Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley confirms the late Don Rickles will be the voice for Mr. Potato Head in the upcoming film. Rickles passed away in April 2017 at the age of 90 and had not recorded any of his dialogue for Pixar's latest sequel. Since Potato Head has been an integral member of the franchise's main ensemble since the 1995 original, it was widely expected he'd return in the fourth installment, but there were some questions regarding who would step into the role.
The situation seemed similar to what happened on Toy Story 3, where Blake Clark portrayed Slinky Dog, taking over for the late Jim Varney (who died in 2000). Earlier this year, a Toy Story 4 cast list apparently revealed a number possible new Potato Heads (including Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner), but fans were kept waiting for an official confirmation. Now, it's been revealed Rickles will continue to be the voice of Potato Head.
Cooley shared the news on his official Twitter account, posting an emotional message saying while Potato Head's parts are replaceable, "his voice is not." Check out his post in the space below:
“Some people say funny things, I say things funny.” -Don Rickles— Josh Cooley (@CooleyUrFaceOff) March 28, 2019
All of his pieces may be replaceable, but his voice is not. Honored he signed on for TS4, honored he’s in TS4. pic.twitter.com/Q7cTRSQNwh
Cooley didn't elaborate in his tweet, but it should be fairly obvious to most that Pixar is going to utilize archival recordings of Rickles to provide Mr. Potato Head's voice in Toy Story 4. In some respects, this is comparable to what J.J. Abrams is doing with old footage of the late Carrie Fisher as Leia for Star Wars: Episode IX. Considering Rickles has been a standout part of the Toy Story films since the beginning, it's nice to see that Cooley and his team found a way to include the comedy icon. Rickles was known for his distinct delivery and inflections, and anyone (no matter how talented) who tried to fill his shoes wouldn't be the same. Viewers can hear Rickles as the cantankerous toy for a brief moment in the new international trailer.
Though Mr. Potato Head is a key part of the family at the heart of Toy Story, he's always been a secondary player and the fourth movie is no different. The main narrative primarily focuses on Woody's existential crisis as he helps Forky adjust to life as a toy and reunites with a dramatically changed Bo Peep. Surely, Potato Head will have some moments in Toy Story 4, but the plot was never going to hinge on him. That likely made this an easier decision for Cooley and the team, and it'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.
Source: Josh Cooley
- Toy Story 4 (2019) release date: Jun 21, 2019