It’s never too late to spice up your favorite childhood flick with some detailed conspiracy theories, and self-described Pixar Theorist Jon Negroni is back with more thoughts on the truth behind Toy Story.
For many of us, Toy Story is a fun kids movie featuring inanimate objects that come to life when people aren’t looking. According to Negroni, there’s so much more to it than that. A few months ago, he shared an incredibly compelling argument about main character Andy’s mother, and now he’s got some ideas on the dark reality of Andy’s absent father. I’m not sure what he’ll cook up for us next, but here are the theories he’s publicly shared so far:
Andy’s mom is Jessie’s previous owner
It took a while for me to understand this theory, but in a nutshell, cowgirl Jessie belonged to Andy’s mother when she was a child, and somewhere along the line, they separated. Eventually Jessie found herself in Andy’s room, but there’s no proof that Andy’s mom has any idea that her old doll now belongs to her son.
In Toy Story, we see Andy wearing a cowboy hat, which also appears in Jessie’s original owner’s room during flashbacks, and it looks similar to the hat Jessie sports on her own head:
With groovy imagery, the room doesn’t look very modern, confirmation that Jessie’s previous owner must be pretty old now:
Andy eventually gives Woody away as his mom gave Jessie away, but perhaps Andy’s own children will get their hands on the toys someday. Toy Story 4, maybe?
Now let’s talk about the theory behind Andy’s dad
This theory, unfortunately, isn’t so uplifting or fun to learn. Audiences never meet Andy’s father — we’re only introduced to the mother and Andy’s baby sister — and Negroni believes this is because he abandoned the family, prompting Andy and his mom to move into a smaller house.
Just because a father isn’t in the picture doesn’t mean he was a bad guy, of course, but if Andy’s father died, why aren’t there any pictures of him around the house? One could argue it’s too painful to be reminded of a lost loved one, but a single photo memorializing the late father seems reasonable. Still, we never see any snapshots of him anywhere, so his departure must have been a sad one. He also isn’t around for Andy’s graduation or birthday party, and while this could mean he’s deceased, it could also point to a terrible breakup with the family.
I think an even bigger clue that Andy’s dad has chosen to leave is Andy’s deep connection with his toys, namely masculine figures Buzz and Woody:
“What seems like a petty rivalry between two toys vying for Andy’s affection is really an allegory that Andy is playing out in his mind. In the end, their reconciliation and eventual friendship is symbolic of Andy coming to terms with only having his mother around. Woody is the “old” father figure that represents where Andy really comes from, while Buzz is the “new” future he has to get used to. It’s no wonder Andy is going through emotional whiplash as he has to face the absence of his father and having to move to a totally new house within such a limited amount of time.”
Well, that took a dark turn pretty quickly, and it makes me want to give imaginary Andy a hug. Though director Lee Unkrich has never actually revealed the backstory behind Andy’s dad, his own parents divorced when he was ten years old and there was a period of time in which he only had his mother around. Negroni quotes him as saying about Andy’s father, “It’s an oft asked question, but there is no concrete answer, We don’t mean to be mysterious about it; it’s just never been relevant to the story. It’s just always been that way. The decision was made really early on in Toy Story to have Andy’s dad not be around. We’ve never addressed it directly, nor have we given any explanation for where he is or why he’s absent.”
One Reddit user is convinced Andy’s dad is no longer alive, as his favorite toys are a policeman and astronaut, “Andy’s dad was a cop who was killed in the line of duty. Not only is he attached to two male toys, but both represent some form of law enforcement.”
That doesn’t seem like enough information to rule it as a death, but either way, the answer can’t be good. Here’s hoping Negroni’s next theory is more upbeat!