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Spoilers! Tom Hanks explains that surprising 'Toy Story 4' ending: 'It's pretty profound'

Spoiler alert!The following details the ending of “Toy Story 4,” so beware if you haven’t seen it yet.

Woody, Buzz and their plastic pals add new member Forky to their gang in “Toy Story 4” (in theaters now), but by the end of the animated movie, they’re saying adios to an all-timer.

Much of the new film focuses on Woody’s (voiced by Tom Hanks) adventure to rescue Forky (Tony Hale) from the creepy-doll clutches of Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) in a small-town antique shop, and along the way, Woody re-teams with more-than-just-a-friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who now enjoys the freedom of living as a lost toy after she and the pull-string sheriff had their emotional goodbye nine years prior.

Seriously, this is your last chance to bail out, because things are about to get super-spoilery. 

An action-packed climax at a nearby carnival ends in a happy finale for everyone, even Gabby Gabby. But it doesn’t include Woody driving off with Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and all his friends who grew up with Andy (see: the previous three “Toy Story” films) and now are there for Bonnie in her formative years.

Instead, Woody decides to seek the path not yet taken – at least for him – and hit the road with a new bunch that includes Bo, mini-cop Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki) and carnival prizes Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele). Woody chooses his own happiness and being with Bo rather than going back to Bonnie’s toy box, and the end-credits scene – with Ducky and Bunny going crazy with giving out gifts to kids – hints that this group has a fun future ahead. 

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It’s “a huge change of perception” for Woody that’s “not about closing a door on some other way of living. He doesn’t become a monk or something like that,” Hanks tells USA TODAY. “He goes off and forms this other bond with the outside world based on him being a toy and it’s pretty profound.”

Buzz’s emotional line to his departing buddy – “Bonnie will be fine” – doesn’t just mean that she’ll be OK without the heroic cowboy, Hanks says. “He’s saying she’ll be fine because she has us, and the truth is Woody does not have the bond with Bonnie that he had with Andy. So Bonnie is not going to be broken as Andy would have been if this had happened long before.

“To be alive is to be in a constant state of change,” the Oscar-winning actor adds. “How can it be that these movies about toys actually do teach us about what it is to be human beings? It’s extraordinary and my hat is off to the Pixar imagineers that make it happen.”

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  • Tom Hanks, left, poses with his character Woody as he arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM1531 of 37
  • Tim Allen arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM1262 of 37
  • US actress Annie Potts arrives for the world premiere of Toy Story 4 at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California on June 11, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1HF84Y3 of 37
  • Canadian-US actor Keanu Reeves arrives for the world premiere of Toy Story 4 at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California on June 11, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1HF8ED4 of 37
  • Christina Hendricks arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM1665 of 37
  • Keegan-Michael Key, left, and Elisa Pugliese arrive at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM1726 of 37
  • Tony Hale arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM1067 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Ally Maki attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349890 ORIG FILE ID: 11553239128 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Jay Hernandez attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349881 ORIG FILE ID: 11553240749 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Wallace Shawn attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349890 ORIG FILE ID: 115532463610 of 37
  • Bonnie Hunt arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM14911 of 37
  • Actress Madeleine McGraw arrives for the world premiere of Toy Story 4 at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California on June 11, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1HF7YU12 of 37
  • Kristen Schaal arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM13013 of 37
  • John Ratzenberger, left, and Julie Blichfeldt arrive at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM10814 of 37
  • Actress Juliana Hansen arrives for the world premiere of Toy Story 4 at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California on June 11, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1HF7Z615 of 37
  • US actress Lori Alan arrives for the world premiere of Toy Story 4 at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California on June 11, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1HF85B16 of 37
  • Blake Clark arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM11217 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: June Scribb attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349881 ORIG FILE ID: 115532376618 of 37
  • Randy Newman signs autographs as he arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM13919 of 37
  • Characters Bo Peep, from left, Woody, Forky, Jessie and Buzz Lightytear pose at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM12420 of 37
  • Anthony Gonzalez arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM11621 of 37
  • US actress Alyson Hannigan arrives for the world premiere of Toy Story 4 at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California on June 11, 2019. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1HF8BU22 of 37
  • Retta arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM16923 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Christina Milian (L) and family attend the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349890 ORIG FILE ID: 115532799824 of 37
  • JD McCrary arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM15725 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Sarah Jeffery attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349881 ORIG FILE ID: 115532895426 of 37
  • Carly Hughes arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM12927 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Kara Wang attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349881 ORIG FILE ID: 115532838628 of 37
  • Carl Weathers, second right, poses with characters Bo Peep, from left, Woody and Jessie as he arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM14029 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Chris Stapleton and family attend the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349881 ORIG FILE ID: 115532825530 of 37
  • Melissa Villasenor arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM13231 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Sherry Cola attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349881 ORIG FILE ID: 115532840332 of 37
  • Flea arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM13833 of 37
  • Rachael Leigh Cook arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM13434 of 37
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 11: Christian J. Simon attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775349881 ORIG FILE ID: 115532893435 of 37
  • Allison Holker arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM13536 of 37
  • Patrick Starrr arrives at the world premiere of Toy Story 4 on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at the El Capitan in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: CAPM15037 of 37

The “Toy Story 4” ending throws the franchise’s future up in the air, so Hanks gets wistful when talking about recording his last lines for the movie. The only experience he’s had remotely like it is the curtain call of a Broadway show’s final performance.

“The thing is about plays, they disappear in the wink of an eye,” Hanks says. “They’re never seen again. They no longer exist at all except in the collective memory of the people who came and saw it.

“I have great-grandkids that have yet to be invented who will be saying, ‘Hey, that’s my great-grandfather’s voice (in ‘Toy Story’).’ And it will last because they’re still watching ‘Snow White’ and they’re still listening to Jiminy Cricket sing the same songs, and the same will be for me. And that’s a big concept to try to grasp.”

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  • Woody and a not-so-demure Bo Peep cross paths again in Toy Story 4.1 of 22
  • 'Cars 2' was just ... 'Cars 2.'2 of 22
  • Both Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and3 of 22
  • Spot and Arlo have a job to do rounding up longhorns4 of 22
  • Hey, the toys are great.5 of 22
  • College is just a weird time for everyone.6 of 22
  • We were rooting for you, 'Brave.'7 of 22
  • This is adorable, but it doesn't make us cry.8 of 22
  • Incredibles 2 picks up where the action of 2004's9 of 22
  • Forky (voiced by Tony Hale) is a craft project who believes he's trash and not a toy in Toy Story 4.10 of 22
  • You just can't help but fall in love with this guy.11 of 22
  • Ellen DeGeneres voices the title fish of 'Finding Dory.'12 of 22
  • In this image released by Disney-Pixar, character Hector,13 of 22
  • We're all still reeling from seeing this movie over14 of 22
  • You just want to hang out with these guys.15 of 22
  • In Toy Story 2 Woody got an amorous admirer in Jessie16 of 22
  • Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the Toy17 of 22
  • Marlin appears in a scene from the animated motion18 of 22
  • These guys have been with us for 20 years, if you can19 of 22
  • Dash - voiced by Spencer Fox, Violet - voiced by Sarah20 of 22
  • A scene from Disney/PIXAR's animated movie WallE21 of 22
  • It doesn't get better than this.22 of 22

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