Keanu Reeves Voices a Character in ‘Toy Story 4’

May this Golden Age of Keanu Reeves never end. Despite having an oscillating relationship with movie critics over the quality of his chosen skillset, the actor who rose to fame starring as dopey bros and dazed heroes definitively re-entered the pop culture space after the release of the cheeky and bloody action franchise John Wick. And outside of movies, Reeves constantly makes for perfect meme fodder as well. Keanu Doing Things is the best place to find a relatable reaction image (like these), while no one can forget the effort to Cheer-up Keanu.

What do all of these things have in common? The combination of angst and humor. Despite the fact that Reeves doesn’t always take himself too seriously, we love seeing him take on excessively broody characters, especially in the post-John Wick era. Throw in a good dose of action, making full use of his proclivity for convincing and badass physicality, plus some much-needed dry levity and voila! The ideal Reeves movie is born.

Thus, it’s hardly any surprise that the specter of John Wick continues to follow Reeves with each new project, despite the fact that this one, in particular, is far more wholesome in comparison. During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, Tim Allen revealed that Reeves would be part of the ensemble cast for Toy Story 4. Specifically, he will voice one of the toys.

Allen, who voices Buzz Lightyear in Pixar’s premiere animated film franchise, vaguely outlines the film as a whole in his interview with Jimmy Fallon. He touches on the emotional stakes of the sequel (“I had to turn around from reading [the screenplay] in the studio, it was so emotional”) as well as hints at certain characters, especially the one voiced by Reeves. According to Allen:

“Characters came back [for ‘Toy Story 4′]. New guys [are] in it that are great. Keanu Reeves has got a great part. Actually, a little inside story, even [Reeves] said — gentle, wonderful guy that he is — ‘This sounds too much like Buzz Lightyear.’ And his character does have an edge to that. And the guy said, ‘So we calmed him down a little bit,’ and they reminded me his toy is only that big.”

Upon saying such, Allen affirms his assessment of Reeves’ secret character by gesturing to a minutely-sized toy using his thumb and index finger. His own ensuing euphemistic jokes aside, it’s easy to recall the bucket of Green Army Men from earlier Toy Story installments from his description. And playing one of those characters shouldn’t be a huge problem for Reeves, whose typically hoarse intonation would suit the role of a soldier with an “edge.” The Green Army Men have had considerably less to do with each passing sequel, as well, and the thought of Reeves reviving them in Toy Story 4 is worth entertaining.

Nevertheless, we don’t have to assume that Reeves will play a familiar face. In the absence of basically any concrete information about his involvement in this Pixar universe, the Internet has been more than willing to get creative with fanart to satiate fan curiosities. The extremely talented BossLogic, whose edits of superheroes have earned praise and recognition online, basically put out the best Toy Story and John Wick mash-up that nobody knew we needed.

In the piece, we return to what looks like Sid’s sinister bedroom from the first Toy Story. A Frankensteined toy lurks in the corner while poor Slinky Dog is literally shredded to pieces. Meanwhile, a perfectly rendered John Wick action figure is poised above him, ready to seek revenge. The best part about BossLogic’s work is that as heartwrenching and intense as this fake poster is, the Toy Story franchise has brutally endangered its eponymous toys enough times over three existing movies that injecting this strong sense of fear into the series is kind of a no-brainer. With or without fountains of blood.

I definitely enjoyed how the Toy Story 4 teaser that dropped earlier this month flawlessly eases fans back into the franchise. It’s an adorable reintroduction to our favorite characters dreamily frolicking hand-in-hand against the classic cloudy backdrop that is quintessentially Toy Story. That said, Reeves’ unique cinematic brand paired with his salient image online awakens even more engagement with Toy Story 4 that I initially thought possible. The actor has definitely done outright silly things in the past (and will keep unabashedly doing so). However, his meme-ability gives him an Internet-age currency unlike any other. Reeves is simply a marvelous addition to any franchise.

Here are more Keanu Reeves in Toy Story 4 ideas:

Sheryl Oh: @sherhorowitz Often chugging tea and thinking about horror movies. Particularly loves writing stuff and things with a feminist bent here at Film School Rejects.