Toy Story 4 was largely a movie focused on reuniting the audience with old friends, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t also create some fantastic new characters. Fans of Key and Peele got to see the comedians reunite as Ducky and Bunny and Christina Hendricks played a fantastic villain, to name just a few. However, without a doubt, the biggest addition to the Toy Story family was Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom.
Duke Caboom, the motorcycle riding stunt toy, isn’t the most important character in Toy Story 4, but thanks to being voiced by Keanu Reeves, he’s already got a pretty significant fan base. Not the least of which is Reeves himself, who says he loves the character because he is both brave and vulnerable.
Part of the joke of Duke Caboom’s character is that, while he is designed to be a fearless daredevil, he’s actually quite emotional. The time he was rejected by a child still weighs on him heavily and his confidence is severely weakened because of it. At the same time, when the chips are down, Duke Caboom comes to the rescue, a couple of times in fact. In the special features for the Toy Story 4 Blu-ray, Keanu Reeves says this combination is what he likes so much about the character.
Part of the reason that Duke Caboom may have resonated with Keanu Reeves is that the actor actually had a hand in creating the type of character that Duke became. Apparently, there wasn’t much drawn of Duke Caboom, beyond a few different posed shots, when Reeves was first coming on board, and Reeves was the one who made those poses part of the character.
The world is pretty much in love with Keanu Reeves right now and at least part of the reason for that can be seen in what the actor brings to Duke Caboom. He’s got a bravado about him that looks cool, but it’s all really just a shield for a very emotional character. Reeves is capable of making the audience see Duke Caboom in both ways.
Duke Caboom is a great character. It’s unfortunate that he joined the Toy Story franchise so late in the game. At this point, it seems unlikely we could ever get a Toy Story 5, and even if we do, it might not even follow Duke Caboom, Bo Peep, and Woody. On the other hand, we thought the Toy Story franchise was finished once before, so it’s always possible we could see Duke Caboom again.