New Toy Story Shorts Coming to Disney+

Yesterday, during Disney’s Investor Day Webcast, Pixar Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter announced new shorts that will be coming to the Disney+ streaming service this fall.  Here’s what we have to look forward to…

First off, if you’d like to watch the playback, it starts at roughly 1:13  in an over two-hour video replay.  But in case you don’t, I’ve written out all of Docter’s remarks pertaining to Toy Story and Pixar in general, starting when he took to the stage to introduce Pixar’s segment of the presentation:

I am new to this CCO thing.  It’s a bit daunting.  They did not have classes in this in cartoon school.  But I have been lucky enough to have had a front row seat all along the way.  I started at Pixar in 1990, when Steve Jobs owned the place.  And I got to help write and create the characters for Toy Story, which came out all the way back in 1995.  And it’s amazing to think that now, all these years later, we have Toy Story 4 coming out this summer.  So we’re really proud of the way that’s turned out.

Along the way, of course, we’ve made 21 feature-length films, and over 30 shorts.  And Pixar’s movies have made over $13 billion worldwide, and we’re proud of that.  But I’ve got to admit, the reason we all work there is simply because we love making movies.  And I can’t really fully explain to you the joy in watching someone in the audience make a connection with a film you make.  There’s a real feeling of contact as a filmmaker, when we’re able to say something about our lives, and we realize that our audiences feel that same thing.  So whether that be about parenting, or loss, or friendship, I think this is what people have come to expect from Pixar, that feeling of connection.  And even though our movies are about monsters, or fish, or cars, they’re really about us.  So making personal films that appeal to everyone, that’s what we love doing, and that’s what we hope to continue to do with everything that we’re working on right now.  We’re thrilled right now that our films are are all going to have a home on Disney+.

Docter went on to explain that the service will launch with 19 Pixar films available on the first day, and Coco, Incredibles 2, and Toy Story 4 will be added within the first year.  All the shorts will be available for streaming on the first day as well.  But the most exciting announcements were of the new projects in the works – a Monsters, Inc. animated series, a selection of behind-the-scenes Pixar documentary programs, and NEW Toy Story shorts!  He kicked off the Toy Story portion of the webcast with these comments:

As I mentioned, we’re gearing up for the theatrical release of Toy Story 4 this summer.  We’re proud of all of our films, but I gotta say, there is something extra special about a Toy Story movie, because that’s where it all started for us.  So, in this film, Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the gang go on an adventure that takes the Toy Story world into an exciting new direction.  And along the way, we get to meet a few fun new characters.

At this point, a clip was shown from the movie that was not shared online; and when they returned to the presentation, the first of the upcoming shorts was revealed.

Forky Asks A Question

New character Forky’s existential crisis looks to be one of the best parts of Toy Story 4 – and he’s going to be getting his own series of shorts where he explores the questions of life!  Pixar provided an official synopsis:

Forky Asks A Question
Forky, from Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4, is a craft project created from trash, so he has important questions about how the world works, such as: What is love? What is time? And of course, the deepest question of all, What is cheese? He explores all of these questions and more in a series of 10 shorts.

… but Pete Docter spoke even more in-depth about it on stage:

So, Toy Story 4 opens in theaters around the world this summer.  And as you’ve seen here, Forky was just made by Bonnie minutes ago, so naturally he has a lot of questions about the way the world works – questions that he’ll explore in a series that we call Forky Asks A Question, exclusive for Disney+ and premiering on the day the service launches.  This is a series of 10 shorts that will premiere on day one.  And it’s here that Forky asks his friends in Bonnie’s room to help him answer life’s most imponderable questions, such as, “What is love?” or “What is time?”  And of course the most difficult question of all, “What is cheese?”  Now, I’m sure many of you have wondered these same things, so tune in to Disney+ to find the answers.

I’m REALLY excited about this series!  It’s wonderful that it involves all the toys, and isn’t one-sided like Ken’s Dating Tips that came out as a promo for Toy Story 3.  We don’t know how long these shorts will be, but I’m hoping for at least the 6-minute run time of all the Toy Story Toons., which was long enough for a fun little story.  I can’t wait to see what ten themes we’ll get to see the toys explore here!

Lamp Life

Although Toy Story 4 will be giving us some answers on how Bo Peep left Andy’s house, and where she is now, we still won’t know what she was up to in the years between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 4.  The other new short that was announced, Lamp Life, will fill in those gaps.  Here’s what Pixar’s official description said:

Lamp Life
Bo Peep makes a big comeback in Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 and she leads the way in the all-new animated short film, finally answering the questions about where Bo was since we last we saw her in Toy Story 2.

Just like with the Forky shorts, however, Docter gave us even more detail in the webcast:

Forky is not the only one getting the Disney+ treatment.  We are pleased that Bo Peep is also going to be making a film.  She makes a big comeback in Toy Story 4, and she will be leading the way in an all new short film called Lamp Life.  Now, we last saw Bo Peep in Toy Story 2, if you remember, and we’re going to meet up again with her this summer in Toy Story 4.  So what happened in between?  Well, Lamp Life is going to answer those questions, as Bo Peep recounts to Woody the thrilling adventures she has had over the last few years – and a few trials and tribulations as well, cause she’s a toy attached to a lamp.  So it is an illuminating journey – sorry – full of fun and humor, only on Disney+.

It’ll be great to learn more of Bo’s story.  And I really love that it’s her telling the story to Woody, instead of just a random selection of flashback scenes strung together without any of the other familiar toys present.  The question is – will the setting be her telling him these things during the course of the Toy Story 4 action?  Or does this imply that they are together after the events of the movie – at Bonnie’s or elsewhere – and that’s when she’s sharing these tales?  No running time was given for this, either, but I’d guess this might be closer in length to the 22-minute television specials, since it’s only the one episode.  Lamp Life will not be available on launch day, but will be on Disney+ at some time during its first year of service.

Pete Docter closed with the following statement about Pixar in general:

As you can see, we’ve been busy up there in Emeryville, and we are not slowing down,.  We have never had such an exciting bunch of projects, and we’re thrilled to show you more, both on the big screen and on Disney+.

Disney+ will launch in the US on November 12, for $6.99 a month – I know I’ll be subscribing! And it’s especially nice to know that, once Toy Story 4 has had its run in theaters, we’ll be getting new content with these characters on this new service.  I think the possibilities are endless with this, and hope for even more original content with the toys in the months and years to come!

Images © Disney and Disney/Pixar.