With Last Man Standing premiering tonight on Fox, Tim Allen’s appearance on the Steve talk show yesterday was the last in his run of promotional interviews for his series’ network switch. Although his mention of Toy Story 4 this time was brief, it’s still worth sharing and discussing.
‘Toy Story 4’ – I can only tell you that somehow they got this better than 3. I can’t tell you anything about it, except that it is marvelous, expansive, better, it’s wonderful, it’s sad.
His remarks can be found at the very end of this video clip from the episode:
I’m still trying to process how many times Allen has said that Toy Story 4 is “sad” or “hard to get through” in the past week. But he’s also referred to it as funny and clever, and praises it highly as even better than Toy Story 3. We already know that Woody and Bo’s backstory is inevitably sad, with them having been separated – probably suddenly and dramatically – at some point in time. But Allen obviously loves these characters and their world, and I would hope that he wouldn’t be so complimentary of the film if the plot gave them crises that were insurmountable.
I’ve held off on sharing the following information – found on an online discussion board about a month ago – because its accuracy can’t be proven. In fact, when I went back to click on the link, it has since been removed, so take these statements with a grain of salt. But in light of all the talk of new characters, and the emotional aspect of the film, it might be useful in analyzing where the story could go. It came from someone claiming to work for a company involved with promotional tie-ins:
Up front: The info we got doesn’t cover story specifics or a plot outline. It’s mostly art and info on the characters, and not really all of them so far.
Does it look like a classic? Way too early to know. [Like] Helen Parr getting the spotlight in Incredibles 2 … there’s something that really points to that sort of direction in some of the art and, specifically, a returning character’s in-universe redesign (Woody and Buzz still seem to be the main characters).
What other story does it feel like? It definitely feels Toy Story, but just from the characters it’s tough to say what direction it will take storywise. There’s a lot of nostalgic/vintage visuals going on though, we already knew it’s going to be about Woody and Bo Peep, and overall my gut says it’s going to be more lighthearted than 3 and probably more along the lines of 2.
What are some new licensed characters showing up? All new characters look original, and most look like vintage/classic toys (a big classic girly doll, an 80s type action figure). There’s one I thought it was really original and something Toy Story had never done before either: a handmade character built with household/disposable items, which confirms that stuff kids make also becomes alive in this universe. I’m somewhat excited about this one; an editorial copy appendix shows some taglines and such about the character, and though he seems your basic “wacky” type character, he has a darker, existential dread-ridden side to him, as he doesn’t seem to know what he even is and he’s the only one of his “species”.
If this person is actually involved somehow with Toy Story 4 marketing, and violated a non-disclosure agreement in sharing these details, that’s probably why the link is no longer valid. And if this “one of a kind” character does exist, he might play into the sad aspect of the film as well. Tim Allen mentioned in a previous interview that there is a new character the toys all care a great deal about, so could this be him?
It feels like this movie has been surrounded by even more secrecy than Pixar’s other films, which makes it difficult when statements like Allen’s come out with nothing else to put them into context. If we look back at something he said to Entertainment Weekly a couple weeks ago, though…
It walks the line between comfort — you know what’s going on — and discomfort — wondering what’s gonna happen.
Toy Story 3 had the incinerator scene toward the end that made everybody sob, and made it look like all hope was lost. But it wasn’t. So that’s the hope I’m holding onto as we wait for a synopsis, or image, or trailer, or anything at all from Pixar to give us a clearer idea of what Toy Story 4 is going to be like. Until then, I’ll be on the lookout for more quotes from the voice cast, since they’ve been the ones to share the most!
Image © the Steve TV show.