‘Toy Story’s Woody Finally Gets His Own Wild West Adventure

in Pixar

Woody (Tom Hanks) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts) talking in 'Toy Story 4'

Credit: Disney / Pixar

Earlier this year, Pixar announced that Toy Story 5 (TBA) is officially in development, but the idea of a fifth Toy Story movie has left many fans scratching their heads, as it’s fair to say that they’re now stretching the series about as far as we should stretch Slinky.

Toy Story 4 (2019) didn’t seem like a great idea, either, considering Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Slinky (Blake Clark), and the rest of the roundup got their happy ending in Toy Story 3 (2011), even if it was very bittersweet.

Woody (Tom Hanks) smiling in the 'Toy Story 4' "hands together" teaser
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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Nevertheless, we’re bound to get incredibly excited as more news drops. But we can’t help but feel like the franchise missed a massive opportunity with Lightyear (2022), the spinoff movie that focuses solely on the “real-life” version of Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans).

Of course, the film didn’t get off to a great start, with fans and even the likes of actor Tim Allen, who voices Buzz Lightyear the toy in the Toy Story movies, criticizing the decision to cast a new actor as the unrelated human version of the character.

Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) looking shocked in 'Toy Story 4'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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This year, history repeated itself with The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023), another CG-animated flick that came under fire for its casting decision, with many angered by the fact Chris Pratt was chosen to voice the iconic plumber despite not being Italian American.

The difference between both movies, however, is that The Super Mario Bros. Movie grossed $1.36 billion worldwide, while Lightyear was a financial disaster, crash-landing with only $226.4 million worldwide against a $200 million budget.

Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) traveling at lightspeed in the 'Lightyear' trailer
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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Lightyear also came under heavy fire from trolls due to a scene involving a same-sex kiss. The backlash appears to have had the “review-bomb” effect, causing the film to crash and burn before it even had the chance to make an honest impression on audiences.

While the film isn’t particularly great, feeling like a mediocre version of Pixar’s WALL-E (2008) without ever trying to reach for the stars (or the sky, as Woody might say), it’s well-intentioned, and the fact it was (partly) sabotaged by trolls is deeply frustrating.

Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear looking at crystallic fusion in 'Lightyear'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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The idea of a film about a “real-life” Buzz Lightyear isn’t unappealing, nor is the idea of him being voiced by another actor. Taking all the controversy out of the equation, though, what’s disappointing is how ill-conceived its place among the Toy Story movies is.

Here’s the opening text from the 2022 film, which explains how it fits into the series:

In 1995, a boy named Andy got a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday. It was from his favorite movie. This is that movie.

Not only is this pretty hard to believe when you consider that no other characters from the film such as Sox (Peter Sohn) and Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer) are even mentioned in the Toy Story movies, we’re also taken right out of the film before it even starts, as we’re told that Lightyear exists as a film within the Toy Story universe.

Why not have the film revolve around the character Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans), a human cosmonaut whose legendary space adventures inspire a film back on Earth and, in turn, lines of merchandise, which would of course include the iconic toy of the same name.

Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) in 'Lightyear'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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But while Lightyear was a failure, Toy Story fans probably wouldn’t scoff at the idea of Woody getting his own movie. Given the backlash Lightyear received, though, they’d likely prefer to see Tom Hanks voice the character, whether it’s Woody the toy or a human version.

We can imagine it now: Woody living a quiet life on a farm in the Wild West with his pig Hamm, his dog Slinky, and his sister Jessie. He has his heart set on local sheep farmer Bo Peep, but first, he must rescue her from the advances of the greedy prospector Stinky Pete!

Woody's head from 'Toy Story 2' during the "fix scene"
Credit: Disney / Pixar

Related: Here’s Why ‘Lightyear’ Will Probably Inspire a ‘Woody’ Spin Off

Though we may never see Woody back in the Wild West officially, a few days ago, YouTuber eli_handle_b.wav uploaded a hilarious mashup video which sees Woody superimposed into the popular, R-rated, open-world Wild West video game Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018).

So far, the video has amassed over half a million views. Check it out below:

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It’s a silly little mashup, but it definitely gives pause for thought where a Woody movie is concerned. But what other Toy Story characters should get their own spinoff movies?

Let’s take a look!

The Potato Heads

Mrs. Potato Head and Mr. Potato Head in pieces in 'Toy Story 3'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris) are a dynamic duo. Their combined antics often finds us doing great big belly chuckles, whether it’s Mrs. Potato Head “packing” her husband for his trip in Toy Story 2 (1999) and during the film’s mid-credits bloopers, or Mr. Potato Head turning into an anthropomorphic pita bread in Toy Story 3!

The Potato Heads could perhaps see the couple embark on a road trip with the Little Green Men (all toys, of course, as none of these characters would have human counterparts for obvious reasons!). The Potato Heads’ many “abilities,” shown throughout the Toy Story movies, would also make for some highly entertaining antics and sequences.

Jessie (With a Toy Story 2 Backstory)

Woody (Tom Hanks) and Jessie (Joan Cusack) talking in 'Toy Story 3'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

While a Woody solo movie would most likely feature Jessie, there’s no denying that the rootin’, tootin’ cowgirl deserves her own film. Jessie is a rather odd character in that she feels like one of the originals, yet doesn’t actually appear in the series until Toy Story 2, in which we learn she’s part of “Woody’s Roundup,” an old Western serial with puppets.

Joan Cusack is a talented enough actress to hold her own, and in the case of a Jessie solo movie, we think it should revolve around the toy and not the human version, just like The Potato Heads. Though it would be heart-wrenching all over again, fans would love to learn more about Jessie’s relationship with her previous owner, Emily.

Lotso (With a Toy Story 3 Backstory)

Lotso (Ned Beatty) greeting the toys at Sunnyside Daycare in 'Toy Story 3'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

Lotso is the main antagonist of Toy Story 3 and is voiced by the late Ned Beatty. While Sid (Erik von Detten) from the original film would certainly give Lotso a run for his money, the sadistic bear is easily one of the most dastardly villains in the Toy Story franchise, as he comes extremely close to killing Woody and his friends in a furnace at the end of the film!

That said, the Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear wasn’t always evil. We’ve seen what abandonment can do to a toy, and though Lotso becomes deeply corrupted over the years that follow him being literally replaced by his owner, we’d love to see what he was like beforehand, or perhaps what he got up to during those lost years and how he took over Sunnyside Daycare.

Barbie and Ken

Ken (Michael Keaton) seeing Barbie for the first time in 'Toy Story 3'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

A Barbie and Ken solo movie goes without saying. But you might think, “Didn’t we already get one this year?” That’s right — we did, with Greta Gerwig’s live-action film Barbie (2023), which stars Margot Robbie as the titular doll and Ryan Gosling as Ken. The film grossed $1.44 billion worldwide, so clearly, the Barbie IP is incredibly lucrative.

But why reinvent the wheel? Like with The Potato Heads, Jessie, and Lotso, we’d love to see a spinoff focus on Barbie and Ken the dolls, as seen in the Toy Story movies, in which they’re voiced by Jodi Benson and Michael Keaton, respectively. The chemistry between the two in Toy Story 3 is great, and Keaton wasn’t born to play Batman — he was born to be “just Ken!”

Barbie seeing Ken (Michael Keaton) for the first time in 'Toy Story 3'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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Lightyear is now streaming on Disney+. Per Disney, here’s the synopsis:

From Disney and Pixar comes an animated sci-fi action-adventure — the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans), the hero who inspired the toy. “Lightyear” follows the legendary space ranger on an intergalactic adventure alongside ambitious recruits, Izzy, Mo and Darby, and his robot companion Sox. As this motley crew embark on their toughest mission yet, they must learn to work as a team to escape the evil Zurg and his dutiful robot army who are never far behind.

Sox talking to Buzz (Chris Evans) at night in 'Lightyear'
Credit: Disney / Pixar

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It stars Chris Evans (Buzz Lightyear), Uzo Aduba (Alisha Hawthorne), James Brolin (Zurg), Mary McDonald-Lewis (IVAN), Keke Palmer (Izzy Hawthorne), Efren Ramirez (Airman Diaz), Peter Sohn (SOX), Dale Soules (Darby Steel), Taika Waititi (Mo Morrison), and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Commander Burnside).

All four Toy Story movies and the shorts are also streaming. There’s no release date for Toy Story 5.

Would you like to see more Toy Story spinoffs? And if so, would you prefer them to be about the toys or the human versions of the characters? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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