Toy Story 4 alternate ending reveals different outcome for Woody and Bo Peep
Well, this would have been quite a bit different.
In advance of the home release of Toy Story 4, Disney and Pixar have revealed an alternate ending for the film — one which would have completely changed the theme of the entire movie, and may just have cooled its rapturous critical reception. (via Entertainment Weekly)
The scene exists only in the form of an animatic with placeholder vocal performances, which will be available as a special feature on Toy Story 4’s Blu-ray and digital releases. The flick famously followed up a near-perfect trilogy, one which nobody was exactly sure needed to be followed with anything — but since this is Pixar we’re talking about, the four-quel ended up being just as vital, funny, and heartstring-tuggy as its predecessors.
It earned raves from reviewers and audiences alike, broke the $1 billion dollar mark at the worldwide box office, and further cemented the notion that Pixar can virtually do no wrong — but this alternate scene serves to illustrate the fact that the venerable animation house isn’t simply charmed. There are always plenty of opportunities with each film to make bad decisions, and in choosing to scrap this ending, the filmmakers dodged a big, fat bullet. Now would be a good time to mention that spoilers for Toy Story 4 follow.
The movie finds Woody (Tom Hanks) taking a trip to a carnival and reuniting with his long-lost love Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who has been living a life on the road as a rogue toy of sorts, unconstrained from the demands of ownership. A great deal of time is spent with a new cast of “lost” toys, who have varying degrees of trouble establishing identities with no children to care for them, as Woody attempts to make his way back to Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of his friends.
In the ending of the flick’s theatrical cut, Woody is finally reunited with the gang, but he simply can’t bear to leave Bo again. After being convinced by Buzz that their kid, Bonnie, will be okay without him, Woody takes the plunge and joins Bo for a life on the road. It’s an ending both bittersweet and uplifting, one that nails the wide range of emotions which comes with leaving your childhood behind, a perfect capper to the movie — and this alternate ending, in our opinion, would have been the exact opposite of that.
The film’s director, Josh Cooley, seems to acknowledge this in the brief commentary which leads off the clip. “Finding the ending of a movie is extremely hard,” he says, demonstrating his complete mastery of understatement. “Especially a Toy Story film, where you want it to be really impactful and really emotional. This one came pretty close.”
The director continued, “In this ending, Bo saw this child that she connected with, and she realized, ‘Oh, I actually would like to be with a kid again.’ And Woody realized in that moment, ‘I’m gonna have to let Bo go.’ So it’s much more bittersweet, in terms of their relationship.”
The clip then segues into the animatic, and even though it is just an animatic, it’s still jarring to hear voices other than those of Hanks and Potts voicing these characters. Bo runs up to Woody and embraces him, saying “Woody! Everyone is with a kid. I can’t believe you actually did it!” Woody replies, “We did it, Bo. Together.”
“Thank you,” Bo says, and as the pair share another hug, we hear a child’s laughter. Bo catches sight of a little girl running across the fairgrounds; Bo is rendered here with a look that can only be described as “very surprised.”
“She’s the one,” Bo says, “The girl from the store. She’s the one. I feel a connection again, Woody. Like… I’m… supposed to be her toy.”
Woody mulls it over for a second or two, then replies, “Molly, Andy, Bonnie… all these kids. We’re there for them. We belong to them. But I want you to know… I’m yours, and I always will be.”
“And I’m yours, Sheriff,” Bo says. Woody bids her goodbye, and she departs.
Well, there were certainly plenty of ways Cooley could have chosen to end his movie, but it’s definitely for the best that he ended up passing on “main character does a complete 180 from her prior characterization in the process of contradicting the movie’s entire message.” It’s also worth mentioning that in the finished film, the little girl in question, whose name is Harmony, flat-out rejects Woody’s new friend Gabby Gabby and is not shown to have a connection with Bo in the least.
Also, consider that as Toy Story 4 ended, things were at once settled and shaken up; Woody was looking at the start of a new life, and he was happy with his decision, even though it meant breaking up the band, so to speak. If Bo had ended up suddenly catching the kid bug, Woody likely would have ended up going back home with Buzz and the gang, which basically would have meant a return to the status quo of the movie’s beginning.
If the Toy Story series happens to continue, it’ll be picking up from a much more interesting place than it would have if this alternate ending had been settled on. And since we really, really want the series to continue, and we’re pretty sure it will, we’re so very glad that this scene never made it past the animatic stage.