Many people thought the last time they would see Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of Andy’s toys would be in 2010’s Toy Story 3. However, those beloved toys got one final send-off (for now) with Toy Story 4, released in 2019. To come back after a successful trilogy was no easy feat, but as the Toy Story 4 script proves, Pixar had a strong story they needed to tell. With tons of new characters and great quotes (as well as a tear-jerking ending), some franchises are meant to be tetralogies.

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Toy Story 4 PDF Download

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Toy Story 4 Script Teardown - Stephany Folsom Headshot - Andrew Shanton
Toy Story 4 Script Teardown - Stephany Folsom Headshot

WHO WROTE Toys story 4 SCRIPT?

Written by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom

Andrew Stanton has been with Pixar since the beginning. He joined the studio in 1990, the ninth employee hired overall. He was hired as an animator and went on to write many of their hit films like A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo. He’s also directed WALL-E as well as the Disney film John Carter.

Stephany Folsom rose to prominence with her spec script titled 1969: A Space Odyssey, or How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon, a screenplay based on the conspiracy that Stanley Kubrick directed the moon landing. She went on to receive a “Story by” credit for Thor: Ragnarok, and she co-wrote Toy Story 4. She’ll also serve as the showrunner for the upcoming Paper Girls series, based on Brian K. Vaughn’s comic book series.



Toy Story is one of the best animated films of all time. How do you carry on such a legacy? Let’s take a look how by examining the story structure for the Toy Story 4 original script:


Toy Story 4 begins with an exciting rescue sequence. It ends with Bo Peep being sold. Bo wants Woody to come with her, but he can’t just leave Andy.

Inciting Incident

When it’s Bonnie’s playtime, she picks up Woody only to take his badge and leave him in the closet. Now, it’s clear Woody belongs to a kid who doesn’t really want him.

Plot Point One

Bonnie creates Forky, her new favorite toy.

Rising Action

While on vacation with Bonnie’s family, Woody and Forky find themselves in an antique shop where they meet Gabby Gabby. She makes her villainous intentions known when she expresses interest in acquiring Woody’s voicebox.


Woody’s conversation with Bo Peep could be considered the midpoint. Bo talks at length about how great it is to not have a kid and how the entire world is open to her now. This is a critical moment in the Toy Story 4 plot as it directly challenges ideas Woody has held onto throughout the franchise.

Plot Point Two

Woody, Bo, and a cavalcade of new characters like Ducky, Bunny, and Duke Caboom, stage an elaborate plan to rescue Forky from Gabby Gabby’s clutches.

Build Up

Woody willingly surrenders his voicebox. He then helps Gabby Gabby try to make it to Bonnie, but in the carnival, she ends up with another young girl who takes her in as her own toy.


In an emotional climax, Woody decides to stay with Bo Peep at the carnival.


The movie ends with the audience seeing Woody, Bo, and their new friends helping kids at a carnival win toys to go home and play with.

Toy Story 4 Script Takeaway #1

Toy Story 4 quotes are actually heavy

It may be a children’s movie, but the Toy Story 4 writers weren’t afraid to insert some pretty heavy subject matter in the plot. For starters, the film is obsessed with some central ideas prevalent to the philosophy of existentialism. This is a philosophy about individuals being free agents to determine their own development through free will.

If that sounds like an intense Toy Story 4 summary, dealing with adult themes is par for the course for your typical Pixar storytelling formula.

In the beginning of the film, Woody and Forky are toys out of place. Woody, who used to be Andy’s prized possession, is unwanted by Bonnie. Forky believes he needs to go in the trash, but he learns to be a toy. They both use their free will to determine their own path in life rather than the path typically assigned to their beings.

This theme of taking charge of your own life is exemplified in many of the quotes. For example, Forky begins the film unable to say anything other than, “Trash.”

Toy Story 4 Quotes  •  Forky’s Introduction  •  Read Full Scene Here

Forkey is made of trash. He belongs in the trash can. However, due to Bonnie’s intervention and creativity, he becomes a plaything. This doesn’t stop Forky from trying to pursue his preordained destiny by constantly trying to throw himself in the nearest trash receptacle.

Forky and Woody  •  Toy Story 4 Characters

Your film’s dialogue is the most straightforward way to express your film’s themes. While this is most evident in the Forky arc, we can also see it with Woody. One of his most poignant lines is, “I was made to help a child. I don't remember it being this hard.”

For much of the film, Woody believes he needs to stay with Bonnie even though being that kind of toy no longer brings him happiness.

This idea of “What you were born to do” vs. “What you want to do” can also be seen with Duke Caboom. When he tells his backstory, one of his lines is, “I was ready to finally do what I was made to do.” As toys, these characters were literally made to do something. But that may not be what they want to do now.

When writing your own script, focus on how you can draw parallels between certain characters’ arcs from what they say.

Toy Story 4 Script Takeaway #2

Toy Story 4 characters show their depth

Since this is the fourth film in the franchise, we’re already well-acquainted with the likes of Woody, Buzz, and Bo. Even past characters who even appeared in just one Toy Story movie, like Barbie and Ken from Toy Story 3, have specific connotations in the audience’s mind. But let’s look at the new characters in Toy Story 4.

The film introduces us to Duke Caboom, a toy who was thrown away because he couldn’t jump as far as in his commercial. We learn this information in a sad (but kind of funny) flashback sequence.

Toy Story 4 Characters  •  Duke Caboom  •  Read Full Scene Here

Duke Caboom’s backstory parallels Woody’s in that they’ve both been neglected by kids. And then of course, we have the antagonist, Gabby Gabby. She’s always wanted to have a kid to play with, but no one’s wanted her because her voicebox is broken. And even when she gets Woody’s voicebox, a young girl still just tosses her aside.

Gabby Gabby’s Rejection  •  Toy Story 4 Characters

What’s the purpose of these new characters? After all, there are fan favorites like Rex, Ham, and Jessie who are really sidelined for most of the film.

These new characters help guide and inform us about Woody’s journey. Through these other toys, Woody sees how others have reacted to being rejected by children, just as he’s been neglected by Bonnie. Therefore, when we reach the climax and Woody decides to become a “lost toy,” we understand why he made that decision.

There’s no wrong way to be a toy. Woody had his time in the sun, and now, he can help other toys like Duke and Gabby Gabby find homes of their own.

Toy Story 4 Script Takeaway #3

The heartbreaking Toy Story 4 ending

Many fans considered Toy Story 3 to be a perfect ending. With the announcement of a fourth movie, many people wondered what story they could tell that would be worthy of capping off such an iconic set of films. Toy Story 4 makes a bold decision, and it ends with Buzz letting Woody know it’s okay to leave Bonnie.

Toy Story 4 Ending  •  Woody Says Goodbye  •  Read Full Scene Here

Many viewers thought this ending was a betrayal of Woody’s idealism in earlier installments. Even Buzz in Toy Story 2 tells Woody, “Life’s only worth living if you’re bein’ loved by a kid.” Woody has a similar decision in that film because he can choose to go back to Andy or become part of a museum’s collection. In that movie, he decides to stick with Andy because Andy still loves him.

But characters have to grow. What happens when Andy goes away and Woody is stuck in a closet? His idealism and idea of what kind of life is worth living is put into question.

Toy Story 4 Ending

The Toy Story 4 characters may be toys, but they deal with real human problems. Many people go through life believing they’re meant to do one thing. They think they’re supposed to be in a certain relationship or have a certain career. But life doesn’t always pan out the way we want it to.

The Toy Story 4 ending doesn’t sugarcoat how painful it can be to go against beliefs you’ve always held. But when you’re willing to take a chance, you can have the life you deserve and find happiness even after you’ve already lived quite a life.


Read and download more scripts

Toy Story 4 was written by people who knew they had to make a reason for a fourth film to exist, and finding a reason to exist is precisely what the movie is about. If you want to continue reading screenplays with powerful themes, we have similar animated titles like Coco, Shrek, and Frozen in our screenplay database. Browse and download PDFs for all of our scripts as you read, write, and practice your craft to become the next great screenwriter.

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