Warning! Plot SPOILERS ahead for Toy Story 4!
Disney screened the first seventeen minutes of Toy Story 4 at CinemaCon on Wednesday, a sequence that showed legacy characters separated and new ones introduced.
The prologue takes place nine years before the events of the main narrative and recounts how Bo Peep ended up separated from the gang during the events of Toy Story 3.
It’s a proverbially dark and stormy night when the toys stage a rescue mission to save RC. The toy car has been left outside in the rain and is about to get washed away when its fellow toys comes to its aid. Forming a human, er, toy chain, Woody is lowered down from a window in Molly’s room and rescues RC just in time. But they’re not out of danger yet.
As Woody, RC, and Slinky are being brought back up, Andy and Molly’s parents come in the room and close the window. The parents have also scooped up several toys to be given away.
There’s a box left by the hatch of the car in the driveway. Woody finds Bo inside it and wants to break her out but she says that she’s not one of Andy’s toys, she’s one of Molly’s, and that being given away or accidentally separated is just one of the many fates toys must face. Bo and Woody have a tender goodbye in the rain, with Woody left sprawled in the driveway as the car drives away and Andy comes down to retrieve him.
The movie then shifts to the opening credits where Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” plays over a montage catching the audience up on what happened in Toy Story 3 and afterward. In the present, Woody is struggling with being an older toy whose current owner, Bonnie, is no longer choosing to play with him. He’s been left in the closet so long he’s collected a dust bunny.
Woody is in a bit of denial over his current status and endeavors to make sure he plays a role in Bonnie’s life. Bonnie is off to kindergarten orientation and Woody sees this as his chance even though her parents don’t want her bringing any toys to school. Woody nevertheless stows away in her backpack and proceeds to witness her first time ever at school.
Over the course of her arts and crafts lesson, Bonnie proceeds to make something very special from some of the items of hers that Woody retrieved from the trash. With glue, a spork, some ties, a crayon, and buttons, Bonnie fashions herself … Forky.
Woody doesn’t even realize Forky is sentient until they’re on their way home. Once there, Woody introduces the toys to Forky and says it’s their mission to make sure Bonnie adjusts to kindergarten and that her beloved new creation Forky is the key to accomplishing that. Forky, though, is having an identity crisis adjusting to his new life.
This is where the seemingly existential journey at the heart of Toy Story 4 truly begins. Woody is clearly struggling with his place in the world — what good is he as a toy if he’s not to be played with or to help a child? — while Forky is almost like Pixar’s answer to Frankenstein’s creature. Cobbled together from remnants and given new life but for what purpose?
And like that horror icon, Forky begins as mostly monosyllabic before developing self-awareness and better speech. At first, Forky says mostly just “trash” — his place of origin — and panics at being among the toys. It seems like both Woody and Forky will have to find purpose in why they exist and to embrace change in their lives.
For more coverage of Disney’s CinemaCon presentation, check out our breakdowns of the Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, and The Lion King footage shown.
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