Toy Story 5


Could a Toy Story 5 be in the works? It’s crazy to think that Woody, Buzz Lightyear 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 5 HAS BEEN CONFIRMED

Toy Story 5

In something of a surprise move it was announced in February  2023 that Toy Story 5 would be on the way. It came via Bob Iger who had taken over the reins at the Mouse House once again. This movie had been bandied about though it seemed unlikely to happen considering the way things had left off with the fourth installment. 

That being said, it looks like they are getting at least part of the Toy band back together for one last (right?) rodeo. It’s unclear the timing on when it will happen, but it is definitely in the works.

TIM ALLEN WOULD LIKE TO RETURN TO 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. 

THE PLOT ISN’T KNOWN CONSIDERING HOW THE LAST ONE ENDED

That seems to be the main question and major concern for a fifth Toy Story. Many fans were quick to point out the perfect ending that was Toy Story 3. The third Toy Story came back in 2010 and ended with the tear-jerking scene of Andy heading off to college.

Before he left, though, Andy handed down his toys, including his two favorites, Woody and Buzz, to a new kid Bonnie. Of course, this transition didn’t happen until Andy got one last playtime in with Woody and Buzz. It was emotional and such a great ending – until it wasn’t.

Nine years later, in 2019, Disney decided to return to the Toy Story universe with Toy Story 4. Although the film was a winner in all respects (it cleared $1 billion at the box office), the complaint of the film held a common theme, that being the fourth film ruined the sweet, sad, emotionally charged ending to Toy Story 3.

You can’t blame those who put together Toy Story 4 for going after that highly emotional punch they were able to deliver with the third film, as in this one we saw Woody and Bo Peep heading off into the sunset with a group of toys who were looking for kids to own them while Buzz and the rest of the toys went back home with Bonnie.

It was the separation of Buzz and Woody, for what appeared to be the final time, that brought out the heartstring-tugging. So, two definitive and emotional endings with the last two films, what more can be said about Woody and Buzz? Does the Mouse House even know at this point?

THE TOY STORY 5 DIRECTOR HAS NOT BEEN DECIDED

Unfortunately, we are way too early into the Toy Story 5 game to know who will be running the ship. The first two Toy Story films were directed by John Lasseter and were released within a four-year window by Pixar (1995 and 1999).

The third Toy Story became the first in which Lasseter did not direct, that role was filled by Lee Unkrich, who was very familiar with the process, having edited the first film and co-directed the second. Lasseter did remain involved with the third story, as he stayed on as the film’s executive producer.

Toy Story 4 came about nine years later and although Lasseter was involved, it was only for a short time, as he stepped away from his CCO position at both the Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios to eventually take over in the same role at Skydance Animation.

The reasons for Lasseter’s departure from Disney centered on accusations of sexual misconduct, to which Lasseter first took a six-month leave of absence from Disney after confirming that his “missteps” were, in fact, true.

The misconduct he admitted to included “grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes.” And his actions were so well-known at this point that Pixar even had to have “minders” to keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t give in to those impulses. Upon his hiring at Skydance, Lasseter released a statement, via The Hollywood Reporter, discussing his past actions.

“I’m grateful to David and the Skydance team and know that I have been entrusted with an enormous responsibility. It is a distinct privilege that I will relish. I have spent the last year away from the industry in deep reflection, learning how my actions unintentionally made colleagues uncomfortable, which I deeply regret and apologize for. It has been humbling, but I believe it will make me a better leader.”

He continued, “I want nothing more than the opportunity to return to my creative and entrepreneurial roots, to build and invent again. I join Skydance with the same enthusiasm that drove me to help build Pixar, with a firm desire to tell original and diverse stories for audiences everywhere. With what I have learned and how I have grown in the past year, I am resolute in my commitment to build an animation studio upon a foundation of quality, safety, trust, and mutual respect.”

With all of that said, Iger’s announcement did not include those who would be in charge of making Toy Story 5 a profitable adventure for Disney and Pixar. Although many felt Toy Story 4 was unnecessary and these same people feel a Toy Story 5 film is also unnecessary, one can’t blame Disney for going back to the well for a fifth time.

The total budget for all four movies combined sits near $720 million, which may sound expensive for four animated features (it is), but with a return of nearly $3.5 billion at the box office, it seems like money well spent.

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR REBOOTS THE FRANCHISE, SORT OF

chris evans lightyear trailer pixar

While as of February 2022 there was still no official green light for a Toy Story 5, the trailer for the biggest Toy Story spinoff yet — Lightyear — dropped and it showed a new path for these characters. With David Bowie’s “Starman” playing, we get to see the first extended footage from the upcoming animated film, due for release on June 22, 2022. You can watch the trailer below.

But at the theaters, Lightyear failed to perform totally up to Pixar expectations. On a $200 million budget, the movie earned *only* $226 million in sales. For a seeming blockbuster flick, this is a moderate disaster.

It scored fine enough with critics, hitting 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the film just didn’t find an audience. It’s unclear how this impacts the future of the franchise.

BO PEEP AND FORKY ALSO STARRED IN SPIN-OFFS

Forky Toy Story 5

Though the fate of Toy Story 5 is uncertain, 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. 

Toy Story 5

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. 

PIXAR IS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT AFTER JOHN LASSETER’S DEPARTURE

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 have 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 had been the mainstays throughout the first trilogy.

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. 

But Lasseter left Pixar in 2018 under inauspicious circumstances and did not lead the last film through its release. It’s unclear if the new regime has an appetite for a different story.

TONY HALE WOULD LIKE TO RETURN TO TOY STORY 5

Forky Toy Story 5

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

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