We haven’t caught sight of the beloved Bo Peep since her small role in Toy Story 2 back in 1999. Lost somewhere between the end of the sequel and the beginning of Toy Story 3, dedicated audiences have been wondering where our heroine went and what she’s been up to.
In Toy Story 4, we’ll finally get the answers to those burning questions as Bo Peep makes a triumphant return to the big screen, and it turns out she’s been everything but lost. We had the chance to chat with the filmmakers at Pixar about bringing Bo back into the Toy Story franchise and what it meant for the saga.
When we jump into Bo’s story, we learn that she’s been without a kid or a place to call home, making her. “The thing Woody is ultimately most afraid of,” says director Josh Cooley. “It’s a huge aspect of the film, presenting Woody with a major contrasting viewpoint from his long-lost friend. Seeing someone thrive in, essentially, his worst nightmare could change the way Woody sees his entire world,” continues Cooley.
When asked about what aspect of the film has stayed true since the sequel’s conception, Cooley’s answer was Bo Peep:
The earliest version of it, Bo Peep was always a part of that. It felt right because we were like, “This is something we can tie into what we’ve seen in the past but also can help kick off this story.” That was always a part of it. The locations were always changing but Bo Peep was always there. I think it would be probably when we realized…actually, personally, I was thinking about my wife and how she’s lived a different life from me. When we got together I feel like my eyes were opened to seeing how other people live and how everything works. Just stuff I wasn’t familiar with. I wanted to bring that into Bo a little bit. For me, personally, that was the moment I realized, “Oh, I can see how I can emotionally attach to this story. And also how it can affect Woody.”
Now that Bo Peep is back, the filmmakers took this opportunity to give her a little redesign to fit her nomadic personality. To get a sense of who she is in the new film, some references that were used for her character were: Rey from Star Wars, Geena Davis in A League of Their Own, Olympic gymnast Aly Reisman, Uma Thurman from Kill Bill, and GoGo Tomago from Big Hero 6. Along with her new look and attitude, Bo’s also made some new friends – one being her tiny side-kick named Giggle McDimples (voiced by Ally Maki).
Though we are jumping into Bo’s current life, during the prologue of the film, we flashback to the exact moment that she gets separated from the rest of the gang: A friend of the Davis’ comes to collect Molly’s (Andy’s little sister) sheep night light and with it, went Bo Peep. This gives us a sense that she has been gone just as long as we feel she has. Her entire absence from Toy Story 3 – reduced to a single, somber line from Woody – has given us time to miss having her around. Her quick wit and adoration of Woody seems nothing but nostalgia now. We’re ready for her long-awaited return, but also understand she may not be the toy we fondly remember.
We’re excited for Woody to regain his previous love interest, but don’t think that Toy Story 4 will be a romantic comedy (which was the rumor that was going around a few years ago). Cooley and producers Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera decided to shy away from the rom-com label and instead, compare it to more of an animated Indiana Jones film, “I kind of think of like, Raiders of the Lost Ark isn’t a love story but it has that great romantic element in it,” Cooley elaborates. We can celebrate that our two lovebirds are together again, but the film has no intention of making it the only plot that matters.
I love that we are getting a Bo Peep return, especially in the way she’s been described. She’s come a long way from the dress wearing, sheep losing, love interest, and is now a full-fledged toy that took charge of her own narrative. Now that she’s made a life of her own, I’m curious to see just how she’ll fit back in with the rest of the gang and whether not she joins them on their quest back to Bonnie, or keep trekking on her own like she’s used to.
We’ll see Bo Peep and the new world she brings to the Toy Story universe on June 21, 2019. Advance tickets for Toy Story 4 are available today!