Toy Story 4: More Preview Details and Remarks from Producer Jonas Rivera

The 17-minute preview shown at CinemaCon last week gave us our first concrete details about the opening plot of Toy Story 4, and in the days since the first reports were published, even more information has surfaced online.  Coming from both the CinemaCon presentation and other international sneak peeks that have only recently had their embargo lifted, we now have a few more pieces to the puzzle, as well as some enlightening comments from the film’s Producer, Jonas Rivera.

If you’re avoiding spoilers, do not read further!  You’ve been warned.

This new information comes largely from recaps and interviews posted by Gizmodo, the UK Mirror, and an Italian site, Aska News.  Without rehashing everything I posted previously, I’m going to touch on the points that add more to the story.

Woody and Bo Peep

We already know that Woody and Bo are going to have an emotional goodbye at the beginning of the film, set nine years in the past when they were still at Andy’s house.  It wasn’t clear before what Woody’s intentions were, but it seems that he was really considering going with Bo the first time, until he heard Andy desperately searching for him.  Here’s what Gizmodo had to say about the scene:

[Woody is] under the buyer’s car and grabs Bo when the box she’s in gets put down.  Woody tells her he can sneak her out but Bo says no. It’s time to move on.  She then offers Woody the opportunity to come too.  He thinks about it and, just as he’s about to get in the box and leave, Andy runs out into the rain screaming that he lost Woody.  So Woody steps back and watches in shock as Bo gets put into the car and drives away forever.

So, while Bo is okay with the idea of moving on, it doesn’t sound here like things were as cut and dry as some other reports made it appear.  Although Woody does ultimately choose Andy, maybe he didn’t really have enough time to decide what he truly wanted to do.  Will Toy Story 4 give him another chance to contemplate that same decision less rashly?

In an interview with the Mirror, Jonas Rivera spoke about Woody and Bo’s separation:

“Bo was very close to Woody.  It’s that connection that was dropped for the third film, but we now explain what went on.  That goodbye moment we had to get right.  Molly doesn’t want Bo Peep anymore, and Woody chooses to stay behind for Andy.  Now Woody finds himself in a similar position.”

When Woody encounters her again, it will have a significant impact on him:

“If you asked Woody what was the biggest thing that happened to him in his life, or the most important, it’d be when he met Bo Peep for the second time.  She’s a realist.  The toys have always been afraid of being lost, but now that’s happened to her she’s coming back with a different lens. That’s important to Woody’s story arc.”

He also discussed the changes Bo has been through since we saw her last:

“We found ourselves wondering where she went, who she’d become – she turned out to be the key to it all.  She isn’t Tomb Raider, but she is different.  Bo Peep has re-purposed herself.”

As well as Annie Potts’ concerns about her character’s new persona:

“She wanted her to be authentic and truthful.  We didn’t want her to be a trope of what we see in other movies. There was a lot of energy and effort to make her real.”

I’m glad they’re addressing Bo’s transformation upfront.  There’s been a lot of discussion about it online – both positive and negative – and I’m sure that Pixar wouldn’t have made that choice if it wasn’t important to the story.

The Rest of the Gang

There were also some new details revealed for the scenes shown at Bonnie’s house.  Here’s one statement made by the Mirror:

When we get back to the present we see Woody struggling to adapt to his new life in the playroom.  Bonnie’s toys have a system and he keeps making suggestions.

Besides the fact that Bonnie is favoring other toys to Woody, does her existing group of toys not want – or need – a leader in the sense that Woody was in Andy’s room?  Is this another aspect of his loss of purpose?

There’s also more about Bonnie favoring Jessie over Woody, this time from Gizmodo:

All the toys are in the closet and we learn that Bonnie’s mom quickly cleaned her room and shoved everyone into the closet. But this makes the toys nervous because they know at any time they could just be left and forgotten in the closet.  Finally, Bonnie finishes breakfast and runs into her room.  She throws open the closet and starts yanking out toys.  Buzz, Hamm, most of them really, and then Woody… but only so she can take the Sheriff badge off of him to put on Jessie.  Woody has been left in the closet.

Could the badge be a foreshadowing of Jessie taking Woody’s place, if he chooses to go with Bo at the end of the movie?  While it seems as if the toys don’t necessarily need someone to take charge, it could represent more of a position of honor in the room than a true leadership role.  And with as many years as it’s been since Jessie was Emily’s most cherished toy, I have to admit I like this idea, a lot.  (Sorry, Woody, you’re a great guy, but you’ve been the favorite for a very long time.)  Even if by some chance Woody convinced Bo to come home with him, this would free him up to spend more time with her and have a new focus in his life, instead of looking out for everyone else.  There’s a lot of potential here.

… and Beyond?

The Italian article I found from Aska News, of course, I had to rely on Google Translate to decipher.  While that’s never as good as hearing it from the original source – the video included in the post dubbed over most of Jonas Rivera’s dialogue, unfortunately – we can still get a gist of what he said.

“It feels like a huge responsibility.  There’s a lot of weight to it.  We feel the burden, and there is great expectation around this fourth chapter.  We wanted to be sure that this film fully entered the Toy Story universe of the first three films, but we worked hard to do it in a new and unique way, that it was a new film.”

Despite the new and unique aspect, Rivera emphasizes that it’s still about friendship:

“It’s a film about friendship … a film about relationships, but also about the second chances you have in life, about the changes taking place in the world, and tells how people have to adapt.  Sometimes they encounter difficulties, others succeed before, others after.”

He mentions Bo Peep in this interview as well, which – even in the rough translation – reflects what was said before:

“Obviously the characters, like the actors, grow, evolve and Woody is very different from that of the first film or that of other films.  Bo Peep, maybe it’s the character that has changed the most.  In the first two films she was very close to Woody, but she disappeared so we decided to tell what happened.  It’s different, it’s really a reissue of that character and it changes a lot also Woody.”

Many websites have been making (unsourced) proclamations that Toy Story 4 is the last we’ll ever see of the toys.  But when Rivera was asked if this was the end of the series, here’s what he had to say:

“We never say never.  Every film could be the last, even the first could close the story.  I could say that Toy Story 4 is the end, then maybe an idea comes and you can rethink everything, why not?”

This echoes the cryptic remarks made by Tim Allen and Annie Potts in separate interviews.  it could mean nothing, but personally, I hope that this is only the beginning of a new saga with the Toy Story gang – be it in movies, specials, or shorts.   It’s great having them in the spotlight again, and I’d love to see that continue in the future!

Images © Disney/Pixar and Aska News.