Pixar may have devalued its brand slightly with the tepidly reviewed Cars 2, but that “value” is only in the ephemeral sense of critical perception, and you can’t buy houses with that. You can, however, buy them with the millions that the sequel and its attendant merchandising are likely to make, and so it probably should not be surprising to hear that the studio would take a cue from its Disney owners and fully embrace the franchising of all its properties—even if that franchising involves a fourth Toy Story. Yes, while the third film pulled off the seemingly impossible by not only bringing the characters and their stories to a satisfying emotional conclusion and garnering a Best Picture nod and generating over a billion dollars and growing, thereby setting the fourth film up for a potentially massive disappointment, there’s apparently talk of a sequel anyway.
However, so far the “talk” is just that, as this news is all based on a single response that Tom Hanks gave during an international press junket for Larry Crowne. Having politely pretended to care about that film for an obligatory 90 seconds, a BBC reporter then moved on to asking whether there would be a Toy Story 4, to which a blithe and sorta loopy Hanks replied, “I think there will be, yeah. They’re working on it now.” And that’s that. And while it was revealed last year that Tim Allen had signed on for another one, and Pixar has always been very open about trying to keep the characters alive—though primarily through short films, or so we thought—none of this necessarily means that a fourth feature really is in the works yet. But with every Cars 2 beach towel you buy, the gear clicks forward.