Toy Story 4 feels super familiar in many ways. After all, we’ve been deeply invested in the franchize for nearly 25 years. Though Toy Story fans will be delighted to see their favs like Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Bo Peep, Toy Story 4’s Pixar short is missing. For 21 years, Pixar fans have been delighted with the short films that have played before the feature films. It’s a tradition that began way back in 1998 with, A Bug’s Life. Some of the flicks like Lava and Bao have been so critically acclaimed that they’ve garnered just as much buzz as the full-length movie. Bao even went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short. Toy Story (which was Pixar’s first movie back in ’95) was the only Pixar film to play without a short until now. So what’s the deal?
Though Pixar hasn’t provided us with the real tea on why Toy Story 4 is missing a short, we’re just going to take a wild guess and say that the animation company is paying homage to the movie that started it all. After all, this is the very last Toy Story movie–ever. Toy Story 4 producer Jonas Rivera told the Toronto Sun,
We have a never-say-never rule for what the future’s going to be at Pixar, but, I think, as filmmakers, we’ve crafted this to be the conclusion. If there’s never another one, we’re happy. We know the characters live on, and we imply a future, which we did in the other films as well, but I think narratively this completes Woody’s arc.
Since this is the last time we will ever see Buzz, Woody, and the gang–Pixar didn’t want to distract the audience with any outside characters and just let us enjoy the final piece in the franchize puzzle for what it is. This is all warm bubbly and nostalgic, but there is also another reason Pixar could be holding back on us, and it has nothing to do with maintaining the “purity” of the film.
Pixar just launched a new program called SparkShorts where filmmakers are given six months to create a short before its released on Pixar’s YouTube channel. According to the Independent, “Pixar may also be holding back their shorts for a recent program announced as part of SparkShorts, an independent animated short film series developed by the studio.”
So there you have it, it’s only our favorite toys this go-round.