After Toy Story became the highest-grossing film of 1995, it was clear that Disney and Pixar would try to make a sequel to the first-ever feature-length computer-animated film. Toy Story 2 was released during November 1999 and brought back all of the favorite toys from the first movie.
Toy Story 2 was yet another commercial and critical success for Disney/Pixar and even came in third for the highest-grossing film of the year (behind The Sixth Sense and Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace). This year marked the 20th Anniversary of Toy Story 2, but there are some things about the movie that may still surprise you. Here are 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Toy Story 2.
10 It Was Originally Going To Be A Direct-To-Video Sequel
Despite Toy Story being a massive success for Disney/Pixar, the second film was almost a direct-to-video sequel. Disney wanted Pixar to make it an hour-long home release movie to cut costs, but Pixar fought to make it a feature-length film. Even after it was decided to give Toy Story 2 a theatrical release, the development still ran into trouble since Pixar struggled to find a story for the film.
They thought that Woody’s decision to go back to Andy would be too predictable since Disney movies usually have a happy ending. They found a solution in creating Jessie, which ultimately gave Woody a tougher decision to make.
9 The Directors Voice The Rock Em’ Sock Em’ Robots
It isn’t unusual for Disney/Pixar to sneak subtle easter eggs into their other films. The companies often give voice roles to important crew members that a lot of people usually miss. As it turns out, Toy Story 2 was no exception to this trend.
The film was directed by John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, and Lee Unkrich, the latter of which also voice the two Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots in Al’s office. Writer Andrew Stanton also voiced Emperor Zurg, but Wayne Knight (the voice actor behind Al) went on to voice the character in the TV series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
8 Pixar Shorts Show Up On Andy’s TV
Pixar Animation Studios was founded in 1986 by Edwin Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith. Before Pixar jumped into full-length feature films, they started with animated shorts. The first of which came from The Graphics Group, which was later renamed Pixar. The Adventures of André & Wally B. was the first of these shorts, but the studio created several more famous shorts like Luxo Jr., Tin Toy, Knick Knack, and Geri’s Game.
The books behind Woody in the first Toy Story all contain names of these shorts and Toy Story 2 continued this tradition. When Hamm is flipping through the stations on Andy’s TV looking for the ad for Al’s Toy Barn, several of Pixar’s famous shorts flash on the screen.
7 Buzz’s Patriotic Speech Is Different Outside Of The USA
While Buzz and Woody are enemies at first in Toy Story, they eventually become best friends and help each other get back home. In Toy Story 2, Woody is kidnapped by Al during Mrs. Davis’ yard sale, so Buzz understandably wants to rescue his friend. Buzz and a group of toys venture off to find their lost friend, but after a while, the group begins to get skeptical of their rescue mission.
Buzz goes off on a heroic speech about why they can’t stop looking for Woody while an American flag waves in the background with The Star-Spangled Banner playing. While that is the version people in the US saw, people in other countries saw a globe in the background with fireworks going off. The worldwide release also had a new theme from Randy Newman called “The One World Anthem”.
6 Tom Hanks' Reaction To The Woody’s Roundup Toys Was Genuine
When Pixar made the first Toy Story, the animators let Tom Hanks ad-lib certain scenes, such as when he is using Buzz’s severed arm like a puppet. This happened once again in Toy Story 2.
When Woody finds out he is a known character all over the world because of Woody’s Roundup and the cereal Cowboy Crunchies, he is then shown all of the show’s merchandise. Woody was in utter amazement of it all, but so was Hanks. When Hanks was in the recording booth, the animators showed him sketches of the fictional merchandise and recorded his reactions.
5 The Entire Film Was Almost Deleted
This year the Toy Story franchise continued with its fourth installment, but the series could have easily ended in 1999. After an animator accidentally put an erasing code in the wrong place, the entire film was almost deleted. Pixar co-founder Edwin Catmull once explained, “First, Woody's hat disappeared. Then his boots. Then he disappeared entirely. Whole sequences—poof!—were deleted from the drive. Rebuilding the film would have taken 30 people a solid year.”
To make matters even worse, Pixar didn’t have a back up of the film because the backup system was apparently down in the late ‘90s. Thankfully, the film's supervising technical director Galyn Susman had been working from home due to recently having a baby and had to constantly bring copies of the updated film home.
4 Wheezy Is Likely A Reference To The Linux Mascot
Toy Story 2 introduced many new characters like Jessie, Bullseye, Stinky Pete, and Weezy. Wheezy was Andy’s squeaky penguin toy who unfortunately had a broken squeaker. After Woody’s arm ripped before Cowboy Camp, Mrs. Davis put Woody up on a dusty shelf where he then re-found Wheezy. Wheezy doesn’t have a big role in the film but does come back at the end for a killer musical number.
While people may not look twice at Wheezy, he is likely a reference to the Linux mascot. Linux is an operating system widely used in the animation industry that happens to have a small penguin for its mascot. When comparing the two penguins, the similarities are all too clear.
3 The Line “Sweet Mother Of Abraham Lincoln” Has Significance
There are many interesting references to other movies in Toy Story 2, but one of Jessie’s lines actually references one of Tom Hanks' relatives. When Woody first meets Jessie, Bullseye, and Stinky Pete, Jessie exclaims, “Prospector said someday you’d come. Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln! The Prospector! He’ll wanna meet ya!”
This is a reference to Tom Hanks’ real-life ancestry since he is a blood relative of the former president. Hanks has explained that he is likely a distant cousin of the family through President Lincoln’s mother Nancy Hanks.
2 Toy Stores Stocked A Lot More Toy Story Merchandise For The Sequel
Months before Toy Story 4 was released, retail stores began stocking their shelves with merchandise for Disney/Pixar’s newest film. When the first Toy Story was released in 1995, toy stores didn’t anticipate how big the film would become, so they reportedly missed out on millions of dollars worth of sales.
When it came time for the sequel, toy manufactures created several different types of Toy Story toys and stores made sure they didn’t have a shortage the second time around. That being said, when Barbie is giving the tour at Al’s Toy Barn and drives through the Buzz Lightyear aisle, she mentions, “In 1995, shortsighted retailers did not order enough dolls to meet demand”, which is actually hilariously true.
1 Tim Allen And Tom Hanks Both Wept During Jessie’s Scene
Despite knowing that Jessie’s storyline, and everything in Toy Story 2 for that matter, is completely fictional, it’s hard to not get emotional during the character's heartbreaking backstory. When Woody refuses to go to the museum in Japan, Jessie tells him the story of her kid named Emily who left Jessie behind on the side of the road when she outgrew the cowgirl.
The emotional scene is accompanied by the song “When She Loved Me” by Sarah McLachlan and many people certainly cried when the scene first came on the big screen. As it turns out, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were two people who wept during Jessie’s emotional scene. Hanks once revealed that when he and his costar first saw the scene, he and Allen were both in tears.