Walt Disney had a penchant for featuring motherless children as protagonists in his movies, and while Pixar—a Disney offshoot—has played around with the nuclear family dynamic, one question that has been bothering fans from infinity to beyond for more than 20 years is: What happened to Andy’s dad in Toy Story?
Earlier this week, the super sleuthers over on the Super Carlin Brothers YouTube channel, who regularly uncover what they describe as “tiny little undiscovered nuggets of information that can connect otherwise unconnected dots and come up with brand-new theories,” came up with a whopper of a backstory about Andy’s father that has all of the Internet—and even the film’s writer—atwitter.
While people have spent years speculating about where Andy’s M.I.A. padre might be, the most common conclusion is that either his parents are divorced or his dad passed away. Earlier this month, during a YouTube livestream event, Mike Mozart—a story consultant on the original film—confirmed that the latter assumption is the correct one, but he didn’t stop there.
You can watch the full video below for lots of insider details about the making of the film, but it’s right around the 43-minute mark that he shared some details about Andy’s dad, including the fact that he was also named Andy and that he was the only kid in the world who owned a Woody doll, as he was just a prototype (it’s Andy’s dad who wrote his name on the bottom of Woody’s boot).
When he was a kid, Andy Sr. contracted polio, which led to all of his toys being destroyed to contain the infection. But Andy Sr. used what little strength he had to save Woody (plus Slinky and Mr. Potato Head) from certain death, which is why he was so important to both father and son.
Though Andy Sr. did recover—and go on to get married and have Andy Jr.—he was later struck with post-polio syndrome, which led to his untimely death.
Using Mozart’s tale as a jumping off point, the Super Carlin Brothers shed some additional light on the reasons why this sad-as-hell theory just might make sense, and fill in some of the Toy Story franchise’s plot holes.
But the conversation didn’t end there. On Saturday evening, Andrew Stanton—one of the film’s original writers—did his best to stop the insanity when he called the story “complete and utter fake news.”
While it sure does have the makings of a great piece of Toy Story trivia, we’re going to have to listen to the expert (read: Stanton) on this one. Who knows—maybe it will prompt him and his fellow Toy Story creators to tell us what really did happen to Andy’s dad.