Okay, confession time. I totally treat my childhood toys, and other inanimate objects, as if they have feelings. I talk to them, I feel sad and guilty when they are neglected… it drives my husband crazy. Yes, of course I know this is irrational behavior, but to be honest, it’s all because of Toy Story!
You see, I’ve been watching Woody and Buzz since I was five years old… so, yeah, I’d say this was bound to happen!
Take Jessie, for example, in Toy Story 2. Her flashbacks with When She Loved Me playing in the background are probably one of the saddest scenes EVER! Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. And then it also makes me sad to think of my long-lost dolls stuck up in my mom’s attic, collecting dust, sad that their girl left them…
Okay, I think you get it. Woody, Buzz, and the gang have always been some of my favorites. And now, even though Andy is off to college, we’re gearing up to take a new adventure with the gang and their new owner, Bonnie.
From the initial Toy Story 4 trailers, we were introduced to several new characters, including Sporky, a craft-project-turned-toy (voiced by Tony Hale), and two carnival-prize toys, Ducky and Bunny (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele).
And with the release of this new Toy Story 4 trailer, we’re introduced to Gabby Gabby, Benson and the ventriloquist dummies, Duke Caboom, and Giggle McDimples.
Gabby Gabby (voiced by Christina Hendricks) is an adorable, talking pull-string doll from the 1950s. But unfortunately for her, a manufacturing defect in her pull-string voice box has left her sounding anything but adorable. She has spent more than 60 years forgotten in the depths of a jam-packed antique store—her only companions are a band of voiceless ventriloquist dummies. Gabby Gabby knows someone will want her if only she can find a working voice box to repair hers.
Regarding the casting of Christina Hendricks to voice Gabby Gabby:
“It became obvious right away that Christina was the perfect actress to play Gabby Gabby,” says director Josh Cooley. “She has the ability to sound inviting and friendly, then subtly become cold and terrifying in just a few words. It still gives me chills when I see Gabby’s introduction in the film. Also, Christina told me that she preferred playing with ventriloquist dummies over dolls as a kid. That’s when I knew it was meant to be.”
Duke Caboom (voiced by Keanu Reeves) is a 1970s toy based on Canada’s greatest stuntman. Riding his powerful Caboom stunt-cycle, Duke is always prepared to show off his stunt poses with confidence and swagger. However, Woody learns quickly that Duke has an Achilles heel: He has never been able to do the awesome stunts advertised in his own toy commercial. For years, Duke has been sitting in an antique store, constantly reliving the failures of his tragic past.
Regarding the casting of Keanu Reaves to voice Duke Caboom:
“The first time Josh [Cooley] and I talked with Keanu about the role, Keanu became Duke Caboom,” says producer Jonas Rivera. “Keanu was asking great questions that dug deep to find the soul of the character. At one point he stood up on the table in the middle of Pixar’s atrium and struck poses while proclaiming victory. It was so funny. It’s all in the movie and it’s all Keanu.”
Giggle McDimples (voiced by Ally Maki) is a miniature plastic doll from the 1980s Giggle McDimples toy line. Giggle is Bo Peep’s best friend. Small enough to perch on Bo’s shoulder, Giggle is Bo’s confidant, supporter and advisor. “Giggle is Bo’s Jiminy Cricket—we’re able to get insight on Bo through their relationship together,” says Cooley. “Giggle is definitely the smallest toy in the Toy Story universe. She’s been stepped on, vacuumed up, and probably put up a kid’s nose in her time.”
Regarding the casting of Ally Maki to voice Giggle McDimples:
“Giggle McDimples literally pops on the screen because of Ally’s personality and infectious energy,” says Cooley. “Nobody can laugh like Ally Maki.”
Benson is a classic, antique ventriloquist dummy, and Gabby Gabby’s right hand. He leads a small group of ventriloquist dummies that serve as Gabby’s henchmen. With no person to give them a voice, these silent toys patrol the antique store with a looming quietness that is inherently unsettling.
Regarding the addition of the silent ventriloquist dummies:
“The dummies are, by far, some of the creepiest characters we’ve ever created,” says producer Mark Nielsen. “Our animators really leaned into the truth in materials for how our ventriloquist dummies move. Dummies’ bodies are soft with no structure, so our dummies’ arms just dangle and their legs bend backwards. Throw in their fixed expressions with their wide eyes and big hinged jaws and they’re nightmare material—in the best way possible.”
About Toy Story 4
Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voiced by Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.
Directed by Josh Cooley (Riley’s First Date?), and produced by Jonas Rivera (Inside Out, Up) and Mark Nielsen (associate producer of Inside Out), Disney·Pixar’s Toy Story 4 ventures to U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.
Images and footage courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.