Entertainment

'Toy Story 4' Is Finally Coming Out Next Year with a Strange New Character

Ah, yes, Toy Story: The children's franchise so emotionally devastating that the third installment just said, Fuck it, let's just have our beloved characters face death in an incinerator. Now there's finally a (brief) glimpse at the long-in-development fourth tale of Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the rest of our sentient plastic buddies, due out summer 2019. The new teaser trailer is not outwardly tragic -- but there's something that's definitely a little unnerving about it. 

The biggest reveal is the introduction of a new toy named, simply, Forky. Forky -- like our new pal Gritty -- is so odd-looking he just has to be lovable. He's a fork -- or, really, a spork -- decked out with pipe-cleaner arms and mismatched googly eyes. There's a clay-like substance (maybe Play-Doh?) at his base. He's clearly going through it. "I don't belong here," he screams and runs off, sending the other toys flying. According to the official plot description, the "reluctant" Forky is a creation of Bonnie, Woody, and the crew's new caretaker. His arrival sets in motion "a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends." Forky's identity panic spells peril for our heroes.

Aside from the mere existence of Forky, the teaser's soundtrack choice is also disconcerting. Judy Collins' famous rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" sounds upbeat -- and the part about clouds is a nice nod to the movies' iconic imagery -- but it doesn't mean the lyrics are any less of an existential crisis about how the world is generally unknowable. Will this Toy Story once again be about the ever present glare of mortality? Sure seems like it! That sunny field the toys are skipping though looks awfully, shall we say, celestial. 

The development Toy Story has been convoluted and at times controversial. Originally, Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones and her writing partner Will McCormack were tapped to write the script, but left citing "creative and, more importantly, philosophical differences." In a statement to the New York Times, they said that Pixar is "a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice." Meanwhile, this past summer, Annie Potts, the voice of Bo Peep, told Radio Times that the script was nearly completely rewritten during production. 

At this point we don't know the genesis of Forky, but Forky is here in all of his flimsy terror.  

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.