Michael Keaton's Ken Not Returning for Toy Story 4

After being away from the big screen for nearly a decade, the beloved characters of Disney and Pixar's Toy Story franchise are finally returning to theaters in just a couple of week's with the highly-anticipated release of Toy Story 4. Series cornerstones like Buzz and Woody are of course the stars of the film, but there are quite a lot of other characters making their way back as well, like Jessie, Rex, Hamm, Trixie, Mr. Pricklepants, and even the long-lost Bo Peep. There are a lot of characters in this movie, but unfortunately that means not every fan-favorite could have an appearance. That includes Michael Keaton's hilarious take on Barbie's lifelong companion, Ken.

Although he only appeared in Toy Story 3 (and the Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation short), Ken was an instant favorite amongst fans, largely due to the hilarious and often emotional performance from Keaton. His story of falling head over heels for Barbie made for one of the best running-gags and B-stories throughout Toy Story 3, and fans likely expected to see the couple make their way back this year for the next movie. However, that's not going to be the case.

Earlier this year, ComicBook.com attended a press event at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA, where we heard from the folks behind the Toy Story 4. During a press conference with director Josh Cooley and producers Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen, one reporter asked if Keaton's Ken would be making an appearance in the film, since there is such a massive roster of characters. While they were coy about most questions, the filmmakers were definitive with this one.

"Ken is not in this film," Cooley quickly confirmed. "He's back at Sunnyside [Day Care]."

Rivera continued on to say that, while they love having Ken as a part of the franchise, there was just too much going on in this movie to try and include him.

"We love Ken too, [there's] a lot of characters." He also mentioned that they had to make some "hard" choices about which characters to leave out.

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Are you disappointed Ken isn't coming back for Toy Story 4? What other characters are you hoping to see return to the franchise this summer? Let us know in the comments!

Toy Story 4 hits theaters on June 21st.

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