Tom Hanks has said he had to take a “moment to collect himself” after reading the final lines of Toy Story 4.
The US actor, who reprises the role of Woody, revealed his co-star Tim Allen (aka Buzz Lightyear) had texted him before he had finished the script to warn that he was still “recovering” from the final recording.
“I actually had a transcendental moment of going back to 1991 when we started all of this. I was in the same room, with the same engineers, the same people and I had to take a moment to collect myself,” Hanks said.
Producers Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen agreed that it was an “emotional” end, especially for the original cast who have a 24-year history with Toy Story.
“We knew we had to go pretty far to make this movie worthy of the first three,” Rivera said.
“I think we slowly but surely worked our way to going, ‘no that’s how it has to be, we’ve got to dramatise that and get to that punch line’, so we are proud of that.”
Hanks and the crew were speaking at the European premiere of the film in Leicester Square, London, ahead of its release on 21 June.
If you need reminding, Toy Story 3 ended with Andy parting ways with Woody and the rest of the crew as he handed them over to Bonnie.
The ending felt very final but now the toys, which were collecting dust and were moments away from being incinerated, have a new lease of life.
Starring alongside old favourites from the 1995 original, including Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Rex, there are a number of new toys that steal the show.
One such character is Forky (voiced by Tony Hale), a spork made by Bonnie using pipe cleaners, googly eyes and a fork who instantly declares himself as “trash”.
Nielsen said they took inspiration for the character from “watching their own children and the way they play”.
“They’ll pick up something off the ground and start playing with it as if it’s a toy. So around the story room we started talking about what would that mean if a child plays with something, does that make it a toy and if it wasn’t alive before, could that bring something to life?”
In the spirit of “You’ve got a friend in me”, Woody takes it upon himself to watch over Bonnie’s new favourite toy, Forky.
But the cowboy has his hands full when the whole gang are taken on a road trip that combines a reunion, a dramatic rescue and a posse of ventriloquist dolls.
Keanu Reeves has also joined the cast as Duke Caboom, a Canadian daredevil toy who suffers from low self-esteem and is desperate to prove himself having been cast aside by his owner having failed to live up to his explosive name.
The character, or maybe the actor, is clearly a favourite of the film’s director Josh Cooley, who simply said: “I wish I was Keanu Reeves.”
Bo Peep, voiced by Annie Potts, is back on screen after being absent from the third film. But this time she’s not thanking Woody for saving her flock, telling him: “I lead, you follow.”
The porcelain shepherdess has switched her dress and bonnet for a pair of practical trousers.
“She’s always been the centre of this movie,” said Rivera.
“When we were developing the movie at Pixar, the code-name was Peep because she was always the first idea.”
The reintroduction of Bo Peep was meant to “shock” and it “certainly shocks Woody,” Rivera added.
Other newcomers include comedy duo Ducky and Bunny, played by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, Gabby Gabby, a terrifying (but possibly misunderstood) doll voiced by Christina Hendricks, and Giggle McDimples, Bo Peep’s miniature sidekick played by Ally Maki.
But could there be a number five? When asked about the final moments of the film, Nielsen said: “It was really important for us to recognise that this had been a long ride and a great ride – and this could be the end.”