If something is beloved enough by audiences, there’s no doubt that fans will almost immediately go to work picking it apart in every way imaginable. The internet is full of articles and videos chronicling dream-killing plot holes from all our favorite films, and Toy Story is no different. One plot hole that has persisted all these years has to do with Woody.
As was revealed in Toy Story 2, Woody was made decades ago. So why is it that this Woody is so attached to Andy? What ever happened to his previous owner(s), and why hadn’t Woody had the same tragic backstory as Jessie?
Believe it or not, there is a backstory behind this, but the only man who really knew about it was Joe Ranft, a Pixar writer who was pivotal in Pixar’s formative years. Sadly, Ranft passed away in a car crash some time ago, but he had revealed his secrets to a friend named Mike Mozart. Mozart recently spoke with the YouTube channel SuperCarlinBrothers, and revealed the long and heartbreaking backstory behind this question.
Let's be clear up front. This is not a theory. This is all real.
It all starts back with Andy’s dad, who it turns out is named Andy (we'll call him Andy Sr.). If you’ll recall, in Toy Story, we only see his mom, and the implication there is that she’s a single mother. But what happened to his Dad? That was another question fans would often ask. Well, this latest development kills two birds with one stone, so let’s get into it!
Before we discuss what happened to his dad, let’s just answer this one question right off the bat: Woody was actually Andy’s Sr.’s toy. The writing on Woody’s boot? That’s Andy Sr.’s handwriting. When he was young, Andy Sr. won Woody in a Woody’s Roundup promo cereal contest, and kept him all those years.
But the rabbit hole goes deeper. Andy Sr., it turns out, had contracted polio as a kid (we're not kidding, but stay with us for a bit), and as a result had to burn all his belongings. Before they could get a hold of all of his toys, however, he managed to save his Woody doll, Mr. Potato Head, and Slinky Dog, and lock them all away (for decades). Andy Sr. survived, and went on to get married and father both Andy Jr. and Molly.
However, apparently, if you’ve had polio once, it can strike once again later down the line — and strike it did. It struck so hard, that Andy Sr. and the family had to move back to his parents’ house, where he stayed and passed away. But before he did, he managed to bequeath a key to Andy Jr. This key opened the trunk where his precious childhood toys had remained hidden for decades. Andy Sr. then died, and some time after the funeral, Andy opened up to the trunk to find Woody, Slinky, and Mr. Potato Head waiting for him.
Here’s the kicker: when Andy Jr. opened the trunk, the toys didn’t realize that this Andy was different from the one who’d written his name on Woody’s sole. They thought he was the same Andy that put him in the trunk all those years prior, and because the passage of time in the trunk was unclear, they didn’t realize that decades had passed. Kinda puts a new spin on Potato Head's line, "He's been Andy's favorite since kindergarten," doesn't it?
This may all seem like an overly-convoluted fan fiction, but apparently it’s all the truth, and there is even evidence in the house where the film begins. The story seems to pick up not long after Andy Sr.’s death, and therefore, it takes place in Andy Sr.’s parent’s house, where pictures of Andy Sr. are still hung up.
While there is a resemblance between Andy Jr. and Andy Sr., the glasses worn by Sr. are an unmistakable difference.
While this does seem to make their move all the more clear, it admittedly leads me to wonder one other thing: where are Andy’s grandparents? Since they sold the house in the movie, does that mean the grandparents are dead? If so, then what was the advantage of moving back to their house when he got sick?
It’s a never-ending cycle.
What do you think of this reveal? Do you like the true story of Andy’s dad and Woody’s odd case of amnesia? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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