The True Identity of Andy’s Mom In “Toy Story” Will Blow Your Mind

It all started with a hat.

Several months ago, one of my anonymous Pixar Theory Interns (that’s a thing on a resume) came to me with a crazy proposition: Andy’s mom is Emily, Jessie’s previous owner.

I laughed. I then agreed.

For some time, I compiled all of the evidence and found some incredible support for this theory. For one thing, take a close look at Andy’s cowboy hat he frequently wears in the movies:

Andy's Hat

Here’s another close look:

Andy's Hat

As you can see, Andy’s hat is noticeably different from Woody’s. Why is this? Why wouldn’t Andy want to wear a hat that closely resembles the one worn by his favorite toy?

It’s no secret that Andy has a close connection with Woody. In Toy Story 2, his mom (who we only know as Ms. Davis) mentions that Woody is an old family toy.

Remember that Woody doesn’t even recall that he is a collector’s item – a toy made in the 1950s. This is a deviation from other toys who know full well where they come from. It’s possible that Woody doesn’t know because he’s been in Andy’s family for a long time, possibly belonging to his father.

But we need more evidence. Take a close look at Jessie’s hat:

Andy's Hat

Ah, this hat looks familiar. It’s the same red hat with white lace that Andy wears. The only difference is that Jessie’s hat has a white lace around the center. But look at Andy’s hat again.

Andy's Hat

There’s a faded mark where the white lace should be. Why do you think that is? And what does Jessie have to do with this?

(Bob Saget’s voice) Kids, you remember the story of Jessie. Her owner Emily grew up with her, much the same way as Andy. She was incredibly loved, but Emily eventually gave her away when she grew older. Jessie ended up in storage for a long time, as confirmed by her in the movie when she has a literal panic attack over having to go back.

Now, take a close look at what’s on this bed in Emily’s room:

Andy's Hat

That is a hat that looks extremely similar to, you guessed it, Andy’s. The room is also pretty old-fashioned, leaving room for this to take place years before Andy was born.

In fact, you can clearly tell that this isn’t modern day with shots like these:

Andy's Hat

The only difference between the hat that Emily wears throughout this sequence and Andy’s hat is an extra white lace around the center, which is visibly missing from Andy’s hat. Otherwise, the hats are identical.

Also, in the donation box that Emily puts Jessie in, we don’t see the hat. We do see other remnants of her connection with Jessie, but the hat is noticeably absent. The box isn’t even big enough to hold it. So Emily held onto that hat…and maybe passed it on to her child, who would grow to also love a cowboy doll.

We never get a closeup of Emily’s face, but we do see that she has light, auburn hair as a teenager. Also, it is very short.

Compared to:

500full

The middle picture is closest to the strawberry blonde color we see when Emily is young. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that her hair lightened as she aged, which is clearly the case in these photos (or she could have dyed it).

Here’s what we know for sure:

We don’t know the first name of Andy’s mom. We don’t know Emily’s last name. We know that Andy’s hat and Emily’s hat are the same. We know that Emily is old enough to be Andy’s mom. We definitely know that Pixar is perfectly capable of sneaking this in without being overt about it.

You may be wondering how the two characters could be the same if Emily was willing to give Jessie up so easily, while Andy was far more hesitant.

Actually, the scenarios are quite similar. Andy forgot about Woody as he grew up too, despite their strong connection. Andy even gave Woody away, albeit in a different manner than Emily.

In the end, it makes perfect sense that these two concurrent stories are so similar because they’re related by blood. It’s also a freak of destiny that Jessie would one day belong to her owner’s son, though we never get to see the mom’s reaction to seeing Jessie again.

She was probably indifferent and believed it to be a different version of the same toy. How would you respond if you saw your child with a toy that looked like one that you had as a kid? Your first assumption probably wouldn’t be that they’re the exact same toy.

What do you think? Do you believe that the two characters are the same and that Andy’s mom/Emily found redemption through the love her son had for the toy she left behind? Or, do you hate fun, love, and destiny? Let me know.

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

All images courtesy of Disney/Pixar

979 thoughts

  1. Entertainment, Pixar and tagged andy, andy’s mom, cowboy, emily, fan theory, jessie, Jon Negroni, pixar, pixar theory, theory, toy story, woody. Could totally happen. I’m saying it did. The end.

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  2. Could Emily/Andy’s Mom also be ‘Boo’ as a child then? (Monster’s Inc) Pixar notoriously leave little breadcrumbs to connect their films, like A Bugs Life or Geri from The Cleaner

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    1. No. Definitely not. There’s no way that’s possible. For one thing,Boo’s hair is black. It couldn’t simply lighten up,either. Not to that color. Also,Boo can’t be into cowboys,not after Sully. It wouldn’t work.

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  3. Me parece importante señalar el hecho de la reacción indiferente de la madre de Andy al ver a Jessie nuevamente cuando su hijo se la presenta como un nuevo juguete. En mi opinion la madre de Andy deberia de estar impactada o enternecida por volver a ver su juguete de la infancia.

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  4. we can agree that all the “events” in both the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were Andy’s imagination like how the toys at the end of each they’re “adventures” end up in the same state as they were when they started they’re “adventure”……and Andy’s mom must have found Jessie (along with Bullseye) somehow and handed them down to Andy, thats why there wasn’t any reaction :)

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    1. No, I definitely don’t believe the movies happen in Andy’s imagination. That theory makes no sense within the context of the story, and there’s no evidence for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Just to add a little more to this theory(over a year later). So at the end of Toy Story 2 Andy get the new toys and refers Jessie as “Bazooka Jane”(not knowing her right name). In the 3 movie she is refers as Jessie by Andy. Assuming that Andy’s mom would have been like “hey a Jessie doll”, giving Andy the correct name to refer to her by. Any thoughts?

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  6. Also ,the oxfords Emily wears in the flashback was popular around the 1950’s and the car she drove,the way she decorated her room and what she wore like the flower top were popular around the 1980’s.

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  7. I wasn’t as surprised as I probably should have been reading this theory because when I watched this movie when I was younger, I always used to think that Emily was Andy’s mum. Of course I never bothered to find any proof, evidence, etc, but I always used to think that she was Andy’s mum. But then when I seen Toy Story 3, I’d forgotten about the fact that Emily and Andy’s mum are the same person, so I then I thought that Daisy was actually Andy’s mum. But then I noticed that they’re hair colour is dramatically different, but I did notice that the field or whatever it is that Daisy stops at to have lunch and play with her toys is the same field that Emily went to and played with Jessie. But yeah I read this and totally disproved that Daisy and Andy’s mum are one and the same, but that it was actually Emily all along.

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  8. Ok. It does seem very likely that Andy’s mum could be Emily and you have discussed her possible reaction to seeing Jessie again. However you haven’t explained why Jessie – a cowgirl toy who was traumatised by her abandonment by Emily – doesn’t show any concern about seeing Emily again. She doesn’t even mention it to Woody. Surely anyone who has loved a child unconditionally then been traumatised by their abandonment of them would be angry/hurt if they saw them again…I suppose it is possible that because there are so many years between the 2nd and 3rd films that a reconciliation took place off screen and we, the audience, are free to make our assumptions about how that went. It’s a solid theory though. well done :)

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    1. I’ve always assumed Jessie forgot what Emily looks like. In the flashback, we never see Emily’s face. And Jessie is traumatized from being in storage for years, likely explaining how she could have forgotten.

      Also, we never see Jessie interact with Andy’s mom. It probably doesn’t happen until after Toy Story 2. Then it’s another decade and some change before we see Jessie again in Toy Story 3. Who knows what could’ve happened in all that time?

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