By Laura Prudom
This ending explained contains full spoilers for Toy Story 4.
Toy Story 3 seemed like a perfect ending for Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang. Andy went off to college, but he left his beloved toys in the gentle hands of pre-schooler Bonnie, implying that his toys had many years of playtime left ahead of them.
Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley admitted that when it came to approaching a fourth installment, “We had the same questions everybody else has right now: ‘I thought you guys were done.’ … We love the end of Toy Story 3, and feel like that’s the completion of Woody and Andy’s story. But there was more Woody story to tell.”
Ending Woody’s Story
Toy Story 4 sees Woody struggling to fit in among Bonnie’s toys and pining for Andy like any empty-nester would; he can’t help comparing his new owner to his previous kid, and soon realizes that Bonnie doesn’t seem to need him the way Andy did. (More often than not, Woody ends up left in the closet while Bonnie plays with Buzz, Jessie, and his other friends). Still, that doesn’t stop him from putting Bonnie’s happiness above anything else – so when her new favorite toy, Forky, attempts to escape, Woody considers it his responsibility to bring Forky home and make him feel like a member of the family.
But along the way, Woody encounters his lost love, Bo Peep, who ended up in an antique shop after being given away by Andy’s mom several years ago. Rather than wasting her years gathering dust on a shelf, Bo decided to embrace the life of a lost toy and all the independence it brought – like seeing the world by traveling from town to town with a carnival.
We learn in Toy Story 4 that Woody had the opportunity to go with Bo when she left Andy’s house, but he chose to put his own feelings aside because Andy still needed him. But now that Bonnie has moved on too, Woody realizes that he has a chance to follow his dreams of being with Bo and seeing the world. So when he’s offered the chance to return to the life he knew with Bonnie and his friends, or embark on a new adventure with Bo, he finally puts his own desires ahead of his owner’s. He says a heartfelt goodbye to Buzz, Jessie, Slinky, Rex, Forky, and the rest of Andy’s toys, and walks off into the sunset with Bo.
Is Toy Story 4 Really the Last Movie?
According to the producers, yes – at least for Woody. “We see Toy Story 3 as the end of Woody’s time with Andy, and we really see this as the completion of Woody’s arc and the story of Buzz and Woody,” said Toy Story 4 producer Mark Nielsen.
Producer Jonas Rivera added that at least right now, the team behind the film considers Toy Story 4 to be the last Toy Story movie. “This was the final chapter. And as filmmakers, to be honest, we feel satisfied that this is where you can end it.”
And star Tom Hanks certainly seems convinced that Toy Story 4 is the end of his time as Woody.
“When we ended up recording the very last line, I had to come to [the] realization – it was like ‘oh, is that the last line?’ They all said ‘that’s it.’ And we were back in the original studio, Stage B. Doc, who was the mixer [on the original Toy Story] was through the glass. That’s where it all began, and that’s where it was all ending,” Hanks recalled during the Toy Story 4 press conference. “The sessions before that, Tim [Allen] had texted me in that kind of way: ‘Hold on yourself. You’re not going to believe it. Still recovering.’ And so, knowing that we were going to be in this territory… Usually, you have the stand and the mic and they’re all at a table in front of you. I asked if we could turn it around so my back was to them, because I didn’t want to have any self-consciousness for what I knew was going to be the last time… And 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. It was pretty profound.”
But Could There Be a Toy Story 5?
Still, the producers pointed out that they also thought that Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 were the end of the franchise after those movies. “There’s an implied future to all these films and we never say never at Pixar,” Rivera said. “But as storytellers, we’re satisfied with this as the closing of the chapter.”
In the video above, Tim Allen told IGN that he tried to pitch an alternate ending for Toy Story 4 after struggling to get through the last scene, but the producers were determined to end with some closure: “I didn’t like it; I immediately pitched them an Easter egg and I came up with just a little bit that would suggest ‘there’s a way out of this,’ and they liked it, and they liked it, and they said ‘we’re not gonna go that way,'” he admitted.
Still, the Toy Story 4 post-credits scenes give a sense that even if we’re not following these toys anymore, their adventures will continue, with Buzz and Jessie seeming to take more of a leadership role in Bonnie’s room; Forky getting a new handmade companion who is made from a knife instead of a spork; and Bo, Woody, Ducky, and Bunny helping the toy prizes at the carnival find loving new homes.
But even if we don’t get an official Toy Story 5, we’ll at least get to see Forky again as the star of a new Disney+ series called Forky Asks a Question – which could perhaps feature cameos from some of Bonnie’s other toys.
What did you think of Toy Story 4’s emotional ending? Do you think it’s a good end for Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang, or would you still like to see a Toy Story 5? Weigh in below, and for more from Toy Story 4, check out Forky himself, Tony Hale, responding to IGN Comments: