If you've ever seen any of the movies in the Toy Story trilogy, it's more than likely you've had a burning question spring to mind—what happened to Andy's dad? The main character's mother was always present in the series, rushing around and trying to keep her kids in order, but we never got a glimpse of his dad. One of the running theories was that he had left the family, with fans documenting what they felt was a mountain of evidence to back that claim up.
But there's a much more depressing truth at the center of the story. Mike Mozart, a toy product designer who was recently revealed as a consultant on Toy Story, sat down for an interview with YouTube streamer Jonathan Carlin. And he dropped a bombshell on fans of the series: Andy's dad had polio, and Woody was originally his doll that he passed on to his son when he died.
Mozart reveals a long and winding origin story that is absolutely soul-crushing. The Woody doll owned by Andy's father was a one-of-a-kind prototype that he was awarded by a cereal company, which he managed to hold on to (along with Mr. Potato Head and Slinky) in a box after most of his toys were destroyed to protect him after he contracted polio.
Years later, after a healthy period in his life when he was able to marry and have children, Andy's father was stricken by Post-Polio Syndrome, and the family was forced to move back into his childhood home. This is an explanation for why so many family pictures are up on the walls despite how young the kids are in the original movie—most of them are pictures of Andy's dad as a child, like this picture of him with glasses on.
And here's the kicker—Andy only came into owning Woody when his father was on his deathbed. The trio of previously mentioned toys, still in hiding in the attic where his father placed them all those years ago, are passed on to Andy during his father's final moments, with the grieving child only discovering them after his dad's funeral. When the toys stare back at him, they see a boy who looks just like the child who originally owned them all those years ago, and allegedly believe nothing has changed, carrying on with their lives as Andy's toys.
As if Andy's dad being missing wasn't depressing enough before, this is up there with the saddest back story of any movie I can remember. It's made worse by the fact that so many people have taken pot shots at Andy's dad as a deadbeat over the years, only now to find out that he was killed by a terrible illness and in his final moments gave his son one of his oldest, most prized possessions.
With the story circulating like wildfire, not everyone from Pixar appears to agree with this version of events. Andrew Stanton, a major player at Pixar who directed several movies for the studio, called the story "fake news" on his Twitter account.
You'll have to decide whose side of the story you want to believe. If you can stomach sitting through a 17-minute explanation of the claim up top, the full implications of the reveal are spelled out for you in the video. Just do yourself a favor and grab a box of tissues first.