I like Pixar a lot, you guys. I think they do some great stuff out there and I always like getting a look at it. But that said, I’m not obsessed with them the way some people are. There are a ton of people out there who’ve seen every movie multiple times, and recognize the elements that appear in each, and the plot lines that run through the whole canon…and my brain doesn’t do that automatically.
Which is why I had to read the new theory about Toy Story by Jon Negroni several times to make sure I understood it. (Woody’s owner Andy’s mom is Emily, Jessie’s previous owner? Who even are all these characters??) Most people who are interested in this sort of thing are so knowledgeable about the Pixar world that they forget to add in the pieces that my brain needs in order to come to the same conclusions. SO. Let’s figure this out together, shall we? I get it now, and I shall explain it to you in a way we can all understand.
As you’re probably aware, Toy Story is a series of three movies, but to understand this new theory, you only need to be aware of 1 and 2. In the first film, we meet Andy Davis, who owns a cowboy toy named Woody. When he plays with him throughout the movie, sometimes he does so while wearing a cowboy hat of his own. Because the styles are similar, we assume he wears it because it matches Woody’s, but it actually doesn’t, not really. Bottom line, the entire theory revolves around Andy’s hat, so give it a second look.
Woody’s hat is brown, while Andy’s is red and has a white decoration around the brim. They honestly barely resemble each other at all. In fact, if you spend a second thinking about it, the hat in the series that it really resembles is the one worn by the cowgirl toy Jessie in Toy Story 2.
The only thing that differentiates Andy’s hat from the one Jessie wears is a white ribbon around the base, but if you look at the first image, you can see a lighter area on the fabric of Andy’s that suggests it used to be there. So why does this matter? Well, because this hat was likely given to Andy by his mom, and if that’s the case, we actually know more about her than we think — including her name, Emily.
We know Woody is an old toy, because when he accidentally ends up in a garage sale box, a man really wants to buy him, because Woody is a collectible from the 1950s. But Ms. Davis refuses to sell him, telling the man that Woody is ‘an old family toy’, something she wouldn’t have said if Andy was the first person in the family to own him. Along those same lines, Woody doesn’t remember who he is, which viewers have suggested is because he used to belong to Andy’s father, who is never mentioned. If he’d been a new toy when he was given to Andy, he would remember his past.
Since we know from Mr. Potato Head that Andy has had Woody ‘since kindergarten’, the theory suggests that he’s an old toy of his father’s, given to Andy for his fifth birthday, the year before she gave him Buzz Lightyear. It would make sense as a sentimental gesture given that Andy’s father must have left the family right around that time — either by walking out on them or by dying — based on the fact that Andy’s sister Molly is still a baby.
So that’s the assumption as to where Woody came from, but where did the hat come from? WELL. In Toy Story 2, we go on a little flashback to understand Jessie’s past. While the song ‘When She Loved Me’ plays, we see the bedroom of Jessie’s previous owner, a little girl named Emily who plays with Jessie while wearing that red hat, the white ribbon still intact. Based on the decorations in the room, we can assume that by the time Emily was donating her cowboy toys and accessories as a teen, we were in the 1970s, as evidenced by the decorations below.
This would make Emily about the same age as Andy’s mom, as she had Andy in the 1980s, when she would’ve been in her mid-twenties. So Emily is the same age as Andy’s mom, and she has the same hat that Andy is later seen wearing. But she gave it away, right?
Nope. According to Jon, if you watch closely, the hat is never placed in the box, and in fact the box isn’t even large enough to hold it. So if it isn’t in the box of toys and accessories that are taken away, Emily didn’t get rid of her hat at that time, and might’ve held onto it to pass on to her own kid. And given that Andy’s mom and teenage Emily seem to have the same light auburn hair and chin-length cut…
Andy’s mom is Emily and Emily is Andy’s mom. Aka in the trademark Pixar twist, Emily grappled with getting rid of a beloved cowboy toy (Jessie) when she was younger, only to have that exact same toy come back to her later in life, and to watch her own son go through the exact same process.
Guys. Goosebumps. I love it.