For a character whose reputation is built on replaceable parts, there’s nothing replaceable about the voice of Toy Story‘s Mr. Potato Head, the late comedian Don Rickles.
Fans had been curious to know whether Rickles, who died in April 2017 at the age of 90, would appear in the upcoming fourth film in the franchise, in which he’s voiced surly spud Mr. Potato Head since the series’ 1995 inception. Toy Story 4 was formally announced in November 2014; Rickles had signed on to the film, but when he died two-and-a-half years later, the legendary comic had not recorded dialogue yet while the script was still being written.
In a recent interview with EW, Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley confirmed that Rickles’ voice would in fact be featured in the film, evidently by both permission and request of his family. Cooley also tweeted the news on Thursday.
“Of course we loved Don obviously, and after he passed, his family contacted us and asked if there was any way that we could create a performance using the recordings that we had,” Cooley tells EW. “Now, he signed to be in Toy Story 4. Unfortunately we did not get a chance to record him for the film. But we went through, jeez, 25 years of everything we didn’t use for Toy Story 1, 2, 3, the theme parks, the ice capades, the video games — everything that he’s recorded for Mr. Potato Head. And we were able to do that. And so I’m very honored that they asked us to do that, and I’m very honored that he’s in the film. Nobody can replace him.”