Fact: Toy Story is one of the greatest animated films ever. Also fact: The first draft of Toy Story was one of the worst things ever. Don’t take our word for it; when Disney executives saw the initial excerpts of the film, they hated it so much that the entire movie was shut down until someone could come in and punch up the script.
Enter Joss Whedon, the man who would eventually helm Buffy, Firefly, and The Avengers, who was at the time working as a script doctor — i.e. the guy who got paid to do last-minute emergency fixes on blockbusters. Disney knew that the issue was fairly obvious, but not easy to fix: The main characters in this whimsical children’s tale about talking toys were fucking assholes. Woody was a sniping, bitter jerk who was constantly trying to take down Buzz (a pompous dick) out of petty jealousy.
So Disney sent Whedon to Pixar (his hiring was not Pixar’s idea), and he took over a script that was, in his words, “in shambles.” Whedon pitched them on turning Toy Story into a buddy movie, making it so that both characters were relatable, fun, and above all else, flawed without being total shitheels.
“And switch around that ‘You’ve Got A Fiend In Me’ song.”
It’s true that Whedon was just one part of the process, but it could also be argued that he helped give the movie the heart and personality that not only launched the Pixar brand, but also created a formula they have used to generate nearly $10 billion in box office across 16 films. Oh, and several times that in merchandising — Cars alone has sold $8 billion worth of toys and other bullshit. Think about it: That same “buddy comedy” dynamic turns up between Marlin and Dory from Finding Nemo, Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc, Lightning and Mater from Cars, and Carl and Russell from Up.
So yeah, sometimes studio meddling works. If they hire the right guy.
Tara Marie writes a lot. For more strange projects from unexpected sources, check out 6 Famous Movies Made By The Last Person You’d Expect and 6 Hit Songs Written By the Last Person You’d Expect. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 4 Bulls#!% Facts That Movies Love To Quote, and other videos you won’t see on the site! Also, follow us on Facebook, and let’s be best friends forever.