Once in a while, you come across a moment in a story that is so perfect that it stays in with you for years, or even a lifetime. These are moments that, in my opinion, are flawless; perfect gems of storytelling that cannot be improved in any way, and are a joy to treasure and revisit again and again.
Why it’s Perfect
Like many people, I was surprised and a little dismayed with the recent announcement that we’re getting another Toy Story sequel. Not because I hate the series, but because Toy Story 3 already had a perfect ending that tied everything up. Then Toy Story 4 came along and undid it all, and had an ending that had nowhere near the emotional weight it was going for. The thought of Pixar trying to undo that makes it seem like Disney is just trying to wring more money out of a story that should have ended for good over twelve years ago.
While it probably will be nothing like this fan-made pitch on what Toy Story 5 should be about, the idea here is fascinating: if Toy Story 3 was about accepting the inevitability of loss, and Toy Story 4 was about eventually finding a new path for yourself once your purpose in life is complete, then Toy Story 5 should logically be about accepting the inevitability of death. This pitch does a great job of setting that up… and then it ends with a scene that would be the most powerful, most emotional, and most heartbreaking thing Pixar has EVER done. If you haven’t seen the video yet, please do so before reading any further.
Done? Okay then.
The thought of Toy Story 5 ending with Woody reuniting with an elderly Andy on his deathbed, and Andy realizing that Woody is alive is an idea that’s so simple, but emotionally powerful. After decades apart, two old friends reunite for the last time, and Woody breaks the golden rule of toys to never reveal themselves as being alive to comfort Andy on his deathbed. And for a little while, the two reminisce about their lives before both of them pass away together of old age.
Pixar is almost certainly going to do something different than this idea, but if they went with this, it would be the perfect way to end the series for good. At its core, the Toy Story saga is about a toy’s relationship with his owner. And while they naturally grow apart as the series goes on, having them reunite at the very end shows how both have grown and changed, yet the love they have for each other is still there. As the the series’ theme song says, ‘our friendship will never die.’ It faded as time went on, but bloomed in full at the very end.