‘Toy Story 4’ Trailer: first teaser for new film released
OK, I honestly thought if we were going to get a Walt Disney teaser trailer this morning that it would be for The Lion King. After all, today is the 25th anniversary of the opening night of Disney’s (slightly underrated) The Three Musketeers, which also saw the public debut of the first teaser for The Lion King. If you recall, it was just the jaw-dropping “Circle of Life” sequence played out in full, and yeah, it knocked all of our socks off. But no, instead of marking the occasion with a teaser for Jon Favreau’s upcoming Lion King remake, we got an announcement teaser for Toy Story 4. That works, too. I guess Lion King will have to wait until December with Mary Poppins Returns.
This is the very definition of an announcement trailer; like the recent Aladdin teaser, it does little more than provide visual evidence of the movie’s existence. It goes for about 90 seconds and mostly features a soothing roll call of your favorite Toy Story characters along with an introduction to “Forky,” who seemingly doesn’t quite belong.
If you’re someone who doesn’t consume movie news on the regular (like maybe an 8-year-old who is about to watch Ralph Breaks the Internet over the Thanksgiving break), then this may be the first time you’re aware of a new Toy Story. This teaser is for that demographic, not the folks like you and me who have known about this since November 2014.
But this is the first we’ve heard about the actual plot, which for years we were told was going to be a romantic comedy concerning the return of Annie Potts’ Bo-Beep. To be fair, Pixar movies have been known to essentially change up in the middle of the game, and much has changed since late 2014. John Lasseter is no longer directing (obviously), and original screenwriters Will McCormack and Rashida Jones have left the project, allegedly because of discomfort over Pixar’s proverbial boy’s club culture. Now we have a sequel directed by Josh Cooley (co-writer of Inside Out) and penned by Stephany Folsom (co-writer of Thor: Ragnarok). And if it’s still a romantic comedy, they aren’t showing us as much in either the teaser or the synopsis.
The bad news is that this may be shaping up to be a sequel that exists purely because it can, especially with an entirely redone story/concept. The good news is that Pixar movies have a history of rescuing themselves (Ratatouille, Toy Story 2, etc.) from development struggles, and even The Good Dinosaur turned out (artistically) OK. The other good news is that the first three Toy Story movies form such a perfect standalone trilogy that it won’t really matter if this fourth installment is any good. And since legacy sequels are “so hot right now,” it’s hard to fault Pixar for dipping into this well one more time. Besides, I may roll my eyes at Toy Story 4, but my kids won’t be too upset about it.
Oh, and this still means that (if they so choose) Disney can drop a Lion King teaser with Mary Poppins Returns in mid-December and then hold off on Avengers 4 teasers until their next release, which is the March 8 release of Captain Marvel (or a Super Bowl debut). Sure, we’re probably getting an Avengers 4 teaser (and presumably a title) at the end of the month or during the Christmas blitz, but it’s still feasible for Disney and Marvel to wait until the last possible moment to begin their official marketing campaign. That’s assuming a movie like Avengers 4 needs any real marketing campaign at all. Folks will show up in late April/early May no matter how few trailers, posters, TV spots or billboards we get.