‘Toy Story 5’ Update: Pixar Unveils Big Announcement Amid Studio Struggles

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Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) looking shocked in 'Toy Story 4'

Credit: Disney / Pixar

Pixar hasn’t had it easy in recent years – but the studio hopes to turn things around soon with the release of Toy Story 5 (2026).

Back in 1995, Pixar introduced itself to the world with the release of its first feature film, Toy Story. As far as first impressions go, it was incredibly strong. The adventures of Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) – two sentient toys, the latter of which is unaware that he’s not actually a space ranger – were an immediate success, with the film still regarded as one of the best animations of all time.

Woody and Buzz Lightyear looking down on a carnival
Credit: Pixar

Related: “What’s the Point?” Fans Blast ‘Toy Story 5’ Plot Update

Hollywood being Hollywood, sequels were just around the corner. To date, the Toy Story franchise has four films (plus two television specials), each of which has been well-received by critics and fans alike.

Theoretically, this franchise has ended on two occasions. The release of Toy Story 3 (2010) was generally considered to be the final act of the series, with the film seeing Woody, Buzz, and friends saying goodbye to their owner, Andy, forever.

Buzz Lightyear flying (falling with style) while holding Woody
Credit: Pixar

Fast-forward nine years, however, and Toy Story said yet another farewell. Toy Story 4 (2019) ended on the equally emotional note of Woody leaving behind his friends to join the “Lost Toys” alongside Bo Peep.

At the time, it was thought that the film was actually the end. Tom Hanks himself noted that it was the final film in the franchise during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Four years later, however, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that this was not the case and that a fifth Toy Story film was in development.

Of course, sequels aren’t an unusual commodity at Disney or Pixar. What makes the timing of this one so notable is that Pixar isn’t exactly on a winning streak right now.

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

While Elemental (2023) proved to be a slow burner at the box office, other efforts – such as Lightyear (2022), Turning Red (2022), and Luca (2021) – have failed to make the same impact as the films in Pixar’s golden years. Lightyear, in particular, tanked at the box office, taking home just $226.4 million on a $200 million budget.

The studio has since undergone mass redundancies and claimed that it’ll revert back to its old approach to storytelling (AKA telling broader, universal stories, not personal tales).

Hence falling back on a familiar favorite.

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

We’re still two years away from the release of Toy Story 5, but today we got another update on the film that suggests that Pixar really is trying to double down on its “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Pixar CEO Pete Doctor confirmed during a screening of the upcoming Inside Out 2 (2024) that Andrew Stanton will direct Toy Story 5.

Stanton has been a pillar at Pixar since the very beginning, having served as a writer for each Toy Story film to date. He has also directed three films at the studio: A Bug’s Life (1998, as a co-director), Finding Nemo (2003), WALL-E (2008), and Finding Dory (2016).

Woody (L) and Buzz (R) sat down looking at each other with other toys in the background
Credit: Pixar

Some have debated the need for extra Toy Story sequels post-Toy Story 3. However, Stanton has always had a very clear-cut approach to why these are necessary. In his words, Toy Story 3 wrapped up the toys’ story with Andy. Meanwhile, Toy Story 4 (2019) served as the ending of Woody’s story.

While we won’t know whose – or what – story is being told in Toy Story 5, we’re confident that the film is in good hands.

Toy Story 5 hits theaters on June 19, 2026.

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