Pixar Animation Studios takes us behind the scenes for an inside look at “Operation Pull Toy,” the opening scene of Toy Story 4.

What’s Happening:

  • A new video from Pixar Animation Studios that has been released on their Youtube channel showcases an explanation of the opening scene, or prologue, of Toy Story 4.
  • The scene, known as “Operation Pull Toy,” starts off as a flashback of rescue of RC, Andy’s Remote Control Car who is caught in a flooded gutter during a rainstorm sometime between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. In one of Pixar’s most beautifully animated scenes, we see the rescue take place but while the audience thinks it’s RC we’re about to lose the entire time, we end up seeing the fate of Bo Peep, being given away by Andy and Molly’s mom. The action packed scene ends on a somber note, with Woody saying good bye to Bo Peep in the middle of a storm in the driveway.
  • In the video above, Toy Story 4 Story Supervisor Valerie LaPointe and Story Lead Yung-Han Chang walk us through the process of storyboarding the opening scene. They point out many subliminal tricks that they use, such as making the toy faces more clear than the human ones, so the viewer connects more with the toy.
  • One thing the pair points out is that they had to play the scene with nuance, considering at that point in time Woody would never leave Andy and how hard they wanted Bo Peep to try and convince Woody to come with her.
  • Another little movie magic trick they used to show that Bo is a strong leader, equal to Woody, is by placing the pair symmetrically, or equally, in frame when the two were shown together during the scene. Those who have seen previous Toy Story films already know Woody and Bo have a connection, but take the words away and the way Bo adjusts his hat is another subconscious way of saying “There's something here between these two.”

  • What the pair DOESN’T talk about, sadly, is how or why this is the only Toy Story film that doesn’t open up with some kind of “playtime” scene. Toy Story we see Andy playing with Woody, Toy Story 2 sees the video game with Rex playing as Buzz Lightyear, and in Toy Story 3 we see the highly imaginative scene based on Andy’s playtime from Toy Story 2.
  • Toy Story fans who scoured every inch of the Toy Story 4 Blu-Ray also know this isn’t the opening they had in mind from the beginning, as a deleted scene suggests an opening in the “playtime” tradition where we see Bonnie in the playtime sequence fighting alongside Woody fighting off winged monsters made from books.
  • Of course, anyone who has seen the final version of Toy Story 4 knows this is remarkably different than the story we ended up seeing with Woody trapped in a closet during playtime with the likes of Melephant Brooks and Carl Rhino.
  • You can watch a portion of “Operation Pull Toy” below, and watch the entire film streaming on Disney+. 

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