Almost exactly one year ago came news that the estate of stunt performer Evel Knievel was suing The Walt Disney Company over the character "Duke Caboom" in Toy Story 4. K&K Promotions, the company run by the late Evel Knievel's son that owns the copyright and trademarks for his father, filed suit against Disney, Pixar, and other subsidiaries alleging that the character and film is littered with homages and nods to Knievel's dress and even his own toy. Now however we know that this wasn't enough for the courts to rule in thir favor as Bloomberg Law brings word that the case has been dismissed.
According to the outlet, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ruled in favor of Disney, noting that "alleged allusion to Knievel" was artistically relevant to the movie (because of Duke Caboom's relative importance to the plot) and that the differences between Caboom and Knievel were "sufficiently transformative" that there would likely be no confusion between the two. According to interviews from the time of the film's release, the Duke Caboom character wasn't intended to be a major part of the movie at first but was beefed up to a larger role after Keanu met with the filmmakers and started discussing the project.
"Once Keanu came to the table, he was just asking all of these great questions about the character," director Josh Cooley previously told EW. "And it made us realize that we weren't digging deep enough for this character and there's a real opportunity to have him support Woody's story in a much bigger way."
Like much of the other toy characters featured in the Toy Story franchise Duke Caboom was left in a place where future appearances would potentially be east, riding off into the sunset with Woody, Bo Peep, and others into a life as "lost toys" living at the traveling carnival. This means that he didn't appear in the recent Forky Asks a Question TV series, which followed the toys that stayed with Bonnie. Should a Toy Story 5 be made, Duke Caboom could return but as of the summer of 2019 Pixar hadn't reportedly talked it out just yet.
Pixar head Pete Docter explained it thus last year, "At first glance you might think, 'Well, this is a Toy Story film. Well, not so fast. See, back when we created the very first Toy Story, we designed Buzz Lightyear with the idea that he was a toy based on some really cool character from an epic, blockbuster film. Well, all these years later we decided it's time to make that film."
It was previously confirmed that Tim Allen will NOT be voicing Buzz in the film, but Captain America himself Chris Evans will take on the part of the hero.
All four Toy Story films are now streaming on Disney+.