Forky in Toy Story 4

When you have a set of established, beloved characters in any film franchise, it can be difficult to create new characters for audiences to fall for in the same way. That’s especially true when it comes to a film series as revered as Pixar’s Toy Story. Not only does the animation team have to come up with a character that fits in with the group of toys we know and love, but they need to have some kind of significance to justify their existence within the story. So what makes Forky in Toy Story 4 so special?

/Film’s Jacob Hall sat down with Toy Story voice actor Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development) to talk about his new homemade character Forky (the full interview will run soon) and why he matters in the grand scheme of the Toy Story franchise. The introduction of Forky in Toy Story 4 isn’t just about selling more toys, and audiences have already found something special about him based on the trailers alone.

Perhaps what makes the introduction of Forky in Toy Story 4 so satisfying is that Tony Hale clearly loves this character. He explains exactly what captivated him about this makeshift toy:

“Yeah, I’m crazy about Forky. He was pitched to me as the first homemade toy that was made. Bonnie obviously makes him in her school. Because of that, he doesn’t understand the rules of the universe. He doesn’t understand that all the toys drop down when humans walk in. He’s very…I wouldn’t even say he’s confused, but he’s unashamed at asking a ton of questions. He’s like ‘What’s this? What’s happening? Why are you guys dropping? I want to go to the trash. I was made for soup. I don’t know why you’re putting this toy identity on me.’ Everything was new, and he just had a very fresh look on the world all the time.”

Being the newcomer to the franchise, Tony Hale had some real life inspiration for how Forky must have felt coming into this established group of toys. The actor recalled:

“If I’m honest, it was very easy to use where I was coming from, because I was new to the franchise, I didn’t know what was going on, I was overwhelmed, even the fact that they asked me. So I was able to use a lot of that. ‘I don’t know what’s going on. Let’s just keep walking.’”

Toy Story 4

Even though Forky is the new “toy” on the scene, it didn’t take long for fans on the internet to embrace him, mostly because of the way he saw himself. Forky calls himself trash in the trailers, thinking that he’s not meant to be a toy, and that sparked a reaction on social media where people posted, jokingly but with a flair of truth, that they felt the same way. That was something that really touched Tony Hale immediately and it hits home the importance of Forky in the Toy Story franchise:

“Aww. I love that you said that, because I think one of my favorite things about – I don’t think Pixar just makes message pieces, they tell a story, but the message that’s come out of this is Forky saw himself as just trash. But Woody steps in and says, ‘No, you have a bigger purpose than that.’ Everybody has purpose. Everybody has worth. I think people out there who see themselves as trash, maybe people have talked to them like trash – they’re not. This movie shows that everybody has worth, and the worth to be loved. Forky is a shining example [of that].”

We probably all feel a little like Forky every now and then. But Woody knows best. We all have purpose. We all have worth. It might sound a little trite, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Toy Story 4 hits theaters starting with sneak preview screenings this evening and opens everywhere June 21, 2019.

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