For some, Toy Story 3 ended perfectly. But Pixar wasn't done with the tale of Sheriff Woody.
Pixar is known for its heartfelt and thought-provoking tales. Anyone under the age of 25 probably has an emotional attachment to one or more of the early 2000s Pixar movies.
Pretty much all of them are noteworthy, but the story that the company keeps going back to is Toy Story. Many thought that the ending to the toys' journey in Toy Story 3 was a perfect way to finish up the tale of Woody and the gang. In fact, when the fourth and final movie was announced, a lot of Pixar fans were reluctant. What purpose would a fourth movie serve for an already perfect ending?
In the video below, Darren Foley of MUST SEE FILMS provides an in-depth look at how the writers over at Pixar successfully kept Toy Story going for one more installment.
Check it out.
Toy Story 4 surpasses the traditional setup of its predecessors.
In the first three films, the conflict always led to Woody making a decision that ultimately showed his loyalty to Andy. After finding a new home with a new loving child, our story picks up elsewhere. Right away, the audience gets the sense that Woody’s world isn’t what it used to be—or what he’s most comfortable with.
From Andy to Bonnie, he always felt he had a home. Woody’s sense of belonging is shaken up once he realizes he is no longer “favorite toy” material, which is when he finds himself in desperation. In an attempt to gain his control back, Woody creates Forky. Masked by the intentions of calming Bonnie after her first day of kindergarten, making a new toy is really just Woody not being able to let go of what once was—affirmation from a kid.
A run-in with his old friend Bo Peep both triggers and eventually settles Woody’s deepest fear, which is being a lost toy. This is a fear we have constantly seen throughout all four films.
Toy Story 4 even opens with Woody ferociously trying to save R.C. from being washed away in a storm out of fear of the toy being lost and forgotten. This is clearly Woody projecting his own anxiety, but in the moment, it looks like him being the hero he always believed he was. Reuniting with Bo Peep led up to the final character arc that no one expected.
When Woody sees that she’s been “lost” for so long, he becomes riddled with confusion as to how she could be enjoying herself so much. Woody has remained in the shackles of his own prison, needing to please others to gain a sense of pride. Seeing a friend who has been liberated from such things is intimidating and almost undesirable for him. Why would he leave his beloved kids?
Woody looks his fear in the eye when he stumbles across Gabby Gabby, another voicebox-centered toy who longs for love and playtime with a child—only hers is broken. Once seen as the movie’s antagonist, Gabby Gabby gives Woody room to be empathetic and brave with that empathy. After being hunted down for his voicebox, he eventually makes the decision to hand it over without a fight.
This is where our protagonist undergoes a transformation that was probably outside of Pixar’s original character design. Without the framework of Andy and Bonnie, what purpose could Woody possibly serve? That particular moment of letting go was a bold act of empathy. When Woody made a commitment to grow, we saw a moment we could all learn from.
What did you think of Toy Story 4? Let us know in the comments below!