Tom Hanks Breaks Down As He Says Goodbye To ‘Toy Story’ Character, Woody, 28 Years After Debuting Role

The 62-year-old actor made his debut as the beloved cowboy character in 1991, when he was just 34-years-old.

Tom Hanks attends the world premiere of Disney and Pixar's TOY STORY 4 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

The 62-year-old actor made his debut as the beloved cowboy character in 1991, when he was just 34-years-old.

Tom Hanks did not have an easy time letting go of Woody, the beloved cowboy character he has voiced in the Toy Story franchise for more than 25 years. In an interview on The Graham Norton Show, available on YouTube, the Oscar-winning actor recalled that he got emotional when it was time to say goodbye to Woody after wrapping Toy Story 4, the final installment of the movie series.

“It was terrible, it was terrible,” Hanks admitted of recording his final scenes in the film franchise. “I started recording Woody in 1991, that’s when we got together to do the first one.”

The 62-year-old movie star explained that voice work for the Toy Story films was often recorded over a period of four years as writers and animators came up with scenes. For his final Toy Story 4 session, Tom Hanks thought he would be recording “odds and ends,” but he found himself in familiar territory when he hit Disney’s Studio B 28 years after the first time he voiced Woody.

“I was in the same studio with the same microphone, and [at the end] they said ‘OK, great, thanks.’ And just like that, 20 however many years were over.”

Hanks then said he asked if there was anything else he needed to do but was told that his “Lookout Buzz!” lines were “done.” The actor then admitted he got emotional as his lips began to quiver and he started stammering.

“And the only thing to do was to go and get in my car and drive away,” Hanks recalled.

Once in his car, Tom Hanks said it was like a real-life movie as he drove away from Disney’s studio for the last time.

“I heard the music and the sun was going down, the credits were rolling on my life, everything was done.”

Tom Hanks previously revealed that for Toy Story 4 he broke with his usual protocol of recording his voice-overs while facing the film’s team of creators. Hanks told The Ellen DeGeneres Show that he had to turn his back on everyone while recording the emotional final scenes as Woody, according to Today.

“The last few sessions we were saying goodbye to Woody and Buzz and Bonnie’s room and Andy and everybody, and it was emotional. I had to turn my back on them all.”

Hanks, who has starred in huge box office hits including Big, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Philadelphia, and Cast Away, also said that the Toy Story films are as important to him as his Oscar-winning works.


“It’s probably the most rewarding thing I could imagine being a part of because it just has gone on so long,” Hanks said of the Toy Story series.

While he broke down saying goodbye to Woody, Tom Hanks predicted that perhaps the film franchise would get a new life even after his character’s “final” road trip. After DeGeneres asked him if he was really done with Woody after four films over a 25-year span, Hanks mused that perhaps “it will live forever,” and he joked about a “possible three-year extension,” which was a nod to DeGeneres’ recent contract deal.

You can see Tom Hanks’ Woody in the Toy Story trailer below.

Toy Story 4 is in theaters now.