The first Toy Story movie was released over 20 years ago, but the franchise is ongoing to this day. Toy Story 4 is only a few weeks away, which will see the return of old friends and introduce some new toys as well. The first Toy Story was released in 1995 and introduced fans to the iconic characters Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen).
The film, which was directed by John Lasseter, was a massive hit about a rivalry between Buzz and Woody that would blossom into one of the most iconic friendships in Pixar and animation history. Before you rush to see Toy Story 4, here are 10 facts every Disney fan needs to know about the first film.
10 It Was A Huge Milestone For Pixar & Animation
Today, there are several animated movies that come out every year, but back in 1995, Toy Story was a huge milestone for both Pixar and animated films in general. Not only was Toy Story Pixar’s first film, but it was also the first feature-length film that was completely computer-animated.
The film was a huge success, becoming the highest grossing film of 1995 and getting nominated for three Academy Awards. Toy Story may have not won in any of the categories it was nominated for, but John Lasseter received a Special Achievement Award for the development of the technology used to create the film.
9 Joss Whedon Saved The Script
Before Joss Whedon would go on to direct The Avengers, he wrote for Toy Story and even saved the script. In a book called Joss Whedon: Conversations written by Cynthia Burkhead, Whedon explained, “They sent me the script and it was a shambles.” But he went on to call Lasseter’s concept of toys coming to life “gold.”
Toy Story was based on the Pixar short Tin Toy, but in the book Joss Whedon: The Biography, the script for Toy Story was considered “unwatchable” since the lead characters came off as too sarcastic. Needless to say, if it wasn’t for Whedon, Toy Story could have been very different and likely wouldn’t have gotten three sequels, let alone one.
8 Buzz & Woody Originally Looked Very Different
Buzz Lightyear and Woody have become instantly recognizable, but they almost looked very, very different. Initially, Woody was actually the villain of Toy Story and was a vindictive ventriloquist dummy instead of a stuffed draw-string cowboy doll. Buzz also wasn’t originally part of the film but was instead going to be Tinny from the Tin Toy short.
After it was decided that a Tin Toy wouldn’t have been more desirable than Woody to a child, the astronaut idea came to be. He was named Lunar Larry, then Tempus from Morph, and finally Buzz Lightyear. Thankfully, the original designs for Buzz, and especially Woody, never came to be.
7 Tim Allen Wasn’t The First Choice For Buzz Lightyear
At this point, Tim Allen has become synonymous with the role of Buzz Lightyear. He has voiced the character in all three of the films and shorts (except for the Toy Story Treats from the ‘90s) and will be once again reprising the role for this year’s Toy Story 4. With that in mind, Allen was not the first choice to voice the famous Space Ranger.
Originally, the role was offered to Billy Crystal, who turned it down. The animators at Pixar went as far as making an animated screen test using Crystal’s lines from When Harry Met Sally, but Crystal still decided to pass. Crystal has since admitted, “It’s the only regret I have in the business of something I passed on.”
6 Barbie & G.I. Joe Were Almost In Toy Story
While toys like Buzz and Woody were original toys created by Disney and Pixar, other more familiar toys made it into the movie as well. Toys like Slinky Dog, green army men, and Mr. Potato Head were popular before Toy Story, but there were more iconic toys Pixar wanted to include.
Originally, they wanted to use a G.I. Joe in the movie, but after Hasbro discovered that the character Sid was going to blow it up, they refused. Instead, Pixar went with their original character Combat Carl, which was again later redesigned for Toy Story of Terror. Likewise, Pixar was going to have Barbie save Woody and Buzz from Sid’s house, but Mattel wouldn’t approve, so they had to drop the idea. Barbie, of course, is introduced in 1999 in Toy Story 2, but she could have been a big part of the original as well.
5 Toy Story Could Have Been A Musical
It’s no secret that Disney has been successful with cartoons with musical numbers such as The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Several of Disney’s classic animated films have an abundance of songs, so naturally, Toy Story was almost a musical.
When Toy Story was still in the development stage, Joss Whedon was pulled in to rework the script. Thankfully, Whedon and John Lasseter decided not to have musical numbers in Toy Story. Wheezy’s rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” was a fun ending for Toy Story 2, but it’s hard to imagine Buzz and Woody singing along their journey in the original Toy Story.
4 Tom Hanks Ad-Libbed Certain Scenes
Tom Hanks is no doubt one of the most beloved celebrities in Hollywood. Aside from voicing Woody in the Toy Story films, Hanks has been nominated for several Oscars and even won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the films Forrest Gump and Philadelphia.
Woody just wouldn’t be the same without Hanks providing the character’s voice, but he also ad-libbed certain lines in the film. Apparently, Hanks ad-libbed the scene with Buzz’s severed arm after John Lasseter brought a prop arm into the recording studio. Hanks’ puppet show routine made it into the final cut of the film, with only a palm reading bit not making it into the movie.
3 There’s A Reason Why Andy’s Dad Isn’t Around
Ever since the first Toy Story movie was released in 1995, people have been wondering what happened to Andy's dad. It's possible that Andy's father could have just been at work, but it seems a bit odd that he is never seen or mentioned in any of the Toy Story films. There have been rumors about Andy's dad in the past, but so far none of them have been confirmed.
In reality, it just wasn't important to give Andy a father and it would have been more expensive to do so. When Toy Story was being made, Pixar still had limited funds, which means it would have been too expensive to create a whole new human character. This would also explain why all of the kids at Andy's birthday party look exactly like Andy!
2 Don Rickles Didn’t Originally Want To Voice Mr. Potato Head
One of the original cast members of Toy Story was Don Rickles, who voiced Mr. Potato Head. When he was approached by John Lasseter to be a voice actor, Rickles originally said no, explaining, "When the guy came down to see me about ‘Toy Story,’ I had to say, which I say to a lot of people, 'Oh, c’mon. I don’t do Popeye and Olive Oyl and all that stuff. Voice-overs? I don’t do that.'”
The actor went on to voice the character for Toy Story 2 and 3 and, despite passing away in 2017, he will still be voicing the character in Toy Story 4. Rickles hadn't recorded any lines as Mr. Potato head before he died, but the editors will likely be piecing together dialogue for him using old archive recordings.
1 Toy Story Animators Put A Lot Of Work Into The Green Army Men
When it comes to animation, certain characters are harder to animate than others. There's rumored to be an early version of Lotso in the first Toy Story on Andy's shelf, but the character didn't get more screen time because the technology for the fur wasn't perfected yet. One set of characters the animators really wanted to do a good job on were the Green Army Men.
The animators wanted to make sure they were getting the motion of the soldiers right, so they actually strapped wooden boards to their feet and tried to walk around. In the end, their hard work paid off, but it probably wasn't an easy feat to accomplish.