Disney’s D23 Expo was held this past weekend in Anaheim, and lots of announcements came out of the event’s panels and presentations. Among those were some new details about the Toy Story shorts Forky Asks A Question and Lamp Life, which will be a part of the new Disney+ streaming service launching this November.
Forky Asks A Question
During Saturday’s Disney+ presentation, Tony Hale came on stage to introduce the first episode of Forky Asks A Question, the short series where Forky’s friends in Bonnie’s room will help him learn more about life. The audience was treated to “What is Money?” featuring Hamm, which you can listen to at the 16:55 mark in the video below:
It sounds as if the episodes will be like mini lessons, not really involving any other characters besides the one being asked. I was hoping for more of an ensemble format, but the audience seemed to really love what they saw, so I’m still looking forward to seeing what these are all about. Running just shy of three minutes, the episodes won’t be very long. But when you add up all ten of them, the total content will be roughly the equivalent of one of the Toy Story television specials. The series is directed by longtime Pixarian Bob Peterson and produced by Mark Nielsen, who was also a producer on Toy Story 4.
During the course of the weekend, Tony Hale participated in a few brief interviews related to the series as well:
Thanks to these interviews, we now have the topics of six out of ten of the episodes (others were provided in earlier announcements):
- What is Money?
- What is Time?
- What is Love?
- What is Friendship?
- What is the Internet?
- What is Cheese?
We already know Hamm is the featured character in the money episode. And it’s probable that Trixie (and possibly Rex, if there can be more than one) will teach the lesson about the internet. But the others are still a mystery, along with the remaining four topics that haven’t been named. It was mentioned in a previous interview that the classic comedians – Carol Burnett, Betty White, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner – who appeared in Toy Story 4 will get “considerable screen time” in the series, so hopefully that’s one episode together and not spread out across four, which would severely reduce the screen time of the classic gang. An image that was given out during an autograph session with Bob Peterson and Mark Nielsen shows Forky with Rex on Bonnie’s floor, so we can assume that at least at some point he’ll be included!
A panel on Saturday focused solely on the Toy Story programming coming to Disney+, and although I couldn’t find many people live-tweeting updates from it, or any recap information once it concluded, one attendee did have this comment about the Forky series:
It’s nice to know that a previously-excluded character will be involved, but unless something said in the panel specifically hinted at Chuckles, I wouldn’t expect it to be him. He was voiced by longtime Pixarian Bud Luckey, who passed away in February 2018. My personal guess would be Mr. Pricklepants, since he was seen in Bonnie’s room but didn’t get to go on the road trip.
I’ll admit, even though I’m excited for this series, I’m a bit disappointed in how short the individual episodes are, and how limited the other characters’ appearances seem to be – but that’s because I can never get enough of the toys, and love seeing them interacting. Bonnie’s gang was already largely excluded from the latest movie, and I was hoping Forky’s series would make up for that, and give us some more time with them and a chance to see how they’re all getting along without Woody. I also hoped that Jessie would get some recognition as the new sheriff in town – a development that so far has been completely neglected post-movie. I guess we’ll just have to wait until November to find out what this series really has to offer – but word from people within Pixar is that it’s going to be very funny, so I’ll most likely end up being pleasantly surprised. And it’s possible that these episodes will be released on a weekly basis, according to a post by Inside the Magic, which will keep the anticipation going for a while, if that’s the case!
The other new Toy Story content on Disney+ will be Lamp Life, an individual special focusing on Bo Peep’s life between Andy’s house and Second Chance Antiques. Friday’s programming looked at the short, with a presentation by director Valerie LaPointe and producer Marc Sondheimer.
A brief clip was shown, depicting what appeared to be Bo’s intervening years between Molly’s room and the antique shop. Unfortunately, the only format I’ve seen it in was Instagram stories, which isn’t readily shareable, even on there. But in it, we see Bo go from being a frat house lamp, enduring crazy parties, to life on a ship. Her light is covered with moths at one point, and another scenario blankets her in snow that gusts in through a window. Throughout all of this, she isn’t wearing her bonnet, and thanks to a print that was given out during another autograph session with Valerie LaPointe, I think we have our answer as to how she lost it…
I really would love to see how Bo transformed her look over those years, and I think it’s going to be pretty clear how she came to the decision that life was better lived without an owner – all the things she saw and experienced only made her stronger and more independent. Runtime hasn’t been given for this short, neither has a release date; however it was stated back when it was first announced that it wouldn’t be a part of the November 12 launch, so we’ll have to wait a little longer for this one.
Disney+ looks like it’s going to have a ton of wonderful things to offer, and I know it’s something my family and I will enjoy watching, beyond just Toy Story. I do hope, though, that Forky Asks A Question and Lamp Life are only just the beginning of what is yet to come on there with the toys. I adore the lighthearted shorts of the past, and would love to see additional ones in the future. Here’s hoping there’s more in store on Disney+!
Cover image from an Instagram post by Lamp Life director Valerie LaPointe. Autographed images © Disney/Pixar and found on multiple eBay listings.