It’s crazy to think that Woody, Buzz and the rest of the Toy Story crew have been with us for more than 25 years now. Kids who enjoyed the original movies are now grown adults with their own kids and a new generation of young ones have been treated to stories about these iconic characters for years. It’s truly a remarkable run that, after a nine-year hiatus, got another story in 2019 with the fourth installment. But will there be a Toy Story 5?
Toy Story 3, seemed like something of a culmination of the characters’ arcs, seeing the gang move on from Andy and into Bonnie’s house. But the Pixar crew still had more stories in the well, coming out with Toy Story 4 which left us a (mostly) parting shot of Woody and Bo Peep leaving to live in a world where they didn’t need to have kid owners. So, in a lot of ways that felt like an additional bow-tying. Tom Hanks said as much, alluding to the idea that the final goodbye for the series wasn’t between Woody and Andy, but rather between Woody and Buzz.
But we’ve seen that with this group there is always more to explore and it’s lead to speculation over whether Toy Story 5 could be in the works. Tim Allen hinted at it about a year ago with, “If you ask me, I’d say do five…”
And producers Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera went out of their way to leave the door open for another film in the series, both nodding to the idea that previous iterations seemed like good endings before, and weren’t.
Toy Story Spin Offs
The studio is also still slowly developing independent projects around some of the side characters. On Disney+ Forky got his own spin-off series of shorts called Forky Asks a Question:… in which he deals with various issues through the lens of a plastic fork who doesn’t quite understand the bigger world.
Plus, Bo Peep “starred” in her own short film on the new platform earlier this year with “Lamp Life”. This helped fill in some of the gaps in timing around her character following the second movie in the series. While not a monster splash, it speaks to Pixar and Disney’s commitment to keeping the characters at least moderately relevant. nodding to the idea that even the newer Toy Story characters have staying power.
Meanwhile, a much bigger project is coming in a spinoff feature film centered on Buzz Lightyear. Chris Evans will be voicing the character. Pixar announced the project in December 2020 via Twitter. Lightyear is expected to release June 17, 2022.
What It Will Take To Make Toy Story 5
One would assume, even with an uncertain landscape around movies and theater revenues in our current climate, that money isn’t all that big of an issue. Toy Story 4 was the franchise’s best-performing movie in the series, earning nearly $1.1 billion (that’s with a “B”) in worldwide box office revenues. Coupled with additional merchandising opportunities and you’d be hard-pressed to think another film in the series would be anything short of another financial windfall for the studio.
Presumably, the future of Toy Story 5 would rest almost solely in the hands of John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton. Though there have been numerous writers over the years for this franchise including Joss Whedon for the original and Josh Cooley for the fourth one, Lasseter and Stanton have been the mainstays throughout. Whether it’s been the former directing or the latter helping pen number four, together they’ve been involved in some capacity with each and every movie. It stands to reason that Toy Story 5 wouldn’t happen without both being on board and fully committed.
For Toy Story 4, that took nine years with the Toy Story 3 releasing in 2010 and the next not hitting screens until 2019. From that standpoint, it’s unrealistic to ever fully rule out another movie because we’ve seen Pixar having no issue with protracted timelines around the sequels.
Toy Story 5 Returning Cast
Who will come back if Pixar decides to make Toy Story 5? It sounds like Tony Hale is in. He voiced the breakout character Forky in Toy Story 4 and when Yahoo asked him if he’d do Toy Story 5 he had this to say…
“Here’s the deal, if Pixar ever calls… you always just say yes. Those decisions are for other people to make, but I’m always more than willing to be around that environment again because it was so inspiring. I love it.“– -Tony Hale
Where Things Stand Now
So where do we stand with Toy Story 5? The short answer is, in a holding pattern. As stated, nothing even close to official has been mentioned. But there are just enough winks and nods from guys like Hanks and Allen, some dribs and drabs coming in through characters on Disney+, and producers purposefully keeping the door open. It would seem like the smart money is on us getting another chapter in the story, though the bet would have to be a long-term one because it’s also clear that no one is in a particular hurry around a new film.
That’s the great thing about the Toy Story characters. Toys are timeless and, in some ways, ageless. Decades could pass and a new Toy Story movie could play just as well as something that came out tomorrow. Toy Story 5 may happen, probably will happen, it just won’t be soon.