Our first look at “Toy Story 4” is finally here, and while the movie is set to mark the end of the beloved franchise, it may also be the untimely end for many of the characters we’ve grown to love.
The 1:26 long teaser, released Monday morning by Disney, kicks off innocently enough with an upbeat tune and a close up of Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the gang. But then, the debut of a possible new character, made of a spork and pipe cleaners, freaks out while screaming, “I’m not a toy,” and messes up the happy dance circle.
On the surface, it’s fine. But delving deep into the inner layers of a Pixar feature may reveal a darker theme. First, the song is Joni Mitchell‘s famous tune, “Both Sides, Now,” which addresses embracing change as one gets older and enjoying the rise but also preparing for the eventual fallout. The main point is, growing old ain’t easy.
The last we saw the toys they had been dropped off with Bonnie, Andys’ neighbor who took over ownership when he went off to college. The debut of a new character who echoes the feelings some of the toys, like Lightyear had, in the beginning of the franchise could serve as symbolism that not everyone signed on to just being a toy for the rest of their existence.
Finally, there is the knowledge not provided in the teaser, that the main stars could barely get through production. Both Tim Allen and Tom Hanks spoke on the difficulties of wrapping up the franchise. Allen revealed he could barely get through his last scene, and Hanks has said that he could not face the producers and writers when voicing the last words of Woody because it was so emotional.
During the last recording, he said, “When I realized what they were going for, I realized, ‘Oh, this is a moment in history.'”
The movie won’t be released until June 2019, so luckily we will have lots of time to start walling up our emotional defenses and saying goodbye to that last bit of childhood.