Andy's toys are back, only this time they're not with Andy anymore. When we last saw Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the rest of the gang in Toy Story 3, Andy was going to college and had to give them up by passing them on to a new kid — a little girl named Bonnie. Now, about nine years after we saw Andy bid farewell to his favorite toys, Toy Story 4, out June 21, ushers in a new era for the toys. And while you may need a little recap before watching this new installment to the classic Pixar film franchise, you don't really have to watch Toy Story 3 before Toy Story 4.
In the film, Bonnie makes a new friend in school, like literally makes a new friend. Forky (Tony Hale) is an art project that Bonnie constructs out of a spork, some fuzzy wire, googly eye stickers, and popsicle sticks. Woody and the gang give a warm welcome to the new addition to the gang, but Forky questions his purpose and winds up getting lost on the road with Woody. When the two find the paradise that is the world of lost toys, even Woody begins to have an existential crisis.
This story is basically a fresh start for the toys, and a totally different adventure that is pretty unrelated to any of their past escapades when they were still Andy's toys in the past three films. So you really don't have to put yourself through the emotional rollercoaster that was Toy Story 3 in order to understand Toy Story 4. You only need to be familiar with the premise of Toy Story in general, and know that Bonnie's the new kid. The only other thing even huge fans of the movies might be wondering about is how Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who we last saw in Toy Story 2, wound up lost.
The answer to that question isn't in Toy Story 3, as Bo isn't even mention. However, Toy Story 4 provides a flashback that explains how Bo wound up getting lost.
“Being a baby lamp, she’s given away a lot sooner than other toys,” Toy Story story supervisor Valerie LaPointe told D23. “Once that little girl turns five or six years old, she’s like, ‘That’s for babies. I don’t want it anymore.’” This means that while the other toys stay with Andy well into before he moves for college, Bo was already with another kid, then eventually embarking on a journey all on her own. And that's how Andy winds up running into her again as he tries to get Forky back to Bonnie.
And while it's not a requirement to watch Toy Story 3 before seeing the new film, you may want to brush up on all three existing movies in the series, since this may be the very last we see of these characters. But if you don't, you won't be confused, and you can still enjoy Toy Story 4 as an adventure that stands on its own.