Disney-Pixar have confirmed that Keanu Reeves is voicing a character called Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4. Twenty-four years after Woody the Cowboy first met Buzz Lightyear, the two enemies-turned lifelong friends and the rest of the Toy Story gang are back for another adventure on the big screen. Toy Story 4 has gone through some big changes behind the scenes over the course of its development, culminating with John Lasseter's departure as co-director and the film's release date being delayed from June 2018 to 2019. Fortunately, it's been much smoother sailing for the sequel since then.
Marketing for Toy Story 4 got underway last November with a pair of teasers that introduced some of the new characters in the film, like the spork-turned sentient toy Forky (Tony Hale). Disney and Pixar have since released a Super Bowl promo and full-length trailer that further shine a light on Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who reunites with Woody in Toy Story 4 after the pair were separated sometime between Toy Story 2 & 3. The official trailer further highlights some of the movie's brand-new characters, including a certain toy voiced by John Wick himself.
Buzz voice actor Tim Allen announced Reeves' involvement with Toy Story 4 last November, but neglected to mention who (or what) he's voicing in the film. Disney-Pixar have now revealed that he's lending his vocals to Duke Caboom, a toy who shows up (very briefly) in the full-length Toy Story 4 trailer. Here's the character's official description, followed by the first still:
In the all-new story, Duke Caboom is a 1970s toy, based on Canada’s greatest stuntman, who Woody meets in an antique store. Riding his powerful Caboom stunt-cycle, Duke is always prepared to show off his stunt poses with confidence and swagger. However, Woody learns quickly that Duke has an Achilles heel: He has never been able to do the awesome stunts advertised in his own toy commercial. For years, Duke has been sitting in the antique store, constantly reliving the failures of his tragic past.
Reeves enjoyed a career resurgence some five years ago when he starred in the action-thriller John Wick and has since reprised the titular role twice (including, for this May's John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum). Obviously, his Toy Story 4 character will be a far cry from his role as "Baba Yaga" and should give Reeves a chance to flex his comedy muscles again, before he (possibly) reprises his role as Ted Logan in the long-awaited sequel, Bill & Ted Face the Music. According to Toy Story producer Jonas Rivera, Reeves was great fun to watch as he got into character for the Toy Story sequel. Here's the statement that Rivera issued on the subject:
“The first time [director Josh Cooley] and I talked with Keanu about the role, Keanu became Duke Caboom. Keanu was asking great questions that dug deep to find the soul of the character. At one point he stood up on the table in the middle of Pixar’s atrium and struck poses while proclaiming victory. It was so funny. It’s all in the movie and it’s all Keanu."
Of course, Reeves is also Canadian (or, rather, he grew up in Toronto), which makes his casting as Duke Caboom all the more fitting. It also sounds like the character has something of a tragic past, which is nothing uncommon for toys in the Toy Story franchise. Reeves has long had a special talent for both broad comedy and portraying characters who are lonely and/or struggling with their previous failures, so his role in Toy Story 4 sounds like a perfect match for the actor. Indeed, we wouldn't be at all surprised if Duke Caboom ends up being a scene-stealer.
- Toy Story 4 (2019) release date: Jun 21, 2019