May 13, 2021

Friend Of Late ‘Toy Story’ Writer Reveals Andy’s Heartbreaking Backstory

Two days after the friend of a late “Toy Story” writer revealed a previously untold and devastating story about Andy’s dad, another Pixar writer has lashed out on Twitter calling it “utterly” false.

Let’s back up. This week, YouTuber Jonathan Carlin of Super Carlin Brothers published his video interview with Mike Mozart, a toy designer who was friends with Joe Ranft, the Pixar head writer who co-wrote “Toy Story.”

According to Carlin’s interview, which went viral this week, Mozart said that Ranft had revealed to him why Andy’s dad was suspiciously absent from the film over lunch. Mozart told HuffPost that he had met Ranft through his work in toy design, adding that their conversation about Andy’s backstory took place over a decade ago, before Ranft died in a car crash in 2005.

Andrew Stanton, who was on the writing staff of the “Toy Story” series, debunked the alleged backstory with a simple hashtag that claimed ”#Iwasthere.”

Complete and utter fake news. Everyone go back to your homes. Nothing to see here, folks. #Iwasthere

— andrew stanton (@andrewstanton) June 24, 2017

Ranft’s story, as Mozart recalled to Carlin, goes like this: Andy’s father is also named Andy and he was the original owner of the Woody doll. As a kid, Andy Sr. was poor, bullied and a huge fan of the TV show “Woody’s Roundup.” He was also the only kid in the world who had Woody, because the doll was the sole prototype from a marketing gimmick that had been cut short after the TV show was cancelled. (This theory would explain why Woody was considered so rare in the sequel.)

Andy Sr. had contracted polio as a kid and nearly all of his toys ― except for Woody, Slinky and Mr. Potato Head ― were burned as a result. He recovered from the disease, grew up, got married and had a son who he named after himself. Then, Andy Sr. was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome. On his deathbed, Andy Sr. asked his son to retrieve a chest from the attic. By the time Andy Jr. returned with the chest, his father had already died.

Andy Jr. opened the chest with a key left to him by his father after the funeral. Inside was Mr. Potato Head, Slink and, of course, Woody.

My Toy Story Interview is the Top Trending on Twitter!! From an interview I gave a few days ago

— Mike Mozart (@JeepersMedia) June 24, 2017

The video of Mozart and Carlin went viral and eventually caught the attention of Andrew Stanton, who co-wrote the first two “Toy Story” films with Ranft.

Stanton on Saturday refuted Mozart’s claim that Ranft had a secret backstory for Andy and Andy’s father by tweeting a news article about Mozart’s interview and calling it, “Complete and utter fake news.” However, Stanton’s tweet did not specify what was fake about the interview. Representatives for Stanton and Pixar did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for clarification.

Mozart, for his part, stands by the retelling of his conversation with Ranft.

“It’s not a theory,” Mozart told HuffPost. “The story is as told to me by Joe Ranft about 12 to 14 years ago over lunch.”

When asked if he was upset by the tweet, Mozart said no, adding that Stanton “never said it was a lie.”

And while Ranft is unfortunately unable to back up Mozart’s claim, one thing is certain: That backstory for Andy is heartbreaking.

Watch Carlin’s full video with Mozart below.


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