No, Andy’s Dad Didn’t Die of Polio in the ‘Toy Story’ Series
When you create a series of films as magical as the Pixar universe, you’re going to get your share of fans trying to puzzle your history out. That’s always been the case with movies like Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. Since each movie often features easter eggs that hint at the interconnected nature of each film, people have gone to great lengths to try and understand the elements of the movies not explicitly stated onscreen. Take, for instance, this past week’s video about the tragic story of Andy’s father in Toy Story. According to the host , Woody actually belonged to Andy’s father, who sadly passed away from complications due to polio before the first film. The video caught the internet by storm and was widely circulated over the weekend by most major entertainment sites.
Given that the sadness of the grown-up world is always lurking behind the scenes of Pixar’s films, the death of Andy’s father seemed entirely believable to fans. Only it’s not true. As noted by The Wrap, Andrew Stanton — one of the co-writers of the original Toy Story film — this theory is complete and utter… well, fake news. Here’s what Stanton had to say on Twitter:
— andrew stanton (@andrewstanton) June 24, 2017
In the original video, YouTube host Mike Mozart claims to have gotten the backstory of Andy’s father from late Pixar Head Writer Joe Ranft, who shared Andy Sr.’s own childhood struggle with polio and the fact that only three toys — Woody, Mr. Potato Head, and Slinky — survived to be passed along to his son. While this theory would explain why a contemporary kid was still playing with decades-old toys in the original Toy Story, if Stanton is to be believe, we shouldn’t believe that any of it actually happened. And really, what does it matter how Andy came by his favorite toys or what happened with his parents? Stories like this are powerful because of how much they leave to the imagination, and like plenty of folks have suggested over the year, treating movies as puzzles to be figured out instead of art to be enjoyed probably isn’t the best use of our time. There’s no harm in floating out a fun theory — haphazardly sourced or not — but let’s not lose too much sleep guessing.