A Toy Story writer says this heartbreaking theory about Andy's dad is not true
Director Andrew Stanton has had come out and rubbish the story.
One of the unexplained mysteries of Toy Story is that we are never told what happened to Andy's dad. Andy just lives with his mum and little sister. We can infer that his parents may have just separated, but at the same time it's also hard not to consider that something more tragic may have happened. And the fact that it is never spelled out makes it all that more poignant.
Fan theories have speculated on what might have happened, but this week we got word from an official source. Toy product designer and reviewer Mike Mozart worked on the original Toy Story as a toy consultant, and in a recent live stream, he revealed that the late Pixar animator Joe Ranft shared with him the supposed secret story of Andy's dad.
As described by iO9, this is what happened:
Andy's dad had polio.
According to Mozart, Andy’s father was also named Andy, and he was the one who grew up with the Woody doll (it was his name on the boot). He was the only kid in the world who had one because he’d received a one-of-a-kind prototype from the cereal company. The toy didn’t get mass-produced because the show had just gotten canceled. Sadly, around 1959, Andy Sr. contracted polio and most of his toys were destroyed for his safety. That is, except for Woody, Slinky, and Mr. Potato Head, because Andy Sr. crawled out of his bed (without the use of his legs) to save them from being burned, and hid them in a box.
Andy Sr. later recovered and went on to get married and father Andy Jr., the Andy we grew up with in the Toy Story series. But his recovery didn’t last forever, as he was later stricken with Post-Polio Syndrome. They moved into Andy’s grandparents’ house to survive, which means the child pictures on the walls were actually of Andy’s dad (makes sense, since he’s wearing glasses).
Andy’s father calls Andy over to his bedside, giving him a key from his wallet and telling him to go bring down a chest in the attic. Andy heads up there and grabs the chest, but by the time he returns downstairs... his father is dead. Andy forgets about the chest and the key, only to open it after the funeral. Woody, Slinky, and Mr. Potato Head wake up from their slumber, see Andy Jr., and believe he’s the kid they grew up with all those years ago. They don’t know their original owner is dead; Andy lives on in his son.
That... is incredibly heartbreaking. And seemingly coming from an official source, it hit Toy Story fans right in the feels.
That's not the end of the story though. After this backstory spread online, Pixar's Andrew Stanton – co-writer on all three Toy Story films, and the director of Finding Nemo and Wall-E, tweeted to say that the story was, well, rubbish.
Well, there you go. But 'true' or not, that backstory seems so perfect and affecting, that we can imagine some fans taking it on as head-cannon none the less.