Pixar’s Toy Story has become a bona fide classic, but the tale of an anthropomorphic group of toys — led by a pull-string cowboy named Woody (Tom Hanks) and an astronaut action figure named Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) — almost featured totally different heroes. In fact, the original treatment for the film had quite a number of differences than the movie we “know and love,” according to creativity researcher Keith Sawyer’s book Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Creativity. The Atlantic created a thorough timeline that outlines all the versions of various characters and narratives. For starters:
Woody, for example, started out as kind of a jerk. ("An early scene," Sawyer notes in the book, "had him abusing Slinky Dog, and another had him pushing Buzz out the window.") Eventually, the Pixar team rewrote the script to make Woody more likable. (So instead of Woody pushing Buzz out the window, Buzz fell by accident.) Barbie was going to be involved in the movie at one point; so was G.I. Joe. Mr. Potato Head was added to the cast of characters because of licensing snafus.
We also get a peek at the first draft of the script that featured two main characters: a one-man band (Tinny) and a ventriloquist’s dummy:
The movie starts with Tinny waking up in his factory, and then he is given as a birthday gift to a young boy. The boy’s family goes on a road trip to the Southwest, and they take Tinny along. But early in the trip, he gets forgotten and left behind at a gas station. There, he meets the ventriloquist’s dummy, and they work together to find their way back to Tinny’s home. In a series of adventures, the two travel from the back of a truck to an auction, to a garbage truck, a yard sale, a couple’s house, and finally to a kindergarten playground—the happy ending in which the toys are reunited with the children.
Disney axed the ventriloquist dummy after realizing that audiences might link it to creepy dolls and dummies in horror cinema. Woody was born when they transformed Tinny into a stuffed doll with a pull string.
For more great Toy Story factoids, visit The Atlantic. For more Toy Story fun visit Design Taxi where we spotted these clever photos from Brazil-based marketing manager Wellington Campos, which imagine Buzz and Woody in various situations.
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