.