Lightyear is now out in cinemas, allowing Pixar fans the chance to catch the most unique movie in the Toy Story saga yet. As has been stressed by the cast and crew in the run-up to its release, Lightyear is a film that exists within the Toy Story universe, as the intention is that this sci-fi adventure starring the “real” Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger for Star Command, is the blockbuster flick that inspired the Buzz toy craze that we see unfold in the first Toy Story.
This means that, if you wanted to watch the Toy Story franchise in chronological order, Lightyear should be at the top of the list. But how does everything else fit together in the right sequence? Though you might think it pretty easy to work out how to watch the films, given that they’re numbered one to four, there are actually various spinoffs from the mainline Toy Story movies that complicate the correct viewing order.
But, don’t worry, you’ve got a friend in us — here’s a complete guide on how to revisit every single item in the Toy Story franchise in order. The good news is that (almost) all of them are available to stream on Disney Plus so you can start an epic Toy Story binge immediately upon coming home from seeing Lightyear in cinemas.
‘Toy Story’ (1995)
Obviously, once you’ve seen Lightyear on the big screen, you should revisit where it all began — the OG Toy Story, which introduced us to Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the rest of Andy’s toys.
‘Toy Story 2’ (1999)
Likewise, the next step is Toy Story 2, the first follow-up to the original film that followed four years later and sees Woody discover the truth about his origins. It also introduced key new characters like Jessie (Joan Cusack), Bullseye, and Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris).
‘Lamp Life’ (2020)
Woody’s love interest Bo Peep (Annie Potts) disappeared in Toy Story 3 before 4 saw the cowboy doll reunite with her. Lamp Life, a short film released exclusively on Disney Plus, fills in the blanks and revealed what happened to Bo after the events of Toy Story 2.
‘Toy Story 3’ (2010)
From here, the chronology returns to the mainline films as Toy Story 3 picks things up with the toys years after the events of Toy Story 2. Andy (John Morris) hands his toys over to Bonnie (Emily Hahn), which has a major impact on the franchise going forward.
‘Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation’ (2011)
Pixar released a trio of short films titled Toy Story Toons in 2011 and 2012 which were played in theaters alongside Disney releases. First up was Hawaiian Vacation, about Ken (Michael Keaton) and Barbie (Jodi Benson) enjoying a staycation, which came out in tandem with Cars 2.
‘Toy Story Toons: Small Fry’ (2011)
The second Toy Story Toons was Small Fry, released alongside The Muppets, concerning a fast-food toy version of Buzz causing havoc in Bonnie’s room. The short is notable for being helmed by future Lightyear director Angus MacLane.
‘Toy Story Toons: Partysaurus Rex’ (2012)
Partysaurus Rex, the final Toy Story Toon, puts the titular neurotic T-Rex (Wallace Shawn) in the spotlight as he gets left in the bathroom and befriends Bonnie’s bath toys. This one played in front of the theatrical re-release of Finding Nemo.
‘Toy Story of Terror!’ (2013)
After Toy Story Toons, the franchise switched to good old-fashioned cable TV specials for a short while. First up was Halloween special Toy Story of Terror, which followed Jessie having to escape after she’s kidnapped by a greedy motel owner. Carl Weathers features as Combat Carl.
‘Toy Story That Time Forgot’ (2014)
The second, and to date final, Toy Story TV special, which aired in December 2014, is Toy Story That Time Forgot. When Bonnie takes them along to a playdate at a friend’s house, Rex and Trixie (Kristen Schall) encounter the super-cool Battlesaur action figures, led by Kevin McKidd as Reptillus Maximus.
‘Toy Story 4’ (2019)
After the TV specials comes Toy Story 4, which appears to bring Woody’s journey to a close as he elects to leave Bonnie and the other toys to settle down with Bo and join the carnival. New characters include Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), Bunny (Jordan Peele), and Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key).
‘Forky Asks a Question’ (2020)
The breakout of Toy Story 4‘s new additions, however, has to be Forky (Tony Hale), who proved so popular he got his own shortform spinoff series a year later. Set after the film’s events, the show sees the makeshift toy asking his friends various questions about life and existence.
Not on Disney Plus:
While every previous entry in the saga, excepting Lightyear, is available on Disney Plus at the time of writing, a few older pieces of Toy Story media sadly aren’t, which makes them a little bit harder to track down. Likewise, this also makes their canon status somewhat questionable. Still, for the sakes of completeness, here they are:
‘Toy Story Treats’ (1996)
In the wake of the first movie’s release, Pixar produced a series of shorts that were used as interstitials on ABC’s Saturday Morning programming block. Pat Fraley replaced Allen as Buzz while Jim Hanks filled in for his brother, Tom, as Woody. Toy Story Treats aren’t on streaming, but they can be readily found on YouTube.
‘Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins’ (2000)
Before Lightyear there was Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, a 2D-animated movie about the adventures of the “real” Buzz. The CGI-animated opening features Woody, Buzz, and the gang sitting down to watch the movie, confirming it exists in-universe. Angus MacLane has suggested Star Command was a cartoon spinoff of Lightyear.
‘Buzz Lightyear of Star Command’ (2000-2001)
The Adventure Begins served as a straight-to-video pilot for the Star Command animated series, which saw Buzz (Patrick Warburton) and his team battling Zurg (Toy Story 2‘s Al, Wayne Knight). Though the movie is available on disc, the series itself is extremely tricky to find these days due to Disney’s frustrating refusal to put it on streaming. Fingers crossed it’ll happen eventually.