The Truth About Andy’s Dad In ‘Toy Story’ Will Make You Depressed

Andy dad toy story

Fine, here’s what happened to Andy’s dad.

A few months ago, I argued the theory that Andy’s mother is actually Emily, the girl who originally owned Jesse in Toy Story 2. The post quickly went viral, as many people began debating whether or not this is true, intentional, etc.

Since then, literally hundreds (if not thousands) of people have been asking me about Andy’s dad, and I’ve never wanted to address the issue for a few key reasons:

  1. It’s depressing.
  2. It’s depressing.
  3. It’s depressing.

You see, I love talking about theories like Andy’s mom and how all of the Pixar movies are connected because that’s tons of fun to think about. Andy’s dad? That’s just…well, you get it.

andy's dad toy story

But I can see that a lot of you want to know anyway, and it’s really not that complicated. In fact, this is one of the few theories about Toy Story that I can confidently say is totally intentional.

The original theory was first posited by Jess Nevins, an incredibly talented writer who published his take on “Mr. Davis” back in 2010. I’ll elaborate on his theory and build upon it with my own insights.

Nevins claimed that Andy’s parents are going through a divorce during the events of the first Toy Story. Now, many of you probably saw that coming (it’s pretty obvious, after all), but it’s important to point out that this is not an amicable divorce. Andy’s dad left the family, and there’s plenty of evidence to confirm this.

Keep in mind that Andy’s dad is never mentioned or seen throughout the Toy Story movies. If it wasn’t for the rudiments of biology and procreation, then we could just assume that the guy doesn’t even exist. But he does, and all signs point to him walking out on his wife and kids.

The Obvious Clues

He may have left right before the first Toy Story started or months before, but one thing is certain: Andy’s dad did not die. If he had died, then why are there no pictures of him on the wall in the Davis house?

toy story andy's dad

As you can see from this shot of Toy Story, Andy’s dad is not depicted in these family photos. If he had died, you’d think they would at least keep a picture of him up for the sake of honoring his memory.

Of course, you can argue that he died a long time ago, and the family has forgotten about him already. But if that’s the case, then how do you explain the fact that Molly (Andy’s younger sister) is a baby? He would’ve had to have died recently in order for her existence to be possible.

It makes more sense to assume that his pictures were taken down, and it would take something despicable on his part for that to happen.

To strengthen that point, Andy’s mom is spotted without a wedding ring at Andy’s birthday party in the first film. If Mr. Davis had died recently, then she would probably still be wearing it.

toy story andy's dad

Now, I’ll admit that if you really want to, you can come up with a lot of diverting theories to explain all of this by saying Molly was conceived by some other man and that could be why the parents divorced. You could argue that the kids are adopted, or Andy’s mom just “gets around.”

But don’t you think the creators of Toy Story intended for this to be clear? In this case, the simple explanation is the more likely.

After all, the family is moving from a bigger house to a noticeably smaller one in Toy Story, which signals that Andy’s mom is having financial trouble. If she and Mr. Davis were getting a divorce, then he would at least be paying child support, but the family still has to make some sacrifices.

Oh, and the family gets a puppy. That’s pretty much the king of single mother clichés.

Childish Competition

The “deadbeat dad” theory also explains why Andy is so deeply connected with his toys, especially the masculine figureheads depicted by Woody and Buzz (who are both authoritative models as a “sheriff” and a “space ranger”).

What seems like a petty rivalry between two toys vying for Andy’s affection is really an allegory that Andy is playing out in his mind. In the end, their reconciliation and eventual friendship is symbolic of Andy coming to terms with only having his mother around.

toy story andy's dad

Woody is the “old” father figure that represents where Andy really comes from, while Buzz is the “new” future he has to get used to. It’s no wonder Andy is going through emotional whiplash as he has to face the absence of his father and having to move to a totally new house within such a limited amount of time.

Now, if you’re a fan of my theory of Pixar movies and the Pixar Detective novel, then a fun way to interpret this is by noting how Woody and Buzz are essentially “programmed” to make Andy happy.

They may notice that he is torn by his old life and the new one that is being forced upon him, prompting Woody to obsess over making sure Andy still has a connection to his old life, while Buzz is the “oblivious” future that just happens upon Andy without him knowing it.

A Common Theme

Ultimately, this explains why Andy is so deeply immersed with his toys, and it’s a theme that Disney is no stranger to. In many Disney and Pixar films, the main characters are brought up without one or both parents.

toy story andy's dad

Movies like this include Up (Russell’s father left him), Tangled (Rapunzel is raised by an evil fake-mother and Flynn is an orphan), Frozen (both parents pass away), A Bug’s Life (Dot and Atta only have their mother), The Princess and the Frog (her father dies early on), Aladdin (Jasmine’s mother is never mentioned and Aladdin’s father is estranged until the third film) and I could go on and on.

The simple explanation for this is that many people suffer from broken homes during their formative years, and it’s been reflected in both literature and moviemaking for as long as they’ve been around. It should be no surprise that a fun film like Toy Story has an undercurrent of sadness and (dare I say it) reality lingering in the background.

Also, it’s been a tradition for movies and even TV to stray from having both parents onscreen in order to prevent alienating single parents who take their kids to go see movies. Ouch, right in the heart.

What the Creators Have to Say About It

Now, if you ask the director of Toy Story, Lee Unkrich, directly, then he’ll give you a mysteriously vague answer. In her article, Toy Story 3 and the Triumph of a Single Mother,” writer Mary Pols spoke with Unkrich himself and gained his thoughts on the matter:

“It’s an oft asked question, but there is no concrete answer, We don’t mean to be mysterious about it; it’s just never been relevant to the story.”

It’s just always been that way. The decision was made really early on in ‘Toy Story’ to have Andy’s dad not be around. We’ve never addressed it directly, nor have we given any explanation for where he is or why he’s absent.”

As for Unkrich himself (pictured below), his parents divorced when he was 10 years old, and he reportedly grew up with just his mother for some time.

toy story andy's dad

On Quora, Craig Good (one of Toy Story‘s animators) claims that the decision to exclude Andy’s dad was made because rendering humans was very difficult and expensive at the time, and he wouldn’t be relevant to the story anyway.

But that definitely doesn’t mean they didn’t pepper in a few clues that hint at Andy’s father being a deadbeat. That most easily explains why he truly isn’t necessary for the Toy Story movies, especially to the characters who moved on without him.

Except for Buzz Lightyear, of course. Even he got a dad in Toy Story 2…

toy story andy's dad

Summary:

So here it is in a nutshell. Andy’s father most likely walked out on the family, which led to Andy’s mother deciding to relocate to a smaller house to save money and (hopefully) move on from the painful memory. She has removed any pictures she has of him, along with her wedding ring, and the father is never mentioned or seen, even in Andy’s graduation photos.

It’s sad and kind of depressing, but inevitably pointless to the story, which is really about a boy and his toys that somehow come to life and compete for his love and imagination.


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The Pixar Detective, Chapter 4: Here be Magic

Hey everyone! Welcome to The Pixar Detective, a serial novel I put together based on the Pixar Theory. The following is a fictional story that explains the theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe, using original characters and artwork. The story answers a lot of questions you may have about this theory, but through its own ongoing narrative.

The story originally launched in April, and we’ve recently completed Part 1!

It is available as an iBook on iTunes, which you can check out here. If you can’t use iBooks, you can also download the PDF version. 

Once you’re finished, check back to our Table of Contents, where we’ll be continuing the story through Part 2. A new chapter is released every two weeks on Tuesdays. And please be sure to leave your feedback in the comments for us to read through. Enjoy!

coffeeshopPreviously on The Pixar Detective: Stevin Parker and Wallaby Jones joined their mysterious teacher, Alec Azam, on their quest to find their missing friend, Mary. Their main clue at the moment is a purple hair Stevin and Wallaby found in Mary’s room, which was suspended in the air and resting on a tree.

 

randallandalecAlec, who has revealed himself to be some sort of wizard, was approached by an odd-looking man named Randall, who appears to know a bit about what’s going on. He petitioned Alec to find Mary for unknown reasons, and Alec has told Stevin and Wallaby (vaguely) about the world of magic they’re stumbling onto.

The boys were taken to a massive warehouse filled with rows of doors. Alec pointed out three in particular that Mary may have a connection to. Alec chose Wallaby to use his “imagination” to conjure a knock that would somehow change one of the doors into something completely different…

Use the prompt on the sidebar to subscribe for updates or just follow me and Kayla on Twitter to stay connected – @JonNegroni – @KaylaTheSavage

Thanks for reading!

The Pixar Detective, Chapter 3: Three Doors

Hey everyone! Welcome to The Pixar Detective, a serial novel I put together based on the Pixar Theory. The following is a fictional story that explains the theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe, using original characters and artwork. The story answers a lot of questions you may have about this theory, but through its own ongoing narrative.

The story originally launched in April, and we’ve recently completed Part 1!

It is available as an iBook on iTunes, which you can check out here. If you can’t use iBooks, you can also download the PDF version. 

Once you’re finished, check back to our Table of Contents, where we’ll be continuing the story through Part 2. A new chapter is released every two weeks on Tuesdays. And please be sure to leave your feedback in the comments for us to read through. Enjoy!

tree

Previously on The Pixar Detective: our heroes Stevin Parker and Wallaby Jones set out on a late-night adventure to find clues pointing to the whereabouts of their missing friend, Mary. After some nearly-fatal tree-climbing, the duo made it into Mary’s room, which was barely being held up by a giant tree.

coffeeshopBefore the tree gave way to the weight of their detective skills, Stevin and Wallaby managed to find a lone purple hair sitting by Mary’s closet door. Hours later, the gang was surprised by a familiar face. Their geography teacher, Mr. Azam, revealed that he knows what the two of them are up to and may have some answers as to where Mary may have disappeared to…

Use the prompt on the sidebar to subscribe for updates or just follow me and Kayla on Twitter to stay connected – @JonNegroni – @KaylaTheSavage

Thanks for reading!

 

The Pixar Detective, Chapter 2: Alec

Hey everyone! Welcome to The Pixar Detective, a serial novel I put together based on the Pixar Theory. The following is a fictional story that explains the theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe, using original characters and artwork. The story answers a lot of questions you may have about this theory, but through its own ongoing narrative.

The story originally launched in April, and we’ve recently completed Part 1!

It’s available as an iBook on iTunes, which you can check out here. If you can’t use iBooks, you can also download the PDF version. 

Once you’re finished, check back to our Table of Contents, where we’ll be continuing the story through Part 2. A new chapter is released every two weeks on Tuesdays. And please be sure to leave your feedback in the comments for us to read through. Enjoy!

tree

Previously on The Pixar Detective: We met Stevin Parker and Wallaby Jones, two 15-year-old boys whose worlds get turned upside-down when their mutual friend, Mary, vanishes.

Only it’s not just Mary who has vanished. Her entire house has been replaced with a massive chasm, and all that remains is a bizarre tree holding up Mary’s room. In the middle of the night, it’s up to Stevin and Wallaby to climb up the tree and search for clues as to what has happened to Mary and why.

Use the prompt on the sidebar to subscribe or just follow me and Kayla on Twitter to stay connected – @JonNegroni – @KaylaTheSavage

Thanks for reading!

The Pixar Detective: Chapter 1

Hey everyone! Welcome to The Pixar Detective, a serial novel I put together based on the Pixar Theory. The following is a fictional story that explains the theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe, using original characters and artwork. The story answers a lot of questions you may have about this theory, but through its own ongoing narrative.

The story originally launched in April, and we’ve recently completed Part 1!

It is available as an iBook on iTunes, which you can check out here. If you can’t use iBooks, you can also download the PDF version. 

Once you’re finished, check back to our Table of Contents, where we’ll be continuing the story through Part 2. A new chapter is released every two weeks on Tuesdays. And please be sure to leave your feedback in the comments for us to read through. Enjoy!

chapter 1

Chapter 1: The Great Detective

Written by Jon Negroni. Illustrations by Kayla Savage. 

     The most brilliant detectives in the world are not the individuals with the biggest brains or even the most advanced gadgets and gizmos, although having a magnifying glass with an electronic interface is always useful for finding your way around a particularly messy crime scene.  The best detectives aren’t necessarily organized, tidy, punctual, or easy to get along with. Even the most successful detectives tend to find themselves relying on more than just being familiar, easygoing crime-fighters. No, the world’s greatest detectives are the most imaginative risk-takers that have ever decided to look through a magnifying glass, and we know this for certain because a great detective doesn’t decide to live a life of solving mysteries.  The greatest detectives have the truly important mysteries thrust upon them, and they probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ready for more? Click here to access the Table of Contents, or check out the e-book.


Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

Coming Soon: The Pixar Detective

9 months ago, I came out with what I like to call The Pixar Theory, a narrative that connects every Pixar movie starting with Brave. Of course, there are plenty of other names for this theory (Grand Unification Theory of Pixar is one of the longest), but the point remains the same: these movies appear to tell a story beneath the surface of what we saw in theaters.

So as a labor of love, I teamed up with Kayla Savage, an up-and-coming visual development artist, to create The Pixar Detective.

Pixar Detective

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve even changed the tagline of this site to “Pixar Detective,” and that has a lot to do with what we’re creating for you guys. The Pixar Detective is a fan-made series we are both writing and visualizing for any of you who want your Pixar-related questions answered.

It tells the story behind the story. What happened to Boo from Monster’s Inc? How did she learn magic? Where do the supers from The Incredibles get their powers? What exactly happened between the events of Up and Wall-e, and where the heck did those cars go?

All of these questions and tons more will be answered in a story told through the eyes of new characters we’re introducing to our own fan-made narrative (see artwork above). In fact, we went out of our way to include a lot of the ideas that you all have come up with through your comments and emails.

Overall, we’re just doing this to have some fun with movies that we sincerely love. We hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to go out and create something amazing of your own!

Chapter 1 of The Pixar Detective will be released on April 8th, 2014. New chapters (and artwork!) will be added every two weeks.

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.

Do We Really Need A Sequel For The Incredibles?

Disney CEO Bob Iger recently made it public that Pixar is working on The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3, an announcement that is likely to divide Pixar fans right down the middle.

Why? Because they essentially combined “probably good news” with “bad news.” Cars may make tons of money in merchandising and box office totals, but it’s still Pixar’s weakest link in terms of audience reception.

In other words, most of us don’t really care about Cars. We just don’t.

But The Incredibles is a vastly different story. Considered to be one of the top-tier Pixar films, this movie could actually be akin to Toy Story 2, rather than Cars 2.

Unfortunately, my best guess is that we’re getting another Monsters University, a decent, even good, movie that lives up to the original, but doesn’t come close to surpassing it.

Pixar sequels are tricky business. Toy Story is really one of the few franchises in film history that actually improved with each sequel, so it makes sense that the executives at Disney have faith in milking their Pixar properties during the coming decade. Even the best studios need time to rest, after all.

So I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about The Incredibles 2, if only because the great Brad Bird is once again behind the film, and I have faith in his ability to evolve simple concepts into fantastic narratives (see The Iron Giant, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille and oh, the first Incredibles).

If you recall, the world of The Incredibles is rich and ready to be further explored. The film excellently combined vastly different aesthetics: the retro-future technology in an alternate 1960s mixed with superheroes and even James Bond references.

And it would be great to see what happens to the Parr family as a superhero team, a dynamic we actually didn’t see until the third act of the movie. There’s plenty to see here, so a sequel really does make a lot of sense.

What do you think? Will The Incredibles 2 break the Pixar sequel “curse,” or do we have another excellent Pixar trilogy on our hands?

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.

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