When the first image of Bo Peep in Toy Story 4 was released back in January, fans immediately made the comparisons to Daisy Ridley's Rey from the current Star Wars trilogy. The characters had similar outfits, they both wielded staffs, and each was portrayed as a bit of a lone wolf in their own right. The comparisons were certainly present online, which makes plenty of sense, considering Rey was one of the first characters that the creative team behind Bo's new transformation looked to when designing the character.
Last month, ComicBook.com had the chance to visit Pixar Animation Studios and hear from the folks who made the film come to life, including the women behind the return of Bo Peep. Having not been in the franchise for 20 years, Bo needed a lot of upgrades in order to return with her triumphant new story, so there was an entire team of creators dedicated to the character. Consisting of story supervisor Valerie LaPoint, story artist Carrie Hobson, character modeling artist Mara MacMahon, directing animators Patty Kihm & Becki Tower, and character modeling artist Tanja Krampfert, the group came to be known as Team Bo around the halls of Pixar.
Team Bo let the press in on the reimagining of Bo Peep in Toy Story 4, and the different trials that came with turning a porcelain doll into an action character with modern animation technology. One of the biggest keys to Bo's new style was finding the right reference points, for everything about her movements as well as her actual look.
At one point, the team showed an image of the various movie characters and real life people used to influence this version of Bo Peep, and Rey was one of the first photos that everyone noticed. While Bo always had a staff, long before Rey was in a Star Wars film, it was the survivalist mentality of Rey that the team paid attention to.
"She had a staff since the beginning, so that was always going to be an intricate part of the design," said MacMahon. "One of the things that we talked about, it kind of folded into the survivalist thing."
Joining Rey on the wall of reference photos were images of movie characters like The Bride from Kill Bill and Geena Davis' Dottie Hinson from A League of Their Own, as well as ballroom dancer Sharna Burgess and Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman.
"Aly (Raisman) here, notice she's moving efficiently, she is protecting her body and her limbs," Tower said during a video presentation. "We see this through straight arms, at times her legs are together. This lends itself to porcelain because, even if Bo is flip-flying through her environment, like the antique store, there are ways that she can [protect] her porcelain. Also you're seeing powerful, fluid movements that are both controlled and calculated."
Rey, Raisman, Geena Davis, and several others helped to provide references for Bo Peep in Toy Story 4, but the team behind the scenes did more than enough to make sure she became a character all her own.
Toy Story 4 arrives in theaters on June 21st.