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Toy Story 4 footage reveals the exact moment a toy gains consciousness

Let’s interrogate the very notion of sentience, why don’t we?

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

The newest television spot for Toy Story 4 starts off pretty harmless enough. Bonnie makes a craft in kindergarten, lovingly applies googly eyes on it and then hugs it, and tosses it into her backpack. Woody jokingly talks to the spork, but then the spork’s eyes shift and — gasp! It’s alive!

We already saw Forky and the greater questions of his existence in previous trailers, but this new footage shows us the exact moment he gains consciousness. Judging by Woody’s reaction, he’s not familiar with everyday objects suddenly gaining sentience. Neither is Forky, who never asked to be made. (Relatable, Forky, relatable.)

Toy Story 4 is already shaping up to be the most existential movie of the entire saga. If the concept of toys readying themselves for what happens when their owners grow up hit hard, then you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Instead of interrogating the ever-elusive “what comes next” of the toys — which the original three movies did with grace, packing a bittersweet ending with Toy Story 3, where Andy leaves his beloved toys to Bonnie, passing on their legacy and growing up, Toy Story 4 seeks to interrogate the “why” of the matter: Why do toys have consciousness? Why are toys?

If you make a stack of Lego into a person-shape, name it Brick, and play around with it, do all the Lego become one sentient being? What happens when you destroy it?

And what about Sid from the first Toy Story, who also created his toys — albeit by mutilating existing toys and piecing them back together? Is the reason those toys can’t speak because they are made up from parts of existing toys, thus their consciousness is a collective and no one voice rules over? What would this mean for Bonnie’s creation if one of the parts happened to be from a stray old toy?! Is it merely the presence of googly eyes that kicks the spork into living? Or is it the warm, loving hug from Bonnie?

All this and more will be revealed in Toy Story 4, coming to theaters June 21.

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