Toy Story 4 isn't due to hit screens until 2017, so it's still a while away before we'll see everyone's favourite 90's toys on the big screen again.
The plot has already been teased by director and Pixar big-shot John Lasseter, who confirmed that the premise of Toy Story 4 will be the search for Bo Peep (who was given away sometime between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3) and the ongoing romance between her and Woody.
Following the announcement of the new film, the Indy published an article speculating whether or not Toy Story 4 will address the popular theory about the identity of Andy's mother, and whether or not she is Emily: Jessie's former owner.
Some of you may be familiar with the writings of blogger Jon Negroni who posited the Pixar Theory, which theorises that all the Pixar films are in fact linked and take part in the same universe. (It's an interesting if exhausting read, and has been adapted into a more comprehensive book since he first wrote it back in 2013.) He also formulated the theory about the identity of Andy's mom, as well as one about his father.
Andy's Mother Could Be Emily?
If you remember the heartbreaking scene in Toy Story 2 in which Jessie recounts how she was abandoned by her owner Emily then you probably have that Sarah McLachlan song stuck in your head (you're welcome). It's a pivotal moment in the film as her story initially causes Woody to loose faith in his relationship with Andy.
Negroni lays out a list of evidence which he believes could point out the link between Emily and Andy's mom. Firstly:
- We never learn Andy's mom's first name, neither do we learn Emily's surname.
- We do see that they have similar coloured hair.
- We know that Emily is old enough to be Andy’s mom.
The hat Andy wears isn't the same as Woody's, in fact it looks much more like the one Jessie wears. Andy's hat doesn't have the white ribbon round the centre, but there's a faded strip where a ribbon used to be.
We see that young Emily has a hat identical to the one Andy wears (minus the ribbon) but we don't see it get donated with the rest of the Jessie merchandise.
Additionally there's a parallel between the stories of Andy and Emily, both growing up and forgetting about the toys that they once loved as a child. Instead of throwing them out they donate them (Jessie to charity, Woody & co to Bonnie). It's would also be a nice touch for Jessie to find a new home with Emily's son, indeed in a roundabout way.
The 'Deadbeat Dad' Theory
In a sadder theory Negroni explains that he thinks Andy's dad walked out on his familiar shortly prior to the events of Toy Story. His Dad is never seen nor mentioned throughout all three films, and the evidence suggests that he left his family, rather than died.
- Molly (Andy’s sister) is a baby during the first film. If he had died it would've been recently.
- But there no pictures of him on the wall and no-one mentions him.
- Andy's mother doesn't wear a wedding ring.
- Andy and his family move from a big house to a smaller one, suggesting that Andy's mom is unable to afford the home without financial support (as it looks like she's a stay at home mom, at least during the first two films).
- They get a puppy, which Negroni describes as "the king of single mother clichés".
- It explains the deep connection Andy has to his toys, particularly the masculine, authoritative figures of Woody and Buzz who put their differences aside to "be there for Andy"
- The single parent/orphan theme is common in Disney & Pixar films, but they usually explain the parental absence, or at least reference it.
In the theory about Andy's mother Negroni also suggests that Woody could've belonged to Andy's dad, as he is known to have been in the family for a long time, so long in fact that he has forgotten his origins as a famous 1950's cartoon character.
So, Toy Story 4?
Certainly both theories hold water, and the one about Andy's mom in particular has gotten widespread attention in the fandom; but ultimately it doesn't really impact the narrative that much. Whilst it might be a fun thing to speculate upon and may provide some explanation of character motivation, it's not central to the plot so we don't really miss out on much not knowing.
It could possibly be something that they'd address in Toy Story 4, but knowing Pixar they'll probably keep us guessing until the final conclusion, and beyond.