WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Toy Story 4, now in theaters.
After being absent in the previous installment of the Pixar franchise, Bo Peep (Annie Potts) returns in Toy Story 4. Rather than the stationary supporting character that she was in the first two films, Bo is now a considerably more active figure. She's made a life for herself as a "lost toy," traveling around the globe with ease.
But Toy Story 4 never goes into detail about how Bo manages to change not only her physicality, but also her appearance. The mystery is practically untouched, which is a shame.
What Happened To Bo?
The opening moments reveal what happened to Bo between the events of 1999's Toy Story 2 and 2010's Toy Story 3. After only barely rescuing RC from a storm drain on a rainy night, Woody (Tom Hanks) is shocked to learn that Bo is being given away, as Molly no longer needs her. Woody barely has time to say goodbye to Bo, who suggests he come with her. However, the calls from Andy keep Woody home.
The next time Woody (or the audience) see Bo, she's been living on her own for a while. She's become considerably more proactive, running around of her own volition. She's even become the leader of a band of "lost toys," who get to play with new children constantly by waiting in public places like playgrounds. But how did Bo go from pure porcelain to become such a roamer?
The Big Change
The answer is, we don't know. The film doesn't go into detail about what Bo went through on her own. When we last saw Bo, she was designed to look like a vintage porcelain doll. She was pretty and well-crafted, but lacked much of the range of motion the other toys enjoyed. That's likely the reason she wasn't part of the rescue mission to find Woody. Apparently, she always had the choice to don more adventurous gear. Unlike other toys (save someone specifically accessory-based, like Barbie), Bo seems capable of simply changing her appearance as she sees fit.
The only thing that remains from her original design is the blue shirt. Originally, it was tucked away beneath her dress, which appeared to be pure porcelain and part of her body. Toy Story 4 retcons the dress, changing it to be made of cloth during the initial flashback. Those blue bloomers are her main fashion choice in Toy Story 4. The addition of a bow is now the one example of pink in her new design, whereas it had previously been her defining color.
The biggest change is to her right arm, however. At some point, the arm was apparently broken. Because it was porcelain, it couldn't be easily repaired (like Woody was able to have his own arm reattached in Toy Story 2). Instead, she's fixed it with a bandage. The arm can still be pulled off, but it can always be reattached with the right instrument. That proves her body is still clearly made of the same porcelain it was always implied to be.
There's no reference to how or why she changed her look, and the film never takes the time to explain why she didn't undergo such a transformation in previous entries. She's still more breakable than the other toys, but those fears play no part in her character in Toy Story 4, even during the prologue set during the days when the toys were all still owned by Andy.
Directed by Josh Cooley, Toy Story 4 stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Keanu Reeves, Annie Potts, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Jeff Pidgeon, Blake Clark, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Tony Hale.