There are many reasons why the “Toy Story” franchise is so well-loved by both animators and viewers alike. Not only does it have great story, animations and characters, it set off a trend for 3D animation as it was the first fully computer animated feature film ever.
Another reason why the franchise is so precious is because the movie is relatable and familiar due to all the various toys showcased in the movie.
As some of you may already know, there are many toys in the franchise that actually existed in real life. For example, Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Barbie, Ken, Combat Carl and more.
However, some of them were inspired from real vintage toys but were given different names instead. For instance, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, and Jessie are loosely based on real-life toys for obvious reason – they are the main and important supporting characters.
There are also cases when the side characters are based on real toys but they use a totally different name. This may be due to the fact that Pixar needs to buy rights to use the toys in marketing and promotion and they may not want to pay licensing fees to the original makers.
Anyway, here are some of the old vintage toys which actually inspired the characters in “Toy Story 4”.
Main character Woody is a vintage cowboy rag doll based on the Howdy Doody puppets from the 1950s. “Toy Story” director John Lasseter has also clarified that Woody is based on an old Casper pull-string doll which he used to have as a kid.
It is also believed that the fictional show “Woody’s Roundup” which appeared in “Toy Story 2” is based on marionette show “Four Feather Falls” featuring a cowboy named Tex Tucker.
Woody’s partner and best friend Buzz is a spaceman action figure based on John Lasseter’s old G.I. Joe action figure from the 1960s. Also, in the early script of “Toy Story”, G.I. Joe was originally going to be the deuteragonist but was later replaced by Buzz.
It is also reported that Buzz resembles the classic Hasbro toy Rom the Space Knight. Like Buzz, Rom is a Space Ranger in a suit of powered armour who fights a race of hostile alien beings with a special laser.
Woody’s love interest Bo Peep was not Andy’s toy, but a porcelain figurine that comes with a three-headed sheep called Billy, Goat, and Gruff. Both her and her sheep were originally adornments of the lamp in Molly’s bedroom. She is based on the nursery rhyme character Little Bo-Peep. Originally, Pixar wanted Barbie to be Woody’s love interest, but Mattel refused to license the character to Disney at that time because Pixar wasn’t famous back then.
New character Gabby Gabby, which seems to be the main antagonist of “Toy Story 4”, is believed to be based on the old Chatty Cathy dolls which were popular talking pull-string dolls in the early 1960s. “Toy Story 4” director Josh Cooley also confirmed that the character is also based on the creepy Talking Tina doll from “The Twilight Zone”.
Duke Kaboom is another new character in “Toy Story 4”. He is a Canadian daredevil and stuntman toy who seems to be a parody version of the famous Evel Knievel toy from the 1970s. Evel Knievel was an American stunt performer and entertainer who attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps.
Bensons are a group of ventriloquist dummies who take orders from Gabby Gabby – in other words, they are her henchmen. The dummies give a striking resemblance to another creepy dummy called Slappy the Dummy from the “Goosebumps” franchise. But they are actually based on a ventriloquist doll named Charlie McCarthy.
Miniature plastic doll Giggle McDimples is inspired from Mattel’s toy line of dolls and accessories, Polly Pocket. She is a police officer set in microscopic Miniopolis, and is the smallest “Toy Story“ toy to date.
Synopsis of “Toy Story 4”:
Woody has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep. After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realise they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.