After spending some time away, Bo Peep made her badass return in Toy Story 4. She introduced Woody to the idea that toys don’t have to stay devoted to one kid, but can do lots of things—like help other toys find their own path. It was a message the franchise needed, about how we all have a choice about what we do with our lives. And it could’ve been squandered.
Entertainment Weekly has shared a look at an alternate ending for Toy Story 4 that is so antithetical to the movie’s moral compass, it’s left me feeling weirdly uneasy. According to the clip shared below, Disney was toying around with the idea of having it end with Bo Peep discovering her own new kid—the same kid seen in the antiques store throughout the movie—leading to her and Woody going their separate ways. After seeing this child, her eyes go wide and she speaks like she’s met God (considering how one of the many Toy Story fan theories is that it’s an allegory for religion, it’s not surprising).
“She’s the one,” she said. “I feel a connection again, Woody, like I’m supposed to be her toy.”
This alternate ending is basically the worst-case scenario I spent most of Toy Story 4 being afraid would happen, because the best part of Bo Peep’s journey was how she never had to change it. After Woody reunites with Bo Peep, who was given away shortly after the events of Toy Story 2, he learns she’s happy in her life as a kid-free toy. She’s found a home, a community, a calling. Woody finds this unsettling as it goes against what he believes is in the nature of every toy, but he comes to understand, appreciate, and even join her cause.
When I saw Toy Story 4 for the first time, I was worried it was going to end with Bo Peep realizing the error of her ways and coming home with him or finding her own kid. That she was simply masking her loneliness with self-assuredness and her destiny was truly to be with the “right” child. It would’ve been a disservice to the character, and the movie’s entire thesis, and taken away the best thing about how the story ended. Plus, while I don’t think this would have been intentional—because this ending also robs Woody of his own transformation over the course of the film—it would’ve been yet another situation where a male character was right all along and the woman had to learn to see things his way.
Luckily, that’s not what happened. It’s unclear how seriously this ending was considered, or for how long, but director Josh Cooley said in the clip that it “came pretty close” to actually happening. I’m glad they chose the ending they did—but if I were to be completely honest, the fact that they seriously considered doing it this way still leaves me uneasy. They nearly ended the movie invalidating everything that Bo Peep, and even eventually Woody, stood for. Which means her whole ethos, the thesis of the film, maybe wasn’t as crucial to Toy Story 4 as I once thought it was.
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