Feel Old Yet? Pixar's 'Toy Story' is 26 Today: Here's What All Your Favorite Toys Are Up To Now
It has been 26 years since the birth of a masterpiece that changed cinema forever. (No, no, not me, my birthday was last month, but you're sweet for remembering.) Today marks the 26th birthday of Pixar's Toy Story, the first ever feature length CGI animated film.
At the beginning of 1995, Toy Story was a pipe dream featuring an incredibly grumpy and unlikable cowboy doll who was aging out of relevance in his own bedroom - and it wasn't because Woody started out as such an unlikable character. CGI was still in its infancy, and nobody had ever tried to make a movie as long as this before. It was just like with Snow White: We'd had shorts, but the time and effort it takes to animate a full-length movie had up until that point made it impossible. But with a bunch of shorts under his belt, Walt Disney decided to just go for it; and nearly 60 years later, John Lassetter and Pete Docter did the same thing. They knew that if they managed to pull it off, it would be huge, but even still, they probably never dreamed of the legacy that even this one series would leave.
Toy Story has continued to bring joy and amusement to children for generations now, generating not only their own section at Disney parks, but also four sequels that grew up with their audience. The toys from one simple adventure shared by a plastic spaceman and a ragdoll cowboy have all grown and changed, both as characters and in their own journeys, and now they represent a cast of characters that are near and dear to children's hearts all over the world.
Still, if you're as old as Toy Story (or older), you may not know what has gone down in the years since the toys left Andy's house. (I know I rushed to the theaters when Toy Story 4 came out, but if you didn't carry around a Woody doll everywhere for the first three years of your life I understand that you probably had other priorities.) So in case you were wondering, here's what everyone's favorite talking toys have been up to over the course of 26 years.
He's the rootinest tootinest cowboy in the wild wild west! Of all the toys, Woody had the longest history at the beginning of Toy Story, where we meet him as the experienced manager of Andy's Room, making sure the day-to-day of the "office" is taken care of. Woody buried himself in the work: He was already a hand-me-down toy, but he made sure the merger with Bonnie's room went smoothly, and even stuck around for a while after.
Eventually, though, when Woody fell out of favor as Bonnie's favorite toy, he realized there's more to life than his job - so when he found his old flame Bo Peep at a carnival, he was more than happy to retire to the playground sandbox with her, a "lost toy" who can freelance with toy work when he wants to while still taking time for himself and his favorite shepherdess.
Buzz Lightyear was a brand new toy in 1995, but he's an old wizened one now - becoming one of Andy's favorite toys early on helped him to quickly make up for his lack of experience, and he became the number two around Andy's room. He was in for a rude awakening at first, but once he realized he was the toy version of a spaceman from a kid's cartoon (one known to us as Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, a Disney Channel show from the early 2000s.)
Buzz took a very early shine to Woody's pal Jessie when she arrived in the room at the end of Toy Story 2, and began taking things easier after she showed interest in return during Toy Story 3. These days, he's taking it easier at work, and Jessie does her part to keep him busy...including putting him in 'Spanish Mode' for herself now and again.
This little spitfire of a toy wasn't even a thought during the first Toy Story, but she burst in with so much gusto in Toy Story 2 that it's hard to remember she wasn't always around. With her spunky flair for solving problems creatively and her passionate heart, she was like the piece of the puzzle Buzz and Woody were always missing, and she (and her good pal Bullseye) helped make the job more fun for everyone.
She's settled down with Buzz now, and the events of Toy Story 4 have them poised for an early semi-retirement not unlike Woody and Bo's - though based on all the short adventures they're in, they probably won't be leaving Bonnie's room anytime soon. She is, however, looking forward to Lightyear, the live action iteration of the cartoon Buzz is from.
When asked what she thought of all the remakes of kids' shows for adults these days, Jessie replied, "If they're gonna keep casting such good-looking leads, bring 'em on!"
In the original Toy Story, Rex was an insecure dinosaur without much power behind his roar. His short arms made it hard for him to do many things that he loved, including play video games, though he tried his best to defeat Zurg.
Everything changed for Rex, though, when he met Trixie the triceratops during the move to Bonnie's room. Now, thanks to the power of teamwork, the pair are nearly unstoppable on the late-night servers, and Rex has really gained some confidence from it.
"We're pretty into Among Us right now," Rex said. "It was Fortnite for a little while, but I kept getting sad that I couldn't floss with my little arms."
Famously loyal, Slinky Dog was Woody's right-hand man in Toy Story, and he's been a stalwart partner in every adventure since. The spirited slinky was defintely one of the hardest hit emotionally when Woody left, but he's doing alright now - Disney World called him up to do some work at Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios, and now he spends his days as a roller-coaster car carrying thousands of kids on rides.
Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head was probably the surliest character of them all in the first Toy Story - if he was a character from The Office, he'd be Stanley. But he softened up a bit when his wife, Mrs. Potato head, was unboxed at Christmastime right after the family moved, and now the pair spend their time raising their adopted alien children.
"We're so proud of our babies!" Mrs. Potato Head gushed. Mr. Potato head, though quieter, nodded along, undoubtedly remembering the time his children saved all of them from being consumed in a trash heap. He did, however, remove his eyebrows and hat after his wife mentioned teaching them to drive, saying something about a headache.
In possibly one of the most badass transformations of all Bo Peep went from porcelain lamp and permanent damsel-in-distress to a seasoned adventurer after being sold to an antiques store - she and her sheep abandoned their lamp and chose to live a life as a "lost toy" in the sandbox, patching themselves up with band aids and electric tape as need be. Bo's departure from the room was one of the last, and hardest, for the toys, particularly for Woody, who formed a special relationship with her during the year or so that Andy and Molly shared a room.
The pair were overjoyed to be reunited after the events of Toy Story 4, and now that she and Woody have retired to the sandbox together, she says she simply "couldn't be happier."
Barbie joined the group during Toy Story 2, though it's worth noting that we don't actually know WHICH Barbie doll Molly ended up keeping for so long - there were originally at least three. She was devestated when Molly decided to give her away to Sunnyside preschool, but she never could have known what was in store for her - it was there that she met Ken, the love of her life.
Now that the pair have ousted Lotso, they keep things at Sunnyside running smoothly themselves, and they have adopted Big Baby as their own. They continue to regularly exchange letters with the toys in Bonnie's room, comparing parenting methods with Mr. and Mrs. Potato head.
Prospector Stinky Pete
We left Stinky Pete in a rough place after the events of Toy Story 2 - after a rough life sitting on a shelf and watching other toys be sold, then waiting in a collector's box for an unknown number of years, he ended up in the backpack of a little girl who loves Barbies and makeovers - but as it turned out, that was a good thing for him. After years of being grumpy about the fate of a toy, once Pete knew the love of a child, he began to understand why Woody and Jessie fought him so hard.
Now, Stinky Pete has changed his name to Mr. Man, and he runs the Barbie fashion show every week, tattooed head-to-toe in stars, rainbows, hearts, and unicorn sparkles - and he loves every second of it.