Earlier this week, an ET interview with Pete Docter began circulating, in which he debunked several Toy Story-related fan theories and dropped some vague hints about Toy Story 4. When I first found the video, those were the details I paid the closest attention to. Now, in light of the movie’s delayed release, a statement made by the interviewer stands out as a possible missed clue to changes in production.
“The ‘Inside Out’ writer and director is currently penning the ‘Toy Story 4’ script, alongside actors Will McCormack and Rashida Jones.”
Pete Docter hasn’t been previously named as one of Toy Story 4‘s writers, that I can recall. He was included as part of the original group that created the sequel’s story – along with John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, and Andrew Stanton – with the film’s treatment written by Lasseter and Stanton. Has he been brought onto the team to fix flaws or roadblocks in the script? Docter mentions working with McCormack and Jones in the interview:
“They’re just fantastic people and so much fun to work with. And what’s great about it is, as actors, I think they have also this ability to kind of infuse the dialogue with this great sense of character.”
It’s still unclear what caused Toy Story 4 to be pushed back a year, although it’s not uncommon for Pixar to make mid-production changes in writing or direction, in order to ensure the movie achieves its greatest potential. Did something in the story need to be majorly rebooted? Was there an element of the plot that wasn’t working? Or did the fault lie somewhere in the filmmaking crew, and leadership positions needed to be shuffled? And what about the cast’s voice work, that was said to begin soon? Hopefully the studio will share what exactly happened in the coming weeks.
I also have questions concerning the specifics of the story itself. Have any aspects of that – besides it focusing on Woody and Bo – changed as well? We’ve already heard that Toy Story 4 would be a “road movie,” and that it would introduce new characters along the way. Obviously, venturing away from home will still be necessary, if the toys are to help Woody find his lost love. But has something about their journey been altered? The only insight Docter offered was this:
“It’s definitely a lot of the same characters, and the world and everything. As you know, from ‘Toy Story 3,’ there’s kind of a new, big chapter to Woody’s life. So it’s really – I can’t say too much – simultaneously great characters and things that you’ve come to expect, but really a different kind of take on it.”
Although the news of the setback felt kind of like a punch in the gut to dedicated Toy Story fans like myself, I have to trust Pixar’s vision and their plan for Toy Story 4. While all their films matter to them, I know they particularly want to do right by their flagship franchise, and the characters that started it all. So, even though having to wait a year longer to revisit Woody and Buzz and the gang might be disappointing now, it’ll undoubtedly pay off in quality when the movie is finally released. In the meantime, I’m taking advantage of the extra year, and planning to attend the 2017 D23 Expo – my first – with my family and friends, in the hopes of getting to see any sneak peeks at Toy Story 4‘s progress firsthand. As Jessie says in Toy Story 3…
We’re just gonna have to make the best of it.
Photo and video © ET.