Toy Story: All you need to know about the classic franchise before film number four is released


THEY’RE the most beloved playthings in the world – but do you really know the Toy Story, er, story?

Everyone thinks the first film was an instant success. In fact, maker Pixar had to ditch the original plot.

�Walt Disney Studios/ Supplied by LMK

Toy Story 4 is out in cinemas on June 21[/caption]

Then director John Lasseter changed course and it became the box office hit of 1995.

Toy Story 4 premiered in London last night and opens on Friday. Grant Rollings has all you need to know about the franchise . . .

Woody the baddie

Disney closed down production of the first draft of Toy Story, which had Woody as a “baddie” ventriloquist’s dummy.

Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg wanted the film to be edgy, but the writers had turned Woody into a “sarcastic jerk”.

The character was not always the lovable cowboy he became

Then director John Lasseter decided to make Tom Hanks’s character the loveable heart of the story.

Hanks, Tim Allen, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Debi Derryberry, Jeff Pidgeon and Frank Welker are the only cast members to have been in all four of the films.

R.I.P Potato Head

Four Toy Story voice actors have died over the past couple of years, including the man behind the much loved Mr Potato Head.

Don Rickles was 90 when he passed away in April 2017, before he had the chance to record his parts for Toy Story 4.

Camera Press

Don Rickles, the voice of Potato Head, died in April 2017[/caption]

The American comic’s family asked if Pixar could use old recordings so that he could still be in the film. And that’s what director Josh Cooley did.

He said: “We went through 25 years of everything we didn’t use for Toy Story 1, 2, 3, the theme parks, the ice capades, the video games – everything that he’s recorded for Mr Potato Head. And we were able to do that.

“I’m very honoured that they asked us to do it, and I’m very honoured that he’s in the film. Nobody can replace him.”

In the same year John Cygan, who was the voice of Twitch in Toy Story 3, died.

Then in 2018 R. Lee Ermey, who was the voice of Sarge from the first three films, died and was followed to the great studio in the sky by Bud Luckey, who voiced Chuckles the clown.

Another film?

Most fans assumed that Toy Story 3 was going to be the last outing for Buzz and Woody when it was released nine years ago.

But when the original team came up with the idea of the toys’ owner, Bonnie, creating a plaything out of a fork they developed the script.


Tom Hanks poses with Toy Story characters during the Toy Story 4 Premiere at Odeon in Leicester Square[/caption]

In the movie Woody tries to persuade the plastic fork, called Forky, that he’s not “trash”. New toys found in an antique store include stuntman Duke Caboom and doll Gabby Gabby.

Will there be a Toy Story 5? They’ll have to recover from this one first – Tom Hanks and Tim Allen struggled with final scenes because they were so emotional.

The musical?

With Disney putting the money into the original Toy Story project, its bosses had a significant say in what happened.

But Pixar wasn’t singing from the same hymn sheet when it came to the idea of turning Toy Story into a musical.


US musician Randy Newman arrives for the world premiere of Toy Story 4 in Hollywood[/caption]

Singer-songwriter Randy Newman, pictured, wrote the megahit song You’ve Got A Friend in Me for the first film in 1995.

But remarkably it could have been Bob Dylan providing a theme tune.

Apple boss Steve Jobs – an executive producer of the first film – said he wanted the singing legend’s input.

They called it what?

Once up a time the film was not called Toy Story – it was titled You Are A Toy.

There was also a lot of back and forth between Pixar and their financial backers, Disney, about how toy-centric the film should be.

The franchise was originally titled You Are A Toy

Disney’s scriptwriters kept trying to put in more human characters, but after Joss Whedon was added to the scriptwriting team that idea was pushed away.

Joss went on to direct the first two hit Avengers movies.

Original Buzz

Before spaceman Buzz got lift-off the heroic lead character went through many rewrites – beginning life as an old-fashioned toy called Tinny.

Then he was imagined as a six-inch astronaut called Lunar Larry, right, then Tempus from Morph.

Early concept art for Lunar Larry

In the original design, the character was in a red suit, until Lasseter chose green and purple because they were his and his wife’s favourite colours.

Buzz also grew from six to ten inches.

Before Tim Allen got the voice job, comedians Chevy Chase and Billy Crystal both turned down the role.

Gabby Gabby

Rescued from an antique store, Gabby Gabby is a 1950s talking doll voiced by Christina Hendricks in Toy Story 4.

The Mad Men star says: “I always wanted a ventriloquist doll but my parents would never get me one.

Gabby Gabby is a new character in Toy Story 4

“When they showed me the animation I said, ‘This is blowing my mind. This doll has red hair, blue eyes and hangs out with ventriloquist dolls – it’s like she is me’.”

Duke Caboom

Voiced by Keanu Reeves, stunt cyclist Duke Caboom is a new character with a terrible secret – he couldn’t perform the trick promised in the advert for his toy.

Keanu says: “Duke is a showman and a daredevil – he has to perform. It was great to express my inner Duke Caboom.”

Duke Caboom is voiced by the incredible Keanu Reeves

A YouTube video of Keanu voicing Duke had last night been watched nearly 50,000 times.


The new character (voiced by Tony Hale) is a fork who insists he is not a toy.

The utensil – which was called Fork Face before the writers realised it was too risque – was transformed into a plaything when Bonnie in the film added pipe cleaners, a clay base and googly eyes.

©Walt Disney Studios/ Supplied by LMK

Forky is another new character who joins our old friends in Toy Story 4[/caption]

Comedian Tony , from the TV show Veep, said: “He was described as kind of neurotic. And gullible to a fault.”

Ducky & Bunny

Voiced by Keegan-Michael Key (Ducky) and Jordan Peele (Bunny), the pair are cheap fairground prizes who have spent their whole lives stuck to a wall.

Jordan loved working with his old friend Keegan again, saying: “We immediately began feeding off each other and improvising.

�Walt Disney Studios/ Supplied by LMK

There was 1,247 animators who worked on Toy Story 4[/caption]

It was inspiring, and a relief, to realise we are the characters, as opposed to us doing the characters.”

Giggle McDimples

This new tiny doll is small enough to perch on the shoulder of her best friend Bo Peep.

Voiced by Ally Maki, she is the smallest character in Toy Story.

�Walt Disney Studios/ Supplied by LMK

The sweet new toy Giggle McDimples is the smallest toy in the movies[/caption]

Ally, from the TV series Wrecked, says: “I have two older brothers, I’m the only girl. I spent my childhood getting hockey pucks shot at me.

“I think I bring a lot of that little-sister energy to the role.”


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