What Really Happened to Andy’s Dad in Toy Story?
We’re about two years away from the June 2019 release of Toy Story 4. And while details about the next installment are pretty scarce, this theory that’s just emerged about the Toy Story franchise might be enough to hold fans over. (Here are three things that are banned from Disney movies.)
If you, or your kids, grew up watching the first three Toy Story films (released in 1995, 1999, and 2010), you may have noticed that Andy’s father is nowhere to be found throughout any of them. And while Disney movies do have a tendency to eliminate one or both of a main character’s parents, often in childhood-marring scenes (hi, Lion King), the fate of Andy’s dad is never addressed at all. Did he die? Are Andy’s parents divorced? It’ll just have to be a mystery…right?
Maybe not! A video by the Super Carlin Brothers on YouTube has suggested a theory—and it actually makes a lot of sense. Buckle up and get ready to have some nagging Toy Story questions answered.
Toy Story’s protagonist, Woody, belonged to Andy’s father first (indeed, Andy’s mom calls Woody “an old family toy”). Andy’s father was also named Andy—Andy Sr.—and he wrote his name on Woody’s boot. The reason Woody is such a rare toy is because he’s the only Woody doll that was ever made—just a prototype. A cereal company had a promotion—send in X amount of box tops and get a Sheriff Woody doll. However, Woody merchandise was discontinued after Sputnik went up (remember Stinky Pete’s complaint that “children only wanted to play with space toys”?). Because Andy Sr.’s family wasn’t very wealthy, he couldn’t collect enough box tops before the promotion ended. But Andy Sr., a sickly child, sent in his few box tops with a letter begging for a Woody doll, and someone decided to send him the prototype.
Here’s where it gets really sad. Andy Sr., already sickly, came down with polio, which meant that all of his belongings had to be burned—including toys. But, he stashed Woody away before he could be burned. Eventually recovering from polio, he met his wife as an adult and had Andy Jr. BUT, around the time Andy’s sister was born, he came down with post-polio syndrome, which he ended up dying from—but not before he entrusted his precious Woody doll to his son. (Be right back, we’re drying our tears.)
See the full video above for a much more detailed description, including a couple more lingering plot holes that the theory clears up. As mind-blowing as the theories are, many are claiming that this story is not the real deal—including, rather disappointingly, one of Toy Story’s original writers, Andrew Stanton. In a tweet, he insisted that there’s “nothing to see here” and that the story is nothing but “fake news.”
— andrew stanton (@andrewstanton) June 24, 2017
That’s it?! You’re just going to tell us that this theory’s not true, without giving us the true story? C’mon. Will we ever learn the true answer? Will it be revealed in Toy Story 4? Alas, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Originally published as Is This What Really Happened to Andy’s Dad in “Toy Story”? on ReadersDigest.com.