The Toy Story franchise is one of the most beloved and watched series of films of all time. These movies aren’t just for kids either. They’ve been relevant for a couple of decades, which makes them nostalgic for the older crowd as well. They also have a re-watchable quality to them, which means that people of all ages love and devour the movies annually. When dealing with film details of a franchise that is as adored as Toy Story, we can’t simply point out the obvious ones. Yes, we’re sure that you all know there are Pixar balls in many different shots throughout each of the films, but we don’t need to point out each one. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. We will be pointing out some details that you are familiar with (that’s bound to happen), but we really want to look at those tiny details that hold a little more weight. As we’re sure you already know, there are lots of things going on in the Toy Story films. So many details that we may even group some of the related details together to save space.
It’s hard to impress die-hard fans of films. They know everything there is to know. Heck, most of the details found in films are discovered by these die-hards, so we don’t expect them to have missed every detail on this list, but there will surely be some new things learned today. We’ve gone out and tracked down minor little sight gags, picked up on undeniable fan theories, and found the neatest Easter eggs in the franchise. The best part about these details, outside of just making us all that much smarter, is that many of these hidden details actually improve the movies in different ways. There are those that help piece together some of the film’s mysteries, but there are also details that are just impressive. So, let’s get impressed. Here are 15 Things Even Die-hard Toy Story Fans Missed In The Films.
15. Wish Upon A Star In Toy Story 2
The Pixar lamps, either in the form of Luxo Sr. or Luxo Jr., are everywhere in Pixar films. They show up repeatedly. There’s even one in Andy’s room in Toy Story throughout the entire movie. Eagle-eyed viewers have spotted these lamps in the strangest places throughout the various Pixar films, but the appearance of one at the very beginning of Toy Story 2 has to be the most obscure of them all. Right at the very opening of the film, we get a shot of stars in the night sky. If you look up to the top right, we see a constellation in the same shape of the lamp. In case you were doubting this, considering that this is animation and not a real night sky, it is clearly not a coincidence.
14. Heimlich In The Bushes In Toy Story 2
At the end of Toy Story 2, we get a blooper reel of sorts. The small clip/short features Heimlich and Flik from A Bug’s Life. In the clip, Flik is preparing to film what he believes is A Bug’s Life 2, talking about how he’s amazed that Heimlich actually convinced “them” to make a sequel to their film. This is when Heimlich reveals that they are in a sequel but it’s not actually for A Bug’s Life. Just then, Buzz walks through the bushes. This is funny, but it is also pretty clever. Go back in the film to when that scene really takes place. As Buzz walks through the bushes, you can just make out a very small Heimlich on a branch. Unfortunately, it seems that Flik never made the final cut.
13. Geri’s Back
In Toy Story 2, when Woody’s arm falls off, Al calls a man called the Cleaner. This old timer shows up and helps restore Woody back to his original condition. When fans saw this guy, however, they instantly recognized him as Geri from the famous Pixar short, Geri’s Game. Though the voices were different as well as some other small details, the men were in fact meant to be the same. This becomes very clear when the Cleaner opens up one of his drawers and we see the chess pieces crammed in there, a reference to the chess game in the original short.
12. Sid’s Stuff
The yard sale scene in Toy Story 2 is tragic. We see that Andy has to get rid of toys that he no longer plays with, and the remaining toys have to watch this all go down. But there is something else going on here. In the sale are several things that don’t belong to Andy nor to his family. We know because we can see the table from Sid’s room being sold. It still even has the Binford Tool box on it. Then, there are all the locks that were on his door, each one being sold. It appears that Sid’s parents basically forced him to take down what made him feel safe. How sad…
11. A Bug’s Life Bar And Book
As we mentioned before, there are several A Bug’s Life references in Toy Story 2 because of how close the films were made to each other. Well, we decided to mention two more that viewers have spotted. This one is when we first see Mrs. Potato Head. She’s reading a book. If you pause your film and take a closer look at the book, you’ll notice that it’s actually a book version of A Bug’s Life. Later, in the scene in which Buzz passes through the bushes and we catch a glimpse of Heimlich, look on the ground. There you’ll see the Bug Bar from A Bug’s Life. Hey, maybe that’s where Flik went.
10. Binford Tools
Although Binford Tools Easter egg in Toy Story has been mentioned quite a lot on the web, we thought we would mention it if only because the reference that was as clear as day back in 1995 is now as clear as mud. You see kids, Binford Tools was a fake brand on the show Home Improvement. Home Improvement was a show starring Tim Allen. Tim Allen is the voice of the Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. Tim Allen also got caught crossing the border with a whole wack of coke back in 1978, but that’s a story for another day. In some of the scenes in Sid’s house, we can see a Binford Tools toolbox. In fact, Sid’s entire house is littered with references to other shows and films, including The Shining. But we’re confident that you’ve heard all about those, so we won’t get into them here.
9. Pictures In Andy’s House
Now, there is this theory that was recently debunked by Andrew Stanton, one of the co-writers of the Toy Story films, that discussed that Andy actually lived in the house his father grew up in. Though we actually think that the Toy Story creators messed up a bit in the continuity here (especially when you consider that the house may really be Andy’s mom’s childhood home as well), we really like this theory. Still, we’re not going to go through it all, but there are some details from that theory that are interesting. The small pieces that we’re interested in are the photos on the wall in the house. Everyone has assumed that these photos above the staircase are of Andy, but this theory suggests that they are of Andy’s mysterious (and absent) father when he was a child. This makes sense because, while the photos look like Andy, there are some major differences between the children. For one, Andy doesn’t wear glasses, but one of the photos shows him in glasses. Another photo shows him missing his two front teeth, but Andy isn’t missing those teeth either. Sure, you could say he lost them and grew them back super early, but we doubt he got Lasik eye surgery before his 6th birthday.
8. Little Girl From Up
The Easter eggs and subtle references in Sunnyside Daycare in Toy Story 3 are too many to count. We could fill up several lists just on those alone. But we are intrigued by a very simple reference and one that comes into play later as well. There’s a scene in Up when we get a glimpse inside of a little girl’s bedroom. The house with the balloons passes by her window and the room is a focal point, so she’s hard to miss. Most people have latched onto this scene because of the appearance of the Pixar ball. Oh neat, they think. That’s the 47th time we’ve seen the Pixar ball in a film. But that distracts from the fact that this girl is the important thing here. She will be on our screens again. Later, when Toy Story 3 came out, that little girl is shown to be one of the kids in the daycare. So, either the animators got lazy and used old animation or the stories (and cities) are connected. Keep that in mind.
7. Toy Story 2 And A Bug’s Life
The number of references to A Bug’s Life in the Toy Story franchise are too many to count or list here. There are several in Toy Story 2 alone, if only because Pixar was working on both films at the same time. When in Al’s Toy Barn, as Buzz runs by a shelf of toys, on the rack are several A Bug’s Life toys, including Flik, Francis, Tuck and Roll, Dim, and Heimlich. Later, when we see Al’s home, there is an abstract painting on the wall. Though some have debated it, the painting clearly depicts Dot, Tuck, and Roll. Even though this kind of cross pollination thing goes on in most Pixar movies, the huge number of A Bug’s Life Easter eggs actually feels heavy-handed when you start breaking them all down.
6. Jessie And Andy’s Mom
After hearing about how Jessie’s original owner had abandoned her, the internet was ablaze with theories trying to figure it all out, but the answer is pretty obvious, despite what some may say. Jessie’s original owner was Andy’s mom. The proofs are all there. We know the original owner had short hair, much like Andy’s mom. The cowboy hat that Andy wears is the same one that was on the bed in Jessie’s flashback. Obviously, this hat has aged and lost its ribbon over time, but it was clearly passed down to Andy. Then we see the roller skate under the bed. In the flashback, we see Jessie’s mystery owner reach under the bed to grab Jessie. Under there with the doll is a single roller skate. Years and years later, when Andy’s mom is grabbing stuff for the yard sale, she reaches under Andy’s bed and grabs an ancient-looking roller skate. The same one from the flashback.
5. Emma Jean And The Postcard
In Toy Story 3, we see a postcard pinned to Andy’s bulletin board. It’s addressed to Carl and Ellie and is from some mystery woman, Emma Jean. This got people interested. They then found the same postcard in Up. Well, there are several theories about who this woman is, how Andy got the postcard, and how the two films are connected. Many of these theories are quite well-thought-out, but we enjoy the one that suggests that Emma Jean is Andy’s grandmother, Emily. This was advanced by Pete Doctor from Pixar when he confirmed that Emma Jean used to be Carl’s love interest. She would eventually become Ellie’s best friend. That would mean that Grandma Emma Jean used to date Carl and then became best friends with Ellie. This is really the only explanation for why Andy would have pinned up this keepsake that has nothing to do with him.
4. Toy Story Of Terror And Gazerbeam
Toy Story of Terror is an awesome little Halloween special put on by the Toy Story gang. There are a couple of neat references in this short film, but the one we’re most interested here is the insanely subtle nod to The Incredibles. Now, in The Incredibles, Gazerbeam was the old superhero who was killed by Syndrome. We learn in the film that his civilian alter ego was Simon A. Paladino. Later, in a graveyard scene in Toy Story of Terror, we can see a tombstone for Paladino. The inscription reads, “A public servant with a unique vision.” Obviously, this is a clever little play on the hero’s ability to shoot lasers from his eyes.
3. Gun-less Holster
While this is more of a non-detail than anything else, we wanted to discuss the gun-less holster on Woody. We’re sure that you knew that there is no gun in the toy’s holster. Most people just assume that he lost it, but that’s not true. There doesn’t appear to have ever been a gun. Here’s how we know. In Toy Story 2, we are introduced to a ton of Woody memorabilia. Scan through it all. Take your time. You won’t see a gun in his holster in any of the pieces. There is an oversize toy gun that Jessie shoots in Al’s Toy Barn, but that’s it, and that gun isn’t part of any Woody memorabilia. Additionally, when Al, the well-versed collector that he is, gets his hands on Woody, he doesn’t mention a missing gun. If there was meant to be a gun, he would have commented on it.
2. Coming Full Circle
When you take Toy Story as a complete trilogy, it’s not difficult to see how beautiful and circular the trilogy really is. So many of the storylines came around again and there is real feeling of completion after it’s all said and done. That is also why a fourth movie might be overkill, but who knows? It’ll probably work. Either way, the circularity of the films is shown in some complex ways and some really simple ways. Both methods work, especially the simple, such as in the opening and closing shots of the films. In the opening of Toy Story, we are shown a cloudy sky. It turns out that this is just the wallpaper in Andy’s room. At the end of Toy Story 3, the final shot is also of a cloudy sky, one that looks very similar to the opening scene, but this one is outside. Among other things, these two shots really hammer home the progression of the series and moving from the imaginary world to the real world.
1. Mickey’s Clock’s Wrong
In Toy Story, we can see a Mickey Mouse clock in the shape of an oversize wristwatch on Andy’s wall. Now, this clock reads about 11:05 (though the hands are in an odd position). For most of us, that isn’t anything special, but some intelligent viewers noticed that the time is completely wrong. It’s probably closer to 5 pm. We know this because of the position of the sun, the color of the sky, shadows, and the fact that it’s almost dinner. So, what does that mean? Well, some people suggest that this is a clever little way of saying to Disney (which wasn’t connected with Pixar at the time) that traditional animation is “behind the times.”