Over the years, Pixar has spawned a plethora of fan theories and speculation, ranging from the how they're all connected to the secret histories of secondary characters. Cars, Inside Out, and Wall-E have been speculated on heavily, but one property undoubtedly takes the crown for spawning the most fan theories, and that's Toy Story.
The #ToyStory trilogy is Pixar’s flagship property, and the all three films rank among the best animated films of all time. All three movies also have infinite replay value, and because of that, audiences began to pick up on some loose ends they missed during the first viewing. One particular character has piqued the interest of countless Pixar fans over the years, despite having never appeared in the films. I'm talking, of course, about Andy’s dad.
There have been many theories about what happened to Andy’s dad, but the real story might be much more depressing. During a recent YouTube livestream, former Disney artist and toy maker Mike Mozart recounted a story told to him by the late Toy Story co-writer Joe Ranft, which gives us the gut-wrenching backstory of Andy’s dad. Get your tissues ready, because things are about to get rough.
The Story Behind The Absence Of Andy's Dad In Toy Story
Shortly after the release of Toy Story 2, Mike Mozart asked his good friend Joe Ranft what happened to Andy’s dad in the films. This is a solid question, because given the age of Andy’s sister, Andy’s father (who we'll refer to as Andy. Sr) had to have been around 1-2 years prior to Toy Story, but is mysteriously missing from the film.
According to Mozart’s retelling of Ranft’s story, Andy Sr. contracted polio in his youth, and battled the debilitating disease for years. Before heading to the hospital for treatment, Andy Sr.'s parents planned to burn his belongings – which was common practice to help stop the spread of the virus – but his personal items included some very familiar toys:
"He has lost the use of his legs and they're going to send him to a special hospital, and they've taken everything from Andy's room and put it out into the middle of the backyard and poured gasoline on it to burn everything, including Sheriff Woody and Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog."
Apparently, the baby-boomer era toys that Andy Jr. had in Toy Story originally belonged to Andy Sr., and to save the toys from being burned, Andy Sr. crawled out into the yard in the middle of the night and locked them away in the attic. Before he locked the trunk (which we see in Andy Jr.'s room in Toy Story) Andy Sr. said goodbye to his friends:
'’Listen Sheriff Woody, I have to go away, I have to go to a hospital far away. I promise I'll come back for you...you've got to sleep for a long time, like the longest deepest sleep you've ever had...I love you very much."
Andy Sr. got better thanks to the help of some dynamite medical care, and went on to meet his future wife and start his family. However, things inevitably got worse, and Andy Sr.’s health rapidly deteriorated. Because he was uninsured, the family could not afford his medical care, and they eventually lost their house.
After losing their home, the family was forced to move into Andy Sr.’s childhood home around the time his wife was pregnant with Andy Jr.’s sister. Andy Sr. was then under hospice care, but before he passed, he invited Andy Jr. to his bedside to share something with him:
"Andy's father asked Andy to come into his room. [...] He pulled out...a key, a little key. He told Andy to go upstairs and go on to the certain spot in the attic [and said], 'There's someone in that box that's gonna be your favorite deputy, he's gonna be your best friend. You're gonna need a friend and I want you to have my best friend as a child.'"
After giving his favorite childhood toys (Woody, Slinky Dog, and Mr. Potato Head) to his son, Andy Sr. passed away. The story then picks up a little over a year later, when we see Andy Jr. playing with his favorite toys in Toy Story.
The Mysteries Mozart's Story Answers
Even by #Disney's standards, this story is incredibly depressing — but it does answer some questions left by the Toy Story franchise. Apart from Andy Sr. dying of polio, the story explains why the pictures on the wall of Andy Jr.’s house shows him wearing glasses and missing his front teeth. It’s because those are pictures of Andy Sr. as a child, since the house was his childhood home.
It also explains why there are no pictures of Andy Sr. as an adult, because they only moved in for a short time before he died, and it’s doubtful that a pregnant wife with a husband who is dying of polio would want to redecorate. The story also explains why Andy Jr. has toys that were popular for kids growing up in the ‘60s or ‘70s, rather than in the present day.
Toy Story Co-Writer Andrew Stanton's Rebuttal
Although Mozart’s story is amazing, we must address the fact that Toy Story co-writer #AndrewStanton has claimed this story is false on Twitter, and has dubbed it as “fake news”. However, Mozart’s story might have been an early concept thought up by #JoeRanft that no one else knew about. Unfortunately, we may never know the truth, because Ranft tragically died in a car crash in 2006.
The tragic story of Andy Sr. might not be official Toy Story canon, but it does address a lot of unanswered questions, and after hearing this tale of heartbreak, we’re glad this wasn’t an story wasn't used in an Up style opening for Toy Story.
Sound off! What do you think about Mozart’s story about the Andy Sr.? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below.
(Source: E! News)