Few franchises have stopped and started again as many times as Pixar's iconic Toy Story. With a 10-year gap between the second and third movies followed by another nine years before the fourth installment, fans have thought the award-winning animated series was over more than once.
Toy Story 4 left everyone's favorite toys on a heart-wrenching bittersweet note as Woody rode off into the sunset with Bo Peep and her sheep. The flick was followed by a series of Disney+ shorts starring the franchise's newest icon Forky as well as a big-screen Buzz Lightyear spin-off.
But even with the Toy Story franchise continuing in various forms, fans are wondering whether that was it for the main cast of toys. Well, all hope may not be lost.
Disney Confirms Toy Story 5 Development
During Disney's 2023 Q1 Financial Results conference call, CEO Bob Iger officially confirmed Toy Story 5 is in development at the House of Mouse.
The news follows the 2019 release of the last installment in the franchise followed by 2022's Chris Evans-led spin-off Lightyear - which the original Toy Story director reportedly wasn't very fond of.
Speaking on the potential of a fifth installment during the 2019 press tour for Toy Story 4 - via ComicBook - producer Mark Nielsen revealed Pixar opts to treat all of its films "like it's the first and the last film [they're] ever going to make:"
“Every film we make, we treat it like it’s the first and the last film we’re ever going to make. So you force yourself to make it hold up. You don’t get in over your skis. Whether there’s another one? I don’t know. If there is, it’s tomorrow’s problem.”
Buzz Lightyear actor Tim Allen also spoke on a potential Toy Story 5 to Entertainment Tonight back in 2019, sharing that "[he'd] say do five" as the trilogy boundary has been crossed anyway:
“Once you’ve gotten to four, you’re passed that trilogy [point], so I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t do it, certainly. If you ask me, I’d say do five.”
Since Iger's announcement, Allen has reacted to the news of the sequel being officially greenlit, seemingly confirming his, and potentially Tom Hanks' Woody's, return:
"See ya soon Woody, you are a sad strange little man and you have my pity. And off we go to a number 5! To infinity and beyond!"
Frozen 3 was also announced during the same segment of Disney's financial results call as well.
Is Toy Story 5 a Big Mistake by Disney?
Toy Story 4 left fans on a beautiful note as Woody and Bo Peep got their happy ending while the rest of the group went home to watch over Andy's sister Bonnie. And most agreed, that was an ideal end to the story, even though many already thought Toy Story 3 had wrapped things up well.
Going into Toy Story 5, Pixar truly has two options: either continue the franchise without the beloved Woody or almost completely undo the ending of the last movie to reunite the toys. Obviously, neither of those is really an ideal option and both would be equally controversial in their own ways.
However, Toy Story is one of the biggest brands in Disney and Pixar's arsenal, so it was obvious the franchise was going to continue in some form. Perhaps they could opt for more spin-offs in the vein of Lightyear - maybe an animated western starring Woody.
The fifth installment probably won't be the end of the line for the toys either, as that will likely come accompanied by some type of Disney+ content. After all, Disney has been eager to explore all of its biggest IPs deeper on the streamer as of late.
Toy Story 5 doesn't yet have an official release date and Bob Iger gave no clear indication of how far along development may be. Although he did announce a sequel plan for another popular animated franchise that can be read all about here.