Toy Story 4: Two new Randy Newman songs, cast, release date and more
Everything you need to know about the best, and lovingly-soundtracked, toys in town.
Jennifer BissetFormer Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Nine years after Toy Story 3 seemingly delivered the perfect poignant goodbye to Woody and Buzz -- we're back.
have found a new story deemed worthy of unpacking the beloved characters. Put another way, this 24-year-old series returns to tell a story... about a spork.
Below is everything we know about Toy Story 4 which, to be fair, radiates Pixar's wholesome warmth. We've also included reminders of what happened in the previous trilogy, in case time has blurred those adorable childhood adventures.
You've got a friend in Randy Newman
He's back! The man behind multiple Pixar scores as well as one of the most touching ballads between kids and their toys brings us two brand-new songs. They're ominously titled, "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" and "The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy," and you can already get a taste of the latter and its performer, Chris Stapleton, on Spotify. Despite the seemingly glum sentiment, it's fairly upbeat. One of the lyrics: "I just found out... what love is about," is a stick-in-your-head winner. Meanwhile, "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" is about trying to stop Forky the spork from throwing himself into the great bin in the sky. Poor guy.
This may be minor as tidbits go, but could signal greater things for how well this animated film does. On Thursday, Fandango announced that Toy Story 4 had beaten the record for best first day presales for an animated title, outshining last year's Incredibles 2.
As Disney's Twitter account tells us, we can now buy tickets (nearly a month early) to see Toy Story 4 when it arrives in cinemas June 21. Don't let kids with internet access beat you to the best seats!
A very Forky clip
If you're hesitating over early tickets, maybe watch this brand-new clip that highlights the perils of toy confiscation and introduces Bonnie's new friend, Forky. He's a spork, in case that wasn't clear.
Trailers, themes and plot
The official Toy Story 4 trailer plonks us right back in Bonnie's bedroom, Bonnie being that kid Andy donates Woody and Buzz to at the end of Toy Story 3. After spending a second remembering just how much joy animated characters can bring, we're introduced to an entirely new toy: a plastic piece of cutlery known as Forky.
Forky is Bonnie's self-made arts and craft creature built of spork, pipe cleaner and googly eyes. In a brief moment, we see Bonnie sitting alone at a school table, suggesting she's having a hard time making friends. But not a hard time connecting with cutlery.
Watch this: Toy Story 4 trailer shows Woody and Bo Peep's long-awaited reunion
Understandably, Forky's undergoing an identity crisis: he was made for soups after all. It's up to the gang to rescue the utensil, who hits the road on a journey that will undoubtedly jump us with a profound reflection on growing up.
Along the way, Woody finds his love Bo Peep in an antiques shop fending off, naturally, a hoard of ventriloquist dummies. A changed Bo, with a new under-the-cover-of-night caped persona, talks up the value of change and introduces Woody to the world of a carnival.
Unfortunately, the trailer doesn't answer the question of whether Totoro comes back. We will all, I am sure, be waiting with bated breath for the adorable mute's return.
The second trailer drops a plot bombshell: Bonnie and her family are taking a vacation. In a caravan. Still fun! Forky doesn't help himself by getting swept out the open window, another opportunity for a gang rescue exercise. On a deeper note, Woody has come a long way since the egotistical cowboy of the first film, putting himself on the line to rescue a slightly questionable toy he knows makes his kid happy. That's character development, Game of Thrones!
Watch this: Toy Story 4 trailer shows Woody on a big road trip
Teaser trailer, teaser trailer reaction, Big Game ad, TVspots: meet the many promotional videos for this film. Their most significant contribution is an intro to Ducky and Bunny, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. They're soft and cuddly carnival prizes who try to pick a fight with Buzz. See who fares better in that tiff. Also see Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, aka Keanu Reeves in 3D-animated form. Canada's best stunt rider has a handle-bar mustache and undertakes awesome leaps of faith, metaphorical and otherwise.
Toy Story 4 will spring to life June 21, at a perfect kid-friendly runtime of 89 minutes (though it would be no surprise if 99% of each screening is filled with adults).
While the first two Toy Stories were directed by Pixar stalwart John Lassater, Lee Unkrich took over for the third (he co-directed the second), and now the baton passes to Josh Cooley in his feature directorial debut. He brings a wealth of experience as a storyboard artist on The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Up and Inside Out. Note that John Lassater also helps out with Toy Story 4's storyline, and that the original Toy Story was Lassater's feature directorial debut. In other words, we're in safe hands.
With new toys joining the original, there's a lot of voice work going around:
If it came as a surprise to you to hear Toy Story was coming back for a fourth time -- followed by the surprise it would tell a story about a spork -- director Cooley shared the same sentiment.
"It was the end of Woody's story with Andy. But just like in life, every ending is a new beginning," he said in a press release last November.
"Woody now being in a new room, with new toys, and a new kid, was something we have never seen before. The questions of what that would be like became the beginning of an entertaining story worth exploring."
Tom Hanks, who's voiced Woody since 1995, assured us Toy Story 4 will have a huge payoff -- and not just on the money side.
Tim Allen, who's also been there right from the beginning as Buzz, chose one of the biggest films around to sum up the impact of Toy Story 4.
"[Infinity War] didn't seem like it was going to work … and it was a lot of vignettes that all made sense," Allen said in an interview on CBS's The Talk last September. (Disclosure: CBS is CNET's parent company.) "This Toy Story 4, it is so emotional, it's so funny, it's so big, the idea of what they've come up with."
Any opportunity to form a connection with a film about toys, spork or otherwise -- I'm there.