SPOILERS for Toy Story 4 ahead.
Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley has revealed the film's alternate ending, which would've taken Woody and Bo's story in a much different direction. After Toy Story 3 concluded with a tear-jerking scene in which Andy bids farewell to his beloved toys, most filmgoers reasonably assumed the Toy Story franchise was done for good (as far as feature-length movies go). As a result, there was a lot of skepticism surrounding Toy Story 4 when it was announced, and even more of it after the sequel went though some major changes during production (resulting in most of the original script being tossed out).
In the end, though, Pixar managed to deliver the goods yet again, as Toy Story 4 ended up grossing over $1 billion worldwide (nearly matching Toy Story 3's global take). More importantly, the film received largely positive reviews, with many critics agreeing that it provided an unexpected, yet altogether necessary conclusion to Woody's journey that was thematically stronger than the ending provided by Toy Story 3. However, it turns out the movie originally wrapped up on a far different (and, frankly, less satisfying) note.
Among the bonus features that will be included on Toy Story 4's upcoming home-entertainment release is a video that reveals the film's alternate ending in storyboard form, following an introduction by Cooley. In this version, Woody and Bo Peep didn't end up together; rather, Bo decided to give up her owner-less life after realizing that "the kid from the store" (presumably, the character Harmony) is the one for her. Woody responds by giving her one final hug and saying farewell, presumably before returning to his life with the other toys and their new owner Bonnie. The video isn't available in embeddable form yet, but you can check it out over at EW.
Clearly, a lot changed between Toy Story 4's alternate ending being storyboarded and the final film. In the actual movie, Bo barely acknowledges Harmony - the little girl who visits the antique shop where she's been living - at all, and the toy character Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) is the one who spends much of the story hoping to win Harmony's affections. But more than that, the alternate ending fundamentally clashes with the larger theme in the final version of Toy Story 4. The whole film is about Woody's inability to cope with change, as he struggles to accept that he's simply never going to have a relationship with Bonnie like the one he had with Andy. When he ultimately reunites with Bo and is presented with the chance to lead a new life with her as an ownerless toy, Woody (with a little push from his old pal Buzz Lightyear) finally realizes that it's time for him to move on and join Bo.
In doing so, Toy Story 4 itself finally answers a question that was first raised all the way back in Toy Story 2 ("How do we handle change?") and "fixes" Toy Story 3's false ending to Woody's story. Of course, that wouldn't have been the case had Toy Story 4 concluded with Bo deciding that life with just one kid was the right path for her after all, and Woody leaving her behind to return to being Bonnie's toy. Cooley and his team clearly recognized that at some point during the film's development, thankfully, and went with the more appropriate ending featured in Toy Story 4 proper. All the same, theses sorts of behind the scenes glimpses into the making of a movie (especially an animated Pixar feature) are always fascinating in their own right.
Toy Story 4 becomes available On Digital starting Tuesday, October 1, followed by its Blu-ray release a week later on October 8.