Toy Story 4: A Welcome Return
by Sam Brigham on Friday, December 5th, 2014
Believe it or not, there will be a fourth Toy Story. On November 6th, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced that plans are underway to bring Toy Story 4 to the big screen. However, don’t get too excited; the estimated release date is June 16th, 2017. The fourth installment of the family classic, revolving around cowboy Woody, spaceman Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the talking toys is still in its infancy stage, but will eventually arrive at a theater near you.
Not too much is known about the movie so early in its production, but some information has been released. In an interview with the LA Times, director John Lasseter stated that Toy Story 4’s plotline will pick up right where the previous installment left off: Woody, Buzz, and the rest of Andy’s toys living happily with his neighbor Bonnie and her own toys. Lasseter also uncovered that the plot will focus on a love story, but whether that love be the blossoming of the pre-existent love between Buzz and Jessie, a love-triangle with an added character, or something else entirely, remains to be seen. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will almost certainly be returning as the voices of Woody and Buzz, respectively. Rumors of a new female voice crucial to the plot have also circulated. As long as the old crew is still together, it’s hard to imagine a new addition changing the series in an overly negative way.
There has been some controversy regarding the announcement of another Toy Story, which is to be released a whopping 22 years after the original movie’s debut in 1995. Responses by fans of the series were quick, fierce, and decidedly divided. Although many longtime fans jumped for joy at the thought of a new adventure with the beloved toy team, countless others oppose the idea of another movie. Many thought that Pixar had created a perfect trilogy and reached a good stopping point after Toy Story 3’s release in 2010. These purists think that Pixar is simply trying to make money and does not care about preserving the quality of the Toy Story franchise. We can’t blame them, given that the first three films grossed nearly two billion dollars combined, making the Toy Story series the third highest-grossing animated film franchise of all time. Still, Lasseter claims that he makes sequels “[out of] pure passion” and that he will make a sequel with only “a story that’s as good as or better than the original.” Furthermore, Toy Story 4 won’t be the first continuation of the trilogy. The Toy Story Toons shorts, attached to the ends of other Pixar films released since 2010, have continued the story of the talking toys following the conclusion of the third movie.
As with any other film series, the writers for Toy Story will have to come up with new material for an additional movie, but reports indicate that the fourth installment will stay true to its roots, continuing the story as opposed to radically altering the nature of the film or backtracking to a prequel. Whether or not the movie lives up to the expectations of fans whose interest spans generations, it will almost certainly gain a lot of attention, entertain a lot of people, and, of course, make a lot of money.
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