• Woody’s loyalty to Andy can be explained by the theory that he originally belonged to Andy’s dad, Andy Sr.
  • The theory suggests that Woody’s undying loyalty to Andy stems from his previous bond with Andy Sr., who died of polio.
  • Despite being debunked, the theory explains Woody’s determination to stay by Andy’s side and his lack of fixation on being played with.



In Toy Story, Andy grows from childhood to his college years, but since only his mother is shown, many fans wonder, “Where is Andy’s dad in Toy Story?” Andy’s best friend in the movies is his cowboy doll Woody, and one theory posits that Woody first belonged to Andy’s absent father. In a near-unprecedented circumstance, all four Toy Story movies are generally considered to be excellent, with the franchise completely escaping the law of diminishing returns, and it was mostly Andy’s story.

The first movie showed Andy as a child, with the toys as his beloved companions. While Andy would eventually grow up and pass on his toys to Bonnie, and Woody would end up going off to a free outdoor life at the end of Toy Story 4, it’s safe to say Woody will always have a special place in his heart for Andy, and vice versa. There may be an extra reason for their attachment to each other: Woody previously belonged to Andy’s father, raising the question of where Andy’s dad is in Toy Story.


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How Woody Could Have Belonged To Andy’s Dad

Woody in Toy Story 4 and Andy in Toy Story 3

Andy’s dad never appears in any of the Toy Story films, and his absence is never addressed. Several theories sprung up to explain that, including some in which Andy’s parents got divorced. One theory suggests Andy’s dad died before Toy Story 1, after a childhood battle with polio. The theory goes back to a man named Mike Mozart, who revealed it on the Super Carlin Brothers YouTube channel in 2017. Mozart was a friend of Joe Ranft, who worked for Pixar and has a story credit for Toy Story 1.

Mozart says Ranft revealed to him that Andy’s dad was also named Andy, and that name was carved into Sheriff Woody not by Andy, but in the 1950s by Andy’s father. After he got polio, Andy Sr.’s toys were burned, but he hid Woody, sparing the cowboy doll that fate. Andy recovered from the illness, grew up, met his wife, and they had a son — but not long after Andy’s sister Molly was born, the theory posits that Andy developed post-polio syndrome, a condition that ultimately led to his death.

The doll was a one-of-a-kind prototype that came into Andy Sr.’s possession.

Before dying, Andy’s dad entrusts him with Woody, who is revealed in Toy Story 2 to be quite rare. In this theory, the doll was a one-of-a-kind prototype that came into Andy Sr.’s possession partly in response to his being nearly fatally ill as a child. The theory has become a popular one with many, and Mozart swears it’s true. Another Toy Story writer — and Finding Nemo director — Andrew Stanton, has soundly debunked it on social media, referring to the theory as “fake news.”

Unfortunately, Ranft isn’t around to comment on Mozart’s assertions, as he tragically passed away in a car crash in 2005 at the age of 45. While the theory that Woody belonged to Andy’s dad is fairly plausible, and Andy’s mom does even refer to Woody as “an old family toy,” the way it patches up several Toy Story franchise plot holes seems a bit overly convenient. Plus, Stanton denouncing it so forcefully wouldn’t make sense if it was true. For now, Andy’s dad remains a mystery.


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The Theory Explains Why Woody Is So Loyal

Woody is loyal to Andy to the end of Toy Story. The fact he might’ve belonged to Andy’s dad could explain why. When looking at the other Toy Story toys, Woody’s determination to stay by Andy’s side isn’t even comparable. The Western doll stops at nothing to make sure he’s never separated from his owner, even when replacements weasel their way into the picture. This undying loyalty makes sense when framed with the idea that he’s originally Andy’s dad’s toy, especially if his dad died of Polio.

His main focus would be staying loyal to his first child owner by supporting his second.

It’s in this way that being played with more than the other toys doesn’t factor in for Woody. Rather, his main focus would be staying loyal to his first child owner by supporting his second. It’s possible that Andy Sr. would’ve asked a pre-Toy-Story Woody to watch over his son, not knowing that Woody would understand him, and the toy would’ve taken that to heart, especially as a sheriff.

The Polio theory also explains why Woody from Toy Story didn’t ever remember the TV show Woody’s Round-Up. If he spent most of his days in a hospital with Andy’s dad, it’s likely there wouldn’t be a TV in the 1950s. All in all, the theory holds water and explains why the toy is so loyal to its owner.

Toy Story

Pixar’s first feature film release sees Woody (Tom Hanks), a cowboy doll, confronted by the nightmare of being replaced as his owner Andy’s favorite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) action figure. Stricken by anxiety, Woody hatches a plan to remain the favorite, kicking off a race against time for the toys to be reunited with their owner before his house move makes them permanently Lost Toys.

John Lasseter

Release Date
November 22, 1995

Joss Whedon , Alec Sokolow , Joel Cohen , Andrew Stanton

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