The other day, I started exploring some of the possible explanations for what really happened to Bo Peep prior to the events of Toy Story 3.
Her fate is sort of referred to ambiguously, and we’re basically told to just accept that Pixar wanted to write her out of the story altogether.
But why? And how? Below is my case against some of the obvious explanations, finished with a verdict that is pretty much the only reasonable theory (and don't you dare bring up Once Upon a Time).
Did I overthink this? Yes. Yes, I did.
If you recall, Toy Story 3 sort of glossed over the destiny of Woody’s love interest.
He’s the star of the show, but arguably the second most important person-er-soul to him clearly vanished. And he barely even talks about it.
That’s like if Rachael from Friends suddenly just vanished, but Ross carried on because at least he still has Monica (who I’m guessing is Buzz Lightyear in this analogy?)
Anyway, since Pixar doesn’t want to just tell us what happened to Bo Peep, it’s time us fans did it for them. Who knows? Maybe [Toy Story 4](movie:335430) will showcase the return of Bo Peep if we do a good enough job.
Here's what we know. In Toy Story 3, Bo Peep is only mentioned once in this line of dialogue:
Woody: We’ve lost friends along the way… Wheezy… and Etch and…
Rex: Bo Peep?
Woody: …Yeah. Even – even Bo.
#1 Bo Peep Was Sold at a Yard Sale.
Let’s just get this one out of the way, because it’s the most obvious. Eventually, Andy had to start believing it was weird to play with a porcelain doll (don’t hate, the 90s were a different time). So he’d pass her off to Molly, presumably, who would then get sick of Bo Peep until Mrs. Davis cleared the dusty shelf and sold Bo for a nickel.
I’m not convinced. Andy recognizes that Woody and Bo Peep are in love, as demonstrated by the repeated love scenarios he puts them in whenever he plays with his toys.
And it seems like that’s why he kept Jessie and Mrs. Potato Head (who are also girls’ toys he pairs with Buzz and Mr. Potato Head), even though he would outgrow them faster. So why would he part with his favorite toy’s paramour? Plus, he probably watched “Friends” (because again, it’s the 90s) and got the same Ross/Rachael analogy I pointed out earlier.
As for Molly, she did keep her Barbie all those years.
Why not Bo Peep as well? Something doesn’t add the heck up.
#2 Andy Lost Bo Peep.
Pretty reasonable, right? Kids lose toys all the time. He lost a bunch of his army men, from the look of things, and half of the first movie was only about how he lost his toys.
Maybe not. Again, Bo Peep is an important toy because she’s closest to Woody. And even if Andy couldn’t find her, the toys would have.
We’re talking about the same group of toys who traveled halfway across Tri-County on foot and crossed rush hour traffic just to find Woody.
And we're also talking about Woody, who came to life in front of a human and fired a rocket strapped to his back just to get home. These toys aren't playing around.
#3 Bo Peep Ran Away.
I mean, it is possible. How do we know she didn’t just decide to split? Maybe she got sick of never being played with and bailed, similar to how the army men peaced out in the beginning of Toy Story 3.
No way. If you know anything about the grand universe of Pixar, then you know that toys operate under strict, programmed directives to always please humans no matter what. Unless your human is Sid.
Besides, she wouldn’t just leave her sheep (and Woody, I guess) behind. It’s Bo.
#4 Bo Peep Was Donated.
We know Andy’s mom is familiar with Sunnyside Daycare in Toy Story 3. During her classic mom talk with Bonnie’s mom, she talks about how they haven’t seen the kids in years.
And Sunnyside is the first place she thought of to donate toys, so she might have donated Bo Peep (and other favorites like Etch and Mr. Spell) years before.
Ridiculous. If she was donated to Sunnyside, she’d still be around by the time Woody and the gang showed up in Toy Story 3.
I mean, sure, it would have been awesome if she had turned evil and had Lotso’s dictator role by the time Woody showed up, but Pixar doesn’t read my fan fiction scripts.
If she was donated, then that means Lotso and the gang put her in the Caterpillar room. And if we don’t see her, that means she was literally destroyed by children, and I don’t think Pixar hates us that much.
#5 Annie Potts Was Too Busy to Voice Her Again.
The ensemble at this point was too big to include her, anyway. So Pixar must’ve thought it would be a waste of cash to rehire Annie Potts, who voices Bo Peep in the first two films.
And maybe they have no idea what happened to Bo Peep, leaving it to our (dangerous) imaginations.
You must be joking. How many times do I have to say it? Bo Peep is important. This is modern cinema for crying out loud.
She’s the white love interest of a white leading man. They’re not just going to sweep her character under the rug without leaving clues about her whereabouts for us to find.
And they kept Slinky, even though his voice actor tragically passed away. This wasn’t about money.
We know something happened to Bo Peep when Andy was still young. This is evidenced by her noticeable absence from this once precious moment that is now a full-blown crime scene:
So we know that Bo Peep and her sheep are made of porcelain. Well, what if she was accidentally broken by Andy? All it would take is a brush off the night stand and onto the floor.
Mrs. Davis would have no choice but to throw her out, despite Andy’s protests (broken porcelain is no toy for a child). In fact, this would probably traumatize Woody because he would forever be haunted by the one time he couldn’t save Bo Peep.
UPDATE: A few of you have mentioned that Bo Peep was apparently confirmed to have been sold at a yard sale according to The Art of Toy Story 3. Well, I had someone look into this, and according to her, there's no mention at all of Bo Peep in that book.
Which Bo Peep Theory do YOU believe?