The Theology of Toy Story 4 is a fascinating one, and easily more mature than the previous entries. I will wrote an entire article about all four films at some point.
Minor spoilers ahead!
My hot take that will require more refinement: I can immediately see how your typical monotheistic exclusivist types might have trouble reconciling the theology depicted in this 4th entry with the rest, and indeed, I read an essay just now by a religious person who feels that the 4th film compromised the foundation of the previous films’ themes.
It seems the exclusivist monotheists feel that Toy Story 4 renounces God! Ha! Well, they’re not wrong, Toy Story 4 does renounce God. But this is not a problem.
The first 3 films shows Woody’s evolution from blind faith to eventual true faith, this 4th film show his evolution into a greater spirituality that dissolves the need for an “image” of a Kid (of a single religion and all the psychosomatic accessories— the mythology— that implies) altogether.
The theology makes sense to me, more than that, it is exactly how I see the natural evolution of religiosity and spirituality. It shows a dawning insight into the nature of the relationship between Toys and the World that defies the simple mythology of a Creator and Creation, or any other metaphors we can choose to base our life on.
Far from a metaphor for atheism, it destroys both theism and atheism as the anthropological constructs that they both rightly are. Realizing religion and all doctrines as construct is a cornerstone moment of true faith.
Woody’s embarkment upon the transcendental path of a saviour instead of merely another toy that needed to be loved by a kid, is the logical conclusion of his tendencies to save others shown in the previous films.
A Toy does not need to be loved by a Kid construct in order to have faith. A Toy does not even need a Kid construct in order to have faith.
A Toy with Faith serves the same moral purpose that Kids exist for; a Toy’s purpose is NOT “to make a kid happy” as the first 3 Toy Story films would have us believe.
The Toys have evolved spiritually, though not all viewers will appreciate their abandonment of religious construct.
Toy Story 4 is the esoteric path, however, just like the Toys required a hierarchal construct as a foundation to their cultivation, so do we. You can’t just jump into the path of a “Lost Toy” without any grounding, or you will truly be lost.