Toy Story 4 very nearly veered into undead territory.
Director Josh Cooley says the Disney-Pixar film was going to begin with a zombie musical sequence before they landed on the flashback scene that now opens the film.
Speaking to the Toronto Sun, Cooley discussed some of the biggest changes the film went through and the beginning “went through the most.”
“We started with fantasy sequences, like the beginning of Toy Story 3,” the producer said. “We had a zombie-musical we were considering with Andy and his sister playing together and we didn’t reveal that right away.
“So it was a zombie film, then a musical, and then we revealed it was the two of them playing together,” Cooley added. “But then we came back and said, ‘Let’s make it real and let’s show (Bo Peep) being given away.’
“There’s a part in Toy Story 3 and they mention her and you can see the look on Andy’s face. We wanted something to match that implied moment.”
Read more: Why Toy Story 4 doesn’t have a Pixar short
Toy Story 2 opened with a fantasy sequence that saw Buzz Lightyear battling Emperor Zurg in the Gamma Quadrant, before it was revealed that it was Rex playing a video game. And Toy Story 3 opened with a thrilling train rescue action sequence that was playing out in the imagination of Andy.
The zombie musical wasn’t the only dark idea they played with for 4. Cooley says in one version of the script, Woody is accidentally dropped into a hole on the beach and buried alive but is only recovered years later when someone with a metal detector finds him.
“He runs to Bonnie’s house and she’s moved, and he comes across Bo Peep then and he’s saying to her, ‘I don’t know where I am. I’m lost’ and she’s like ‘Great, c’mon,’ he said. “It was totally different than anything we’d done.”
Toy Story 4 is reportedly the final instalment in the long-running franchise which sees Woody on a mission to keep the toy his kid owner Bonnie had made, Forky, from escaping while on a road trip.
On the way he reunites with Bo Peep but finds himself on the wrong side of a vintage toy, Gabby Gabby, and needs all the help he find in order to get back to Bonnie before they head home.
Toy Story 4 is in cinemas from Friday. Watch a trailer below.