New ‘Toy Story 4’ Poster Offers New Clues

Just today, a new international poster for Toy Story 4 was revealed on Disney Ireland’s Twitter account.  Simply stunning in its design, and far more detailed than the previous teaser images, this one offers several clues of the film’s plot in the background.

To start with, the marquee-type lettering of the logo hearkens to the trailer we saw a couple weeks ago, with comedians Key and Peele as carnival game prize plushes Ducky and Bunny, who the toys will be meeting along the way.  In fact, this same carnival where we met the new characters can be seen on the far right in the background of the poster, including the sign for the “Star Adventurer” game booth where they were located in the teaser.   To be featured this prominently implies that the carnival will play a significant role in the story.

The carnival as seen in the reaction trailer with Ducky and Bunny.

A new clue in this image is the “RV Park” sign next to the carnival.  (There is additional text above the “RV Park” lettering, in a green box, but I can’t make it out in the resolution of this particular image.)  Is this attached to the carnival?  Or is it just another pivotal stop along their way, and therefore was included here?  We already knew that the story was to center around a road trip, based on the official synopsis that was provided with the first teaser.  Now we know that what was hinted at during the D23 Expo – a RV adventure – is confirmed to be fact.  Here’s another look at the synopsis we already had:

Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called “Forky” to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy.

Lastly, there’s Woody’s pose.  There was a lot of speculation after the first teaser poster was released that his stance suggests a goodbye.  Now, standing in the same position, he’s tipping his hat and facing the sunset – is this the stereotypical “cowboy walking into the sunset” of old westerns?  Is the film’s “Scarlett I don’t give a damn” moment – as mentioned by Tim Allen last week – going to be Woody stepping away from Bonnie and his friends, so that he can have a chance for happiness with Bo?   That would be the ultimate arc for his character, since he has always put others before himself, and has always been devoted to his owner.  If the film is exploring what it means to be a toy, what does it mean to be a toy in love, and at what point does a toy decide to make their own choices to be with their significant other?  Is Woody no longer “confident about his place in the world,” and does he decide to make his new place with Bo?

Woody in the first ‘Toy Story 4’ teaser poster, and the latest one – note his upbeat change in expression and posture.

This is purely guessing on my part, based on what we’ve seen and heard so far, so take it with a grain of salt.  After all, how much did early promotional material for Coco suggest that Ernesto de la Cruz was Miguel’s great-great-grandfather?  There may be more going on here than initially meets the eye.  If you look closely at Woody in the new image, now he’s smiling, and his gaze is directed at the audience, and he’s standing more upright – much more positive body language than the one we originally saw in the first poster.   The sunset pictured here could merely refer to the action at the carnival happening at night – and yet be meant to lead our thoughts one way through the use of familiar imagery, so that the real plot is unexpected as it unfolds on screen.  I can’t help but wonder, would Tokyo be opening a new Toy Story Hotel in 2021 if the core group of toys were in fact going to be torn apart?  Besides, Woody leaving would contradict the “togetherness” theme that was woven throughout Toy Story 3 – only time will tell if the ending truly is surprising in this manner, or if there will be a last minute twist, one that keeps the gang intact.  One thing is for certain, the story will not be predictable, so as always, we have to wait and see just what exactly these new clues mean for the film.

Image © Disney/Pixar.