We got to see so many things on our visit to Pixar Studios and the “set” of Toy Story 4. The guides took us through the making of the Toy Story 4 with the animators, and creators. We also go a look at the history of the Toy Story franchise. Director Josh Cooley was among several guest speakers, and we saw the first 20 minutes of the new film! There were so many new things to talk about, so we decided to put the most interesting facts in a list. Here is a quick rundown of the 20 fun facts we learned from the Toy Story 4 set visit.
- The Pixar team started working on the first Toy Story movie is 1995. That’s 24 years ago.
- There have been 9 movies created between Toy Story 3 in 2010, and Toy Story 4 in 2019. Can you name them all? (Prove it in the comments section.)
- The original idea for Buzz Lightyear was a little man named Lunar Larry. He had a black and red suit and was a short guy with a huge head. The original Woody was also different from the one we know. He was an actual ventriloquist’s dummy in the original mockups.
- There were several rejected titles for the first Toy Story movie. One of those titles was Toys in the Hood. (We are so happy someone shut that title down.)
- The new character Forky is a spork stuck in clay with googly eyes, pipe cleaner arms, wax mouth, and popsicle stick feet. He is from the trash, but Bonnie makes him a toy. So, Woody and the gang must convince the little guy that he is NOT trash, but a toy that is loved.
- The new villain is another old toy. (What is it about Woody and older toys?) Gabby Gabby and her creepy partner Benson are dolls from circa 1950. They totally have that Boomer generation attitude, which is why Gabby Gabby has her eyes set on Woody — for parts!
- Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill was an inspiration for Bo Peep’s new look.
- In the Toy Story world, it has been 9 years since Woody has seen Bo.
- This film will have more aesthetic details than any other Toy Story. An example is the animated scenes of a tarnished, dusty antique store that is Gabby Gabby’s lair. The place actually looks like it’s a live action set in this film. The carnival scenes are another example of the places where animators created imperfections for detail and authenticity.
- A lot of Easter eggs were planted throughout this film. Look for a Dogs Playing Poker picture that contains the pups from Up. A record player in the antique mall has an album from Chalupa Records by El Son de La Cruz. These details are from the film Coco. There are so many more so be on the lookout when you see the film.
- The teams went to great lengths to ensure that they had realistic details for the film. Graphic Art Director Craig Foster and his team created a full manual for Gabby Gabby. It may not appear in the film but served as a part of the graphics created for the film.
- Jordan Peele and Michael Keegan Key play two stuffed animals in a carnival scene. They are new toys that we hope will join the team. Duke Caboom, voiced by Keanu Reeves is another hilarious addition to the series.
- Bo Peep rides around in a remote-control car that is covered in a skunk pelt (probably of the stuffed toy variety). She travels with her sheep and new toy Giggles McDimples, a Polly Pocket policewoman voiced by Ally Maki.
- It took a team of 30 people to build and animate the carnival scenes where we meet Key and Peele.
- Pixar animators created a special program to make webs for the various spaces in this film. They created their own coding “spiders” that spun the animated webs.
- Rosy Cole, a Pixar set modeler, drew from personal experience in creating the antique mall where Woody encounters Gabby Gabby. Cole’s family owned an antique store when she was growing up. She used memories of that store in creating the set. It’s another reason the mall feels so authentic.
- Disney Pixar has an archive that is hidden on the property and secured by cameras and big doors. You can’t bring in things like extra bags or pens that might ruin the art. The place holds everything created by and used by the Pixar teams since the first Toy Story.
- The archives were started when someone ventured to ask, should we be saving this stuff, as they worked on the first Toy Story film. They started collecting drafts and models, saving them in a room. Soon the archives were created and expanded to a climate controlled building.
- Inside the archives, there are the original contraption animators used to figure out the movements for the green army men. The men’s feet are attached to a plastic board. To mimic that, so animators glued sneakers to a board and took turns walking in them to get a feel for the movement. Fortunately, someone saved it and it’s now in the archives.
- Other discarded titles for the original Toy Story film include: Hand-Me-Down Heroes, Has Been Hero, and I’m No Dummy. We are so happy they landed on Toy Story.
Check out Toy Story 4 in theaters everywhere June 21, 2019.
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Jonita Davis is a writer, mother, a certified nerd, and writer of Black Girl Nerds. Davis is a critic and journalist. She has been writing for 13 years about the way pop culture and politics affect our lives as parents, women, black women, nerds, and people of this planet.