No matter how many times you’ve watched the adventures of Woody, Buzz, and the whole Toy Story gang, there’s always been one question that the franchise’s millions of fans haven’t been able to answer. And it’s possibly one of the biggest mysteries of the Pixar series, too. Because he’s not once mentioned in any of the movies, fans have always wondered what happened to Andy’s dad in Toy Story. Well, it’s been 22 years and it looks like we might finally have an answer. And, boy oh boy, you’re in for an emotional rollercoaster.
During a live stream earlier this month, Mike Mozart — a reviewer and toy collector who has done work for Disney, according to CinemaBlend — claimed to know what happened to Andy’s dad, explaining that he had very complex history filled with health problems and financial troubles, and "died before Toy Story 1 started.” And his connection to the plot of the film doesn’t totally lie with his son, Andy, but instead with his cowboy doll, Woody.
Essentially, as Mozart’s take of the backstory goes, Andy's father was also named Andy — or Andy Sr. — and Woody was his doll as a boy, which is why "Andy" is written under Woody’s boot. (Andy Sr. was also the original owner of Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog in the '50s.)
To get Woody, Mozart said that Andy Sr. wanted to enter a cereal contest in which he would have to send in 30 box tops to win the toy. But, his family was very poor and couldn’t afford all the cereal, so he wrote a heartfelt letter explaining how badly he wanted Woody. The company eventually sent Andy Sr. a prototype of the toy, which was a one-of-kind since the company decided to produce a different space-themed toy instead.
Sweet enough for a Disney movie, right? Not quite. This is where you grab the tissues.
Mozart went on to explain that Andy Sr. got seriously ill with polio — like a lot of kids did during that time — and his parents had to send him to a special hospital for treatment.
"He has lost the use of his legs and they're going to send him to a special hospital and they've taken everything from Andy's room and put it out into the middle of the backyard and poured gasoline on it to burn everything, including Sheriff Woody and Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog," Mozart explained in the YouTube video
But Andy Sr. couldn't bear to see his beloved toys burn, so he "crawled out into the yard" and saved the toys and then locked them in a trunk in the attic, according to Mozart.
"He said, 'Listen Sheriff Woody, I have to go away, I have to go to a hospital far away. I promise I'll come back for you...you've got to sleep for a long time, like the longest deepest sleep you've ever had...I love you very much,'" Mozart explained.
Years later, Andy Sr.'s health improved, he eventually married and had a son, the Andy we all grew up with. But, some time later, his polio returned and the family lost their health insurance and their finances took a hit. The sickness inevitably led to Andy Sr.'s death and a heart-wrenching conversation with his young son on his death bed.
"This is really sad, oh my God, it's so sad," Mozart said in the video. "Andy's father asked Andy to come into his room. It was like hospice. He pulled out...a key, a little key. He told Andy to go upstairs and go on to the certain spot in the attic [and said], 'There's someone in that box that's gonna be your favorite deputy, he's gonna be your best friend. You're gonna need a friend and I want you to have my best friend as a child.'"
After his father's funeral, Andy opens the trunk and finds Woody, Slinky and Mr. Potato Head. And because they had been "sleeping" in the truck for those years, they thought Andy was his father — when he was a child.
"They thought it was Andy's dad as a child," Mozart explained. "That's how he looked when he packed them up. They had no idea time had gone by."
One year later and that's where Mozart said the Toy Story franchise began.
Out of all the theories out there, why should we believe this one? Mozart was reportedly good friends with Joe Ranft, a Pixar writer, and said that he told him this goldmine of information one day over lunch.
"So I had lunch with this guy and he told me — this is not a theory, this is not a conspiracy, this is not a fan fiction, this is from one of the lead writers at Pixar that really wrote on this movie that knew the whole story," Mozart said in the video.
According to E! News, Disney and Pixar have not confirmed Mozart's telling of this story and co-writer Andrew Stanton even disputed his account.
"Complete and utter fake news. Everyone go back to your homes. Nothing to see here, folks. #Iwasthere," he tweeted on Saturday.
Whether it's really the true backstory of Andy's dad, a fan's elaborate theory, or even something that one of the writers possibly envisioned at one time, it's a really good story and Disney should definitely consider it for a prequel. Until then, so long partner.
(Watch the full 2-hour video on Mozart's YouTube channel)