For just a moment, we’re going to ignore all the behind-the-scenes drama that’s gone down at Pixar over the past year. We’re also going to stop thinking about the production issues Toy Story 4 has endured. Instead, we’re just going to ask a simple question: Who the heck is Forky?!
In the brand-new teaser for Toy Story 4, which Pixar released today to the delightful surprise of anyone with a soul, our favorite gang of toys is joined by a new sentient object. But he’s not a race car or an action figure or even a a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy. He’s something else entirely.
Many fans have taken to Twitter to express their fascination with Forky, a googly-eyed plastic spork with red pipe cleaners for arms. Veep‘s Tony Hale voices the character, who shrieks in the teaser, “I don’t belong here!” So what’s the deal with this guy who is most definitely not a toy?
Director Josh Cooley explained that he is a spork craft project created by Bonnie, the little girl that Andy gave all of his toys to at the end of Toy Story 3. Despite the fact that Bonnie treats Forky like any other toy, he clearly doesn’t think he fits in—which is forcing us to emotionally brace ourselves for his untimely demise after he learns some valuable life lessons. This is Pixar, after all, the only studio solely dedicated to making adults cry.
“The world of Toy Story is built upon the idea that everything in the world has a purpose,” Cooley said in a statement. “A toy’s purpose is to be there for its child. But what about toys that are made out of other objects? Forky is a toy that Bonnie made out of a disposable spork, so he’s facing a crisis. He wants to fulfill his purpose as a spork, but now has a new toy purpose thrust upon him.”
Pixar has always prided itself on sneaking complex themes into kids movies. The Toy Story franchise itself has raised big and important questions regarding our purpose in life and accepting who we are deep down (“You are a TOY!”).
Undoubtedly, Toy Story 4 will tap back into those themes while mixing in some more mature meditations on the world. Forky, please don’t break our hearts.