Pixar's Canadian animators were eagerly volunteering to work on Toy Story 4's Duke Caboom. Despite Pixar insisting that there were no plans for another Toy Story movie after the third film was released in 2010, Toy Story 4 hit theaters earlier this week. Reuniting the core franchise cast members for another adventure, Toy Story 4 has received typically glowing reviews thus far and looks every bit like another Pixar success story. The latest installment also introduces a whole bunch of fascinating new characters including the anthropomorphic utensil Forky, carnival prize duo Ducky and Bunny and the returning Bo Peep, voiced by Annie Potts.
Another new face gaining plenty of popularity among fans is Duke Caboom. Voiced by the undisputed man of the moment, Keanu Reeves, Caboom is a stuntman toy of proud Canadian heritage, who feels the pressure of having to live up to the high standards set by his own action-packed TV commercial. Producer, Jonas Rivera, revealed prior to the release of Toy Story 4 that Keanu Reeves was very much involved in the development and evolution of Duke Caboom's character and added plenty of depth to Pixar's original vision for the self-aware Canadian daredevil.
Mark Nielsen, also a producer on Toy Story 4, has now revealed that Pixar's Canadian animators were lining up to work on Duke Caboom, and so the character ended up being almost entirely animated by his fellow countrymen. Speaking at an Orlando press conference (via CinemaBlend), Nielsen stated:
"There’s a lot of great Canadians who work at Pixar too and they all volunteered to animate all of the Duke Caboom shots. So, he’s mostly animated by Canadian animators. The 'maple leaf crew.'"
The reveal that Duke Caboom, a character that riffs on certain Canadian stereotypes and makes several references to his heritage, was entirely created by Pixar's Canadian contingent certainly adds an element of authenticity to the character. When a key element of a comedic character is their country of origin, there can often be a thin line between what is and isn't acceptable in the modern era of film, and having Canadian animators involved in Duke Caboom's creation likely helped keep the character on the right side of that divide.
Unfortunately, Duke Caboom fans may not have another chance to see their favorite new stuntman in action, as Pixar have confirmed a focus on original movies over the next few years. Fortunately, that isn't to say that another Toy Story movie, or even another short film like Toy Story of Terror, won't emerge at some point and given that internet memes seem to suggest Keanu Reeves is ageless, there's no doubt the actor would be game for reprising his Toy Story 4 character whenever a potential future installment came around.