We all know Pixar’s classic animated film “Toy Story,” and we all know Woody as Toy Story’s lovable cowboy ragdoll hero. Not only is Woody Andy’s favorite toy, but he is also a fan favorite character. But did you know that an earlier version of Woody actually depicted him as a villain? And Disney hated it.
Following Pixar’s successful short film “Tin Toy,” the company was approached by Disney to create a feature length animated film. Out came “Toy Story,” which had a similar concept to the 1988 short: a story told from a toy’s perspective. In the story’s initial mock-up, Woody had a character arc of a typical villain. He was a mean-spirited character that drove the other toys into rebellion.
However, the mock up screening day (known as “Black Friday”) came around and the reel received overwhelming negative reactions. Disney hated this character arc, deeming Woody unlikeable and insufferable. Even Tom Hanks, who voiced the character, reportedly shouted “This guy is a jerk!” while recording lines for the reel. Production was ultimately shut down, and Pixar was given a week to rewrite the story. And well, the rest is history.
As an added bonus, early concept art for Woody depicted him as a rather menacing looking dummy. If his intolerable personality didn’t deter Disney to scratch earlier versions of Woody, this sure would’ve done it.
Watch Nerdstalgic’s video to learn more about the full story. And if you’re curious take a look at the “Black Friday” reel below to see the initial Woody in action.