As much as I don’t think we particularly need a new installment in Disney-Pixar‘s Toy Story franchise — Toy Story 3 was honestly perfect, you guys, really — come June 16, 2017 there will be one in theaters for all to see. And from the sounds of it, the story we see in Toy Story 4 won’t simply be a continuation of the previous trilogy.
The obvious way to extend the series, as many assumed — and spoiler alert in case you haven’t seen Toy Story 3 — would have been to catch up with Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang some time after Andy drops them off with their new owner Bonnie when he leaves for college. However, this time around, it seems the focus of the film won’t be the interactions and relationships between the toy characters and their human counterparts. Rather, Pixar president Jim Morris tells Disney Latino (via Slash Film) the film is going off in a bit of a different direction.
Now that’s a vague statement if I ever saw one, after all we’ve seen plenty of romantic comedy elements in the three previous Toy Story films, but the fact the focus won’t be on relationships between the toys and their owner(s) is a bit of a changeup. After all, those previous outings examined, in large part, the evolving relationship between the toys and their loving owner Andy as he grows up and moves on to new stages of his life. It seems we won’t be seeing the same type of relationship evolution this time around, which you could take as either a good thing or a bad thing, but who really knows until we actually see the finished product.
I am, however, curious what exactly Morris means by the film “temporarily” serving as a continuation of Toy Story 3. Presumably this means the third film helps set up Toy Story 4 in some way, and my guess is once the story is set up the new film won’t necessarily be dependent upon the events that came before it? I’m not sure, it’s difficult to read into.
Morris added the film is shaping up nicely, and the script, which stems from an “irresistible” idea dreamt up by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Lee Unkrich, is “evolving very well.” As for future installments, he made sure to say Toy Story 4 wasn’t being made purely for financial benefit — though surely that plays a big part of it, movies are a business and Toy Story is a lucrative one — but he also stated, “The decision to make a second or third entirely depends on how passionate the director of the project is.” I can only hope Pixar sticks to its guns on that, but again, we’ll see.
I’m a big fan of the Toy Story films, in large part because I had the benefit of growing up alongside Andy, so I really want to see them succeed here. I saw Toy Story 3 two weeks after graduating high school and so I hold that movie especially dear to my heart, it really is a perfect ending to the trilogy. But I’m hopeful Toy Story 4 turns out well, especially if it isn’t an out-and-out continuation of the franchise. First, though, I think we need to see Pixar prove itself again as a storytelling heavyweight over the course of its next few projects before I really start to get excited about a new Toy Story movie.