A legendary Hollywood actor has reportedly been cast to lend his voice to Woody in Disney & PIXAR’s upcoming Toy Story 5, and fans of the playtime-inspired franchise couldn’t be happier.
When Toy Story debuted on November 22, 1995, no one could have known just how successful the film–and its successors–would ultimately be, as there were no guarantees. And because Toy Story was the first feature-length film from PIXAR Studios, there was no history and no data against which to compare the film and its potential for failure or success.
“Toy Story:” An Award-Winning First for PIXAR and for Animation Everywhere
Toy Story was the industry’s first-ever film for which 100% of the animation was computer-generated. At just 81 minutes in duration, the first Toy Story film is also the shortest in the franchise and the shortest of all of PIXAR Studios’ 27 animated feature films.
It was nominated for three Academy Awards: for Best Music–Original Song, for Best Music–Original Musical or Comedy Score, and for Best Original Screenplay, making it the first animated film to ever be nominated for an Academy Award in a writing category. Toy Story also garnered two Golden Globe nominations–for Best Motion Picture in the Comedy or Musical category, and for Best Original Song for “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” The film won for Best Animated Film at both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards as well as the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards.
Legendary Actor to Voice Woody in the Fifth “Toy Story” Film
The newest installment in the Toy Story film franchise was first announced in February by Disney’s CEO Bob Iger during the company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings call and later confirmed on social media by actor and comedian Tim Allen.
“See ya soon, Woody,” Allen posted on Facebook. “You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity. And off we go to number 5! To infinity and beyond! #ToyStory5″
Allen was the first actor to publicly confirm his return to the franchise, which has seen success after success, thanks to the talents of dozens of actors and actresses over the years, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, the late actors Ned Beatty, Mel Brooks, Jim Varney, and Don Rickles, actress Annie Potts, John Ratzenberger, Wayne Knight, Jordan Peele, Michael Keaton, Bonnie Hunt, Keanu Reeves, the late Estelle Harris, Tony Hale, Kelsey Grammar, Carol Burnett, Patricia Arquette, Carl Reiner, Carl Weathers, Wallace Shawn, and others.
This week, the return of another key actor in the franchise was seemingly confirmed–albeit a sort of “second-hand” confirmation. During an interview, Tom Hanks’s brother Jim, who has done voice substitution work as Woody in place of Tom Hanks from time to time, said that the legendary actor will return to voice the cowboy sheriff in the fifth Toy Story film:
“There’s also word they’re thinking about making more,” Jim Hanks explained. “I don’t know where they’re going to go with it, but those people from PIXAR are freaking geniuses, so I’m going to assume it’s going to be something really cool. I remember after [the fourth film], granted this has changed now, but after [Toy Story 4], I was having lunch with Tom, and we were talking about–he thought it was done. He said, ‘Woody’s yours now.’ ‘Oh really?’ I said. ‘I guess it is, isn’t it? Okay.’ Not so much–and he’s back!”
“Toy Story 5:” We Still Don’t Know Many Details
Fans of the toy-inspired film franchise at PIXAR were both thrilled and surprised to hear that a fifth film was in production at the Emeryville, California-based studios.
In 2019, following the theatrical release of Toy Story 4, director Josh Cooley was asked during an interview whether the fourth film marked the beginning of a new trilogy or a new direction for the franchise, to which he responded, “I don’t think so.”
He went on to say that his gut told him that PIXAR had “found a way to complete the characters” in the series. But, he said, “If there’s another idea for the future that works, who knows? But the way that we’ve been thinking about Toy Story 4 is that we’ve completed the characters’ arcs.” Cooley said that the franchise was complete with the addition of the fourth Toy Story film.
Fans can only assume PIXAR found that “other idea for the future,” as Toy Story 5 is not only on its way but it’s also reportedly been in the works for far longer than anyone knew–though cast members like actor Tim Allen were sworn to secrecy.
As of this time, PIXAR has not announced a release date for the new installment. The studio has, however, revealed that as part of the storyline for Toy Story 5, Woody and Buzz–despite going their separate ways in the fourth film–will reunite, and to many Toy Story fans, that’s the best news yet!