When Toy Story 4 was initially announced by Pixar back in 2014, the plan was for the fourth film in the animation behemoth's crown jewel franchise to arrive in 2017 -- only for the film to be pushed back, first to the summer of 2018 and then to June 2019, switching release dates with Incredibles 2 (which now comes out this month).
So what happened? Well, Pixar typically takes a long time to plot out and develop its films so the delays were not necessarily that unusual. But then Pixar head John Lasseter stepped down in 2017 as director, promoting co-director Josh Cooley to the job by himself, while this past January saw screenwriters Rashida Jones and Will McCormack exit in favor of Stephany Folsom (and of course Lasseter's own personal issues have overshadowed the whole chain of events as well).
Now it turns out that the script overhaul has apparently been very extensive. In a new interview with RadioTimes, actress Annie Potts -- who plays Bo Peep in the series -- confirmed that much of the previous script was jettisoned:
“(Toy Story 4) was supposed to come out this year and then they threw out three-quarters of it and rewrote...Usually, it takes -- from start to finish -- two years. But because they threw most of it in the bin and started over (my time on the project has) been extended a little bit. I’ve done a lot of work on it.”
But Potts added that even with the film's release date now slightly over a year away, Pixar insists on maintaining an ultra-high level of quality control:
“They’re funny those Pixar people. They just take their time. It’s very painstaking work. If they don’t like whole sections then they just chuck it and start over again. They have that great creative liberty to do that.”
Potts also noted that she hadn't heard from the production staff in a year and a half at one point, leading her to believe that her role had been dropped from the story (Potts voiced Bo Peep in the first two movies but was absent from Toy Story 3). Now she says that she has a "big part" in the fourth film, as Buzz (Tim Allen) and Woody (Tom Hanks) search for Bo Peep after she goes missing. The long-rumored romance between Woody and Bo -- hinted at by Lasseter back in 2015 -- may also still be a focus of the movie.
Potts, who has also appeared in all three Ghostbusters movies, is currently featured as the title character's grandmother on the Big Bang Theory offshoot Young Sheldon.
The once-undefeatable Pixar has had its ups and downs in recent years -- the ongoing Lasseter business, as well as less than spectacular films like The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory and Cars 3 (along with triumphs like Inside Out and Coco). There's also been a sense that Toy Story 4 was a film that no one asked for and that the studio was having trouble figuring out. Do you think the fourth film can live up to the almost perfect original trilogy?