Your favorite plastic heroes are back and better than ever!
Toy Story 4 hit theaters on June 21, 2019, and while plenty of fans were skeptical about how the newest installment would fare (especially in light of the third movie’s seemingly perfect ending), it appears the beloved franchise has yet another massive hit on its hands. Originally slated to be released in June 2017, the two year delay made the much-anticipated animated flick that much more anticipated. Fortunately, Toy Story fans old and new will be delighted to find that the newest addition does not disappoint.
Toy Story 4 brings back old favorites, solves a lingering mystery from the third movie, shines new light on plastic sporks, and introduces a bevy of new characters that fans are sure to love to infinity and beyond. And since Pixar is famous for dropping Easter Eggs throughout their films, the franchise’s fourth installment is full of tiny details only the most eagle-eyed of viewers will catch. Here’s a list of things you probably missed in Toy Story 4.
No opening Pixar short
Part of the joy of seeing a Pixar movie in theaters is getting to see the short film that serves as a sort-of appetizer for the feature flick. Geri’s Game, the very first Pixar film to feature a human as its main character, was shown before 1998’s A Bug’s Life – and even went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Piper, another Academy Award-winner about a tiny sandpiper conquering her fear of water, was paired with 2016’s Finding Dory. However, Toy Story 4 featured no such short.
On June 14, 2019, a Disney representative confirmed to Slate that the upcoming film would be the first to not feature a short since the original Toy Story, which was released in 1995. According to producer Mark Nielsen, the reason for this all comes down to one word: resources.
“The people at the studio were all needed to work on feature films at the time [we were making the film],” Nielsen revealed in an interview with Yahoo Movies UK. “There was a big demand to finish up the last few films, and there just wasn’t the people to make a short.”
The license plate was an inside joke
Toy Story 4 starts with a flashback from nine years prior, wherein Woody and Bo Peep are conducting a rescue mission to save Andy’s remote control toy car, RC, from being swept away in a rainstorm. Luckily, the team is able to save RC just as a real car pulls into the Davis’ driveway. This crucial scene gives fans insight as to where in the world Bo Peep was in Toy Story 3, as it’s revealed that the person driving the car is there to take her (and her sheep) away.
If tears aren’t clouding your eyes, you may be able to make-out the letters and numbers on the car’s license plate: RMR F97. In a 2019 press conference, producer Mark Nielsen revealed that those letters and digits were incredibly intentional. “On Toy Story 2, there was someone who worked on the show that accidentally deleted the movie from the render farm,” Nielsen said. “[That] was the command on the computer that deleted the film.”
Producer Jonas Rivera added, “It felt appropriate that the license plate on the car that takes Bo away would be the same that killed Toy Story 2.”
New Randy Newman tunes
Randy Newman’s cheery song, “You’ve Got a Friend In Me,” was the theme song for the very first Toy Story movie, and has since been used in each of its sequels. The famous song made a welcome comeback with Toy Story 4 — but the film also graced fans with two brand spankin’ new Randy Newman tunes.
The first of said tunes, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” can be heard during the montage of Woody quite literally not letting Forky throw himself away. As Newman explained (via Yahoo!), “[Forky] gets it in his head that he’s disposable, so he keeps trying to throw himself in the trash can… and Woody has put himself in charge of keeping him from doing so.” A more appropriate song title has never existed.
The second of the singer-songwriter’s new original songs is the backing track for the film’s end credits — though Newman gave his voice a break for this one. Instead, country crooner Chris Stapleton lent his vocal talent to the Western-inspired tune, titled, “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy.” Spoiler alert: Don’t worry — Woody is far from lonely by the film’s end.
Vincent the ventriloquist dummy's namesake
The movies in the Toy Story franchise may have technically been made with kids in mind, but that doesn’t mean they come without their fair share of sly adult humor and nightmare-inducing villains (uh, hello, Sid). While the “bad guys” in Toy Story 4 are eventually redeemed by the end of the movie, their introduction to Woody and Forky in the Second Chance Antiques shop is sure to give you chill bumps — or should we say goosebumps?
If you fancy yourself a fan of R.L. Stine’s classic, creepy, children’s book series (as well as the television series and 2015 movie), Vincent the ventriloquist dummy — Gabby Gabby’s loyal pal and protector — likely looks familiar. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the creative minds behind Toy Story 4 are R.L. Stine fans themselves, as Vincent’s appearance pays obvious homage to popular Goosebumps villain, Slappy the Dummy. His name, however, seems to be inspired by the late Vincent Price — the actor best known for his work in classic horror films like the original House of Wax, The Mad Magician, and House on Haunted Hill.
Paying homage to Disney/Pixar favorites
Though fans had long speculated that Pixar films were all connected in some way, writer Jon Negroni popularized the idea with a viral 2013 blog post titled “The Pixar Theory.” In his post, Negroni put forth the idea that Boo — the adorable little girl from Monsters, Inc. — is actually the witch from Brave. You know, the witch who transformed Brave‘s villain Mor’du from a prince to a bear.
“She probably wanted to turn him into a bear because [Sulley] resembles a bear, and she is still trying to figure out where [Sulley] comes from,” Negroni explained. As outlandish as it may sound, there seem to be a couple of Easter Eggs hidden throughout Toy Story 4 that will make the hearts of Pixar Theory believers soar.
During Bonnie’s first day of Kindergarten, an out-of-focus Boo seemingly sits just a few tables away — but the more obvious egg comes in the form of Bunny, one of the stuffed prizes Buzz meets at the carnival. As EW notes, the fuzzy, floppy-eared, blue-and-green Bunny bears a striking resemblance to Sulley the monster. Here’s hoping Boo’s family makes a trip to the carnival!
One creepy carnival ride
As we briefly mentioned earlier, Sid, the kid-villain from the first Toy Story movie, has long haunted our dreams — thanks in no small part to his many terrifying, mutant toy-creations. One of Sid’s most memorable experiments was called Babyface, but don’t let the cutesy name fool you. As any person who’s seen the original Toy Story flick knows, the scary spider-baby-thing was pure nightmare fuel. The leader of Sid’s group of misfits, Babyface was created using the head of Sid’s little sister’s baby doll, which the troubled bully screwed atop an arachnid-like body made from a toy construction set. In one fell swoop, Babyface managed to combine two of the general public’s greatest fears — spiders, and creepy, sentient dolls.
While the creative minds behind Toy Story 4 paid homage to Babyface, they did so in a far less horrifying way — and for that, we thank them. If you look closely during the flick’s many carnival scenes, you’ll be able to spot a type of orbiter amusement ride whose spider-like legs and large, round center are obvious nods to Sid’s magnum opus.
All the celebrity cameos
It’s no secret that the fourth installment in the Toy Story franchise was voiced by some of your favorite celebrities. Of course, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen returned to give life to everyone’s favorite plastic heroes — Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Annie Potts (also famous for her role as Ghostbusters secretary, Janine) once again lent her vocal talent to a stronger-than-ever Bo Peep, and Joan Cusack returned to voice Jessie — the new sheriff in town. However, Toy Story 4 contains so many surprise celebrity cameos that even the most knowledgeable pop culture-head is bound to miss a few.
Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael-Key’s voices are unmistakable as Bunny and Ducky, but Keanu Reeves is less noticeable as the hilarious Canadian stuntman toy, Duke Kaboom. You’ll also likely not recognize the voice of Duke Kaboom’s TV announcer, which comes courtesy of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea. Stay for the end credits, and you’ll notice that a handful of some of the most celebrated performers of our time also lent their vocal talents to the film. Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, and Betty White voiced the aptly-named Melephant Brooks, Chairol Burnett, and Bitey White, respectively.
Bo Peep's new look
When Toy Story 3 was released in June 2010, fans were appalled to see Bo Peep (and her beloved sheep, Billy, Goat, and Gruff) had seemingly been erased. Fortunately, the fourth installment of the franchise made it up to fans in a major way by putting Bo and her journey to be more than just a toy collecting dust on a shelf front-and-center. In a press conference (via The National), director Josh Cooley revealed, “Having Bo come back was the genesis of this film. We even called the movie ‘Peep,” which was our code name.”
The fan favorite’s return was announced in January 2019 with a short video of Bo startling Buzz and Woody by bursting through a wall behind them, wielding her trademark crook. However, much to the surprise (and delight) of fans, her signature pink dress and bonnet were nowhere to be found. Instead, the new-and-improved Bo sports a baby-blue jumpsuit with ruffled accents and cap sleeves, along with a pink sash tied around her waist. If you found yourself wishing you, too, could sport Bo’s new look — we have good news. ShopDisney.com has the entire look available for just $168.
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