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One seemingly ordinary day back in 1995, Disney decided to release a movie that featured a group of walking, talking toys, who would go out on adventures when no one was looking, and thereafter created the phenomena known as Toy Story.
The initial movie spawned sequels and spinoffs, mostly because the appeal of the entire concept reached both adults and kids alike. The movie franchise stoked the collective imagination of many, creating trends in toys, games, and even events, with participant coming in from all age groups.
Such is the appeal of Toy Story, and it is really no surprise that many saw the movies more than once.
Despite all that, how well do you really know Toy Story?
1. Woody wasn't always a hero
This may come as a surprise to many (or at least to those who did know of this before), but our favorite toy sheriff wasn't always the thoughtful, noble, and kind-hearted leader that he portrayed in the movies. The initial idea was to make Woody a wind-up toy that was so hateful that he would have to do his own winding, as no one wanted to be wind him up because of his despicable attitude. This was supposed to teach the value of being nice and getting along to kids, but writers thought it just might create an adverse example for kids.
Even worse was the initial idea of creating Woody to be a ventriloquist's doll instead of being a cowboy sheriff toy. Imagine that, a hateful character that was fashioned after a nightmare-inducing figure. Yeah, that would make Toy Story a hit with the kids.
2. Toy Story was made possible by a Nightmare
A Nightmare Before Christmas to be exact. Before sTim Burton' imagination-gone-amuck of a movie, Disney was extremely hesitant to bring out a full-length animated feature like Toy Story as it would entail untold hours of work, and the guarantee of a success was infinitesimally small, as they were introducing characters that kids had never even heard of before. The thinking was that if they were banking on characters that were already known, more kids might relate better, as compared to going full out with unknown characters whom the kids may or may not like.
Thankfully, Tim Burton not only opened the minds and hearts of Disney executives to the possibility of a full-length animated feature success, but he also paved the way for others like it.
3. Disney said yes to a nightmare and no to fairy tales
After coming out with family favorites like Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney had gotten to thinking: "Are we really stuck with fairy tales? Is there nothing else for us?" Being the corporate giant that Disney is, there was the necessary need to diversify. It was either that or be stagnant and stereotyped, and this was something the Disney execs did not like.
So rather than having a story based on characters who hopped out of children's books and into the big screen, Disney took a leap of faith and took a chance on the ability of walking, talking toys to capture the hearts and minds of parents with money, I mean, the collective imagination of kids everywhere.
4. Toy Story is built on Irony
Since earlier Disney features had mice, dogs, cows, beasts, mermaids, and everything else, the execs decided that it was time to feature more humans into whatever else that was on tap for the company. Notwithstanding the fact that Toy Story had a T-Rex, two talking potatoes, a dog with a metal spring for a torso, and a self-aware and self-manipulating Etch-a-Sketch, the two main protagonists were mostly human. Mostly.
This is actually a massive irony of sorts as a movie that the executives wanted to have more human characters in was initially slated to be called "You are a Toy", which is what a flabbergasted Sheriff Woody kept on repeating to Buzz Lightyear when they first met. Get it? You are a Toy, but more humans in it? No? Oh, nevermind.
5. Some toys were better off not in the movie
Many people think that Toy Story was all about fun toys and cuddly bears all around. Wrong. There were threats and lawsuits going around as well. Disney faced a lawsuit in 2014 from Diece-Lisa Industries (DLI), a New Jersey-based company when Disney featured a cuddly purple bear as the main bad guy of Toy Story 3. It turns out that "Lotso" or "Lots-O'-Huggin" sounds way too close to "Lots of Hugs", which DLI had been selling since 1995.
DLI argued that not only did using a likeness of their product as a bad guy affect the company's ability to market it, but Disney had known that DLI had a "Lot of Hugs" toy even before the release of Toy Story 3, as DLI had licensed their "hugging technology" to a company affiliated to Disney.
Sid, an obnoxious kid who liked to destroy toys in the movie, was supposed to blow up a GI Joe figure in the movie, but when Hasbro learned of it, the company denied the use of the name GI Joe in the Toy Story movie, so an army man toy was blown up instead. Well, he is a soldier, and soldiers do know what they're getting into when they sign on, right?
So there you go, just a few things that is not really common knowledge about the beloved movie franchise. Believe me, there is more to be known, but again, that's for a different post already.