Spoilers for Toy Story 4
Members of the Toy Story 4 creative team attempt to answer the question if a toy can create life in the movie's universe. As has become par for the course for Pixar (and the Toy Story franchise in particular), Toy Story 4 was a vehicle used to contemplate some heady themes, such as existentialism, through the lens of family entertainment. Not only was Woody trying to adapt to his new place in the world and discover what makes him happy, newcomer Forky was coming to grips with his status as Bonnie's favorite toy. In Forky's mind, he was made for a single meal and then the trash, but now he's a living thing.
What makes Forky such an interesting character is that unlike the other toys in the franchise, he wasn't factory-made or store bought. Forky is an arts & crafts project Bonnie made at school, raising a truly fascinating question of what is a toy and what makes them come to life in the first place. It's a mystery fans have tried to solve since the original movie came out in 1995, and we tried to get to the bottom of it.
In our interviews with director Josh Cooley, producer Mark Nielsen, and star Tony Hale (who voices Forky in the film), we asked them if it'd be possible for Woody to create Forky. It's worth mentioning Woody was the one who (in secret) provided Bonnie with the art supplies to make Forky in the first place.
Mark Nielsen: He made it possible. He got everything out of the trash and provided it all to Bonnie, so maybe.
Josh Cooley: But I do think that - what I believe - is that because Bonnie put so much importance into this item and wrote her name on it he has a purpose now. And that purpose is what brought him to life.
Tony Hale: Wooo could Woody have created Forky... Oh my gosh now we're getting into it. Umm... I think prob... I don't know. Maybe. Because I love that question - this is why. Someone was asking me recently about his creation and why did that happen and it's because Bonnie gave value to these things and then brought that to life so I don't know if another toy can create it. But, you know, Toy Story 5...[Laughs]
The consensus seems to be Bonnie's love and affection is what brought Forky to life; at the time of his creation, she was in need of a friend to provide some comfort and security. By giving her creation a name and writing her own name on his feet, Forky became a very important figure in Bonnie's life. By that logic, if a toy was to create a toy, the situation would need to be similar, but it's hard to envision a turn of events where that would happen. The loneliest of toys place their priorities elsewhere, such as trying to find a kid of their own (like Ducky and Bunny) or finding a different purpose to make people happy (Stinky Pete's dream of being on display in the toy museum). Theoretically, it might be possible for a toy to make a toy, but that's a unique scenario the films have yet to depict.
And fans may never get the opportunity to see that scenario play out. Toy Story 4 is positioned as something of a definitive end to the entire series - whether one looks at it as an epilogue to the original trilogy or a proper ending to the overarching narrative. Pixar currently has no more sequels in development, choosing instead to focus on original programming like Onward and Soul. Much like how life was created in our world, this may just be one of Toy Story's greatest unsolved mysteries that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.