Greetings fellow human beings.
Hi. In 1995 came a creation that altered the world of animation forever.
Yes, Toy Story!!!.
I remember watching Toy Story for the first time when I was around 8.
I’m sure you’ve loved it too at some point in your lives.
So, today I’ll give you 7 unknown facts about the Toy Story franchise… (…kudos to you if you already knew…). Here we go.
1. No Toy Story without the Nightmare Before Christmas:
Disney wasn’t so open to their stories or productions venturing outside of the studio.
Not till Tim Burton wowed us with the gorgeous Nightmare Before Christmas. ( Yes…I find it gorgeous…it’s lovely…).
That was when Disney opened up to possibilities of collaboration. That my friends, gave us a wonderful franchise of toys that come alive when you aren’t looking.
2. Something about Buzz from Toy Story:
Remember the second man to step on the moon?
The one right behind Neil Armstrong?.
I’ll make it easy for you to recall; Buzz Aldrin. Yep, Buzz Lightyear is named after the first man to travel to dear Moon alongside Armstrong.
Now you’ll remember him every time you see or hear “To infinity and beyond…”. (…you will right?…).
Also, Buzz was originally going to be red. His spacesuit was going to be red until director John Lasseter decided it won’t. He replaced it with his own and his wife’s favourite colours. He was quoted saying that Lime green and Purple go together as well as him and his wife Nancy do. (…Sweet!…).
Buzz was also very mechanical in the original script but was later changed.
He went from a meta toy knowing about his origins being from a TV show to a character with true Identity crisis.
That made him relatable didn’t it?.
3. Joss Whedon’s contribution to Toy Story:
Yes. Buffy the vampire slayer Joss Whedon.
He was included in the team by Lasseter after he was impressed by Whedon’s script for a Buffy movie that didn’t happen.
Guess what he gave us?.
Well, our neurotic and very anxious sweet dinosaur Rex.
He also gave us one of the most well known lines from the movie:
” you are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity…”
Buzz to Woody, Toy Story.
Welp. Woody was acting upon jealousy at that time. It can also act as a trigger for catharsis for some of the audience you know. (…I mean it pal, you can’t know the exact schedule of realisations…).
No offence but isn’t that all of us?
Sad and strange in a world gone mechanical?. I’ll stop my poetic train of thought now, sorry.
4. Tom Hanks is the best Woody ever… obviously:
Okay. You might know this or might not.
Tom Hanks did admit that during some instances where he was busy, he let his brother Jim cover for him as Woody’s voice.
Their voices are so similar that it’s almost impossible to tell them from eachother.
Another thing, animators often observe the actors voicing the character to add more to it or check the natural flow.
Tom Hanks inspired the animators so much that some bits of dialogues in the more recent movies are actually snippet recorded in 1994.
He was also given props to play around with because Tom Hanks got very creative with props.
The scene where Woody is playing with Buzz’s severed arm is actually all Tom Hanks shadow acting and his ad libs.
5. Disney’s take on Toy Story:
Disney studio did not want another fairytale with Toy Story. Nope.
They wanted the characters to be more human. The protagonists of fairytales are often so perfect and it gets hard for the audience to relate.
Toy Story is aimed at all kinds of audiences, not just kids. (…even if it’s Toys, you can observe some major issues of human nature and life in the movies….).
Thus, the characters needed to have flaws.
Disney also wanted the movie to be a musical.
Fortunately it got saved from that. Can you imagine Woody and Buzz singing along and dancing at major climaxes?. (…No??…Thought so….).
6. Woody was going to be…well, different:
Let’s get the creepiest part out, Woody was going to be a dummy.
A creepy ventriloquist dummy. (…remember or heard of Slappy??? R. L.
Stine’s Night of the living dummy’s well…Dummy???….ring a bell???…yep, that…look it up….).
But of course, the original Woody draft was changed because guess what? Creepy.
He was changed to a pull string cowboy doll. Much more adorable and acceptable.
Woody was also going to be a huge jerk.
Yes, he wasn’t this sensitive, helpful, friendly and optimistic friend to other toys from the beginning.
He was actually going to be a sarcastic and snarky doll who was aware of his cowboy TV show.
Famous and cold. Animators later understood how unlikable he seemed to the audience. I mean come on, not everyone can relate to being popular and/or a meanie.
The animators hence, gave Woody a sweet personality.
He cares not only about the toys surrounding him but also a lot about Andy, his owner’s wellbeing.
Now that’s definitely more relatable to everyone.
7. Pixar; the geniuses of references:
Hmph. This one is going to be a long one. Pixar and Disney both have always won when it came to references.
I mean, have you really not noticed the other princesses at Elsa’s coronation???.
Or ever tried connecting the dots to the movies?
Fill the gaps???
Have you never been observant? No offence, just asking dude. All of the Toy Story movies have references.
Be it to pop culture, other movies or short movies by Pixar or people. Some characters are even created based on people in real life. (…like Sid….yep, Sid…the one in real life wasn’t so scary though…).
You’ll find Mrs. Potato Head reading a storybook on “The bug’s Life”. There’s the famous scene where on Andy’s bookshelf you can see various books named after Pixar movies including “Tin Toy”. Let me tell you, Tin Toy is the OG; it is the inspiration for Toy Story. There’s also Red’s Dream.
You’ll see at the sequence in Toy Story 3 a reference to Lightning McQueen and 1995, the year original Toy Story came out.
The Runway train engine number is 95. There are toy versions of Boo and Mike Wazowski in the Sunnyside daycare.
In the most recent installment of Toy Story, part 4 that released in June 2019, the second chance antiques store is a reference wonderland.
There are references to WALL-E, Coco, Up, Nemo and more.
Bo Peep finds a grape soda cap (… remember the badge from Up???…), The store has a copy of Greatest hits of Ernesto de La Cruz, you even see the guitar at the show window, there are glass cups with EVE, Auto and WALL- E at the store etc.
Also; Totoro’s appearance as one of Bonnie’s toys is not a coincidence. (…yes, when you’re friends with Totoro Totoro… Oh, I’ll stop singing hehe…).
Lasseter and Miyazaki have been friends for long. It’s a homage to him and studio Ghibli.
My own opinion:
The Toy Story franchise has coloured the days of our childhood.
It has often influenced the way we think.
I’m sure that it has impacted adults and teens more than they’re willing to admit.
It is a beautiful franchise dealing with abandonment, growth, emotions and more. (…I swear they used to put me on the edge through the movie…even if I know something good is waiting at the end….).
A lot of Pixar’s movies do that. The amount of effort put into them in a way that simplifies complex things for kids is commendable. It’s sometimes like reading a book; you relate and understand the characters.
Animation is not just for kids, it’s for everyone.
So, please never be ashamed for loving animation. Go watch Toy Story 4 if you haven’t already. Maybe binge on the series on a sad day?.