Warning: Mild Toy Story 4 spoilers are ahead.
Even though it closed on a pretty final note — with Any giving away his beloved childhood toys including Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear — Toy Story 3 is not actually the final Toy Story movie. That title might end up going to Toy Story 4, which closes out the story of these toys again, this time in a maybe more defined way. But, is it actually the last time we’ll see Woody and Buzz together on screen? Maybe. Also, maybe not.
Pixar has been very coy talking about the future of the Toy Story franchise leading up to the fourth film, and seems to be leaving room for more should there be more. The studio operates on the idea that “story is king,” and if another good story about the Toy Story characters comes along, they’ll pursue it and maybe turn it into a feature. Speaking to reporters during an early Toy Story 4 press day, producer Mark Nielsen explained, “Every film we make, we treat it like it’s the first and the last film we’re ever going to make. So you force yourself to make it hold up. You don’t get in over your skis. Whether there’s another one? I don’t know. If there is, it’s tomorrow’s problem.”
The door might still be open for possible sequels, but it honestly sounds like one star is very much done with his time in the tox box. Here’s a possible spoiler depending on how you read it, but during the Toy Story 4 press conference, Tom Hanks sounded pretty confident that he had just recorded his last lines as Woody.
Talking to the crowd, Hanks referenced his final time reading for Woody, explaining, “When it came to pass, I felt as though I was on the other side of a river waving to everybody that I had left back in the old country … You get in your car [and you leave] and you get back through and you think I have recorded the last moment of the current Toy Story.”
Knowing this would be a major focal point of the Toy Story 4 press tour, the voice actors were actually given talking points to reference when asked about this, something with Hanks has been having fun playing up. During the press conference, he pulled out these notes, reading to the audience exactly what he’s supposed to say about the future, which is, “Toy Story 4 is about Woody’s journey into the world outside the comfort of Bonnie’s playroom. And all the possibility that holds for a toy.’ So just take that and extrapolate it as far as you want to and we’ll see what goes on. And thank you Disney Vertical Integration department, so I’m aware of what I’m supposed to say here.”
When Tim Allen took to the stage in the press conference, he actually started by declaring, “It’s good that we wrote Tom [Hanks] out. He’s out. It’s a big surprise. But thank god Woody is finally out of the movie, huh everybody? We said sayonara to the cowboy.” Which, for starters, rude, Tim Allen. And second, this suggests that Woody might be gone but Buzz lives to play another day.
For those worried that we’re actually bidding adieu to these characters we’ve known for the past 25 years, don’t be. Everyone’s new favorite spork, Forky, is getting his own series on Disney+ called Forky Asks A Question where Forky asks — what else? — a question. Also considering the big personalities of Ducky and Bunny (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), it’s only a matter of time they get their own stand-alone something, whether a short or feature or Disney+ series, who knows (that just rests on Key and Peele, who are incredibly in demand right now).
While this could conceivable by the last Toy Story movie, for now, it’ll never be the last time we see these characters on the big or small screen.