Was Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ Inspired by True Events?

woody toy story scared hiding tom hanks cowboy disney
Credit: Disney

We aren’t talking about plastic toys coming to life – THAT would be unbelievable. But what about space travel, aliens, and a lost explorer?

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Ride Vehicle at Alien Sqirling Saucers

Credit: Disney

Claims that Alien Space Explorers Are Real

This week there have been multiple hearings in Washington, D.C. regarding the government hiding information on UFOs, including the bodies of extra-terrestrial beings.

David Grusch, who served for 14 years as an intelligence officer in the Air Force and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, appeared alongside two former pilots who all supported the notion that UFOs are real and the government has been studying them for years.

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He also said he had interviewed officials who knew directly about a crashed aircraft where non-human beings were recovered.

But what does this have to do with Toy Story (1995), made by Pixar animation studios? Let’s keep going…

buzz lightyear flying

Credit: PIXAR Animation Studios

Roswell Incident

In July of 1947, debris from a fallen object was found in Roswell, New Mexico. Many conspiracy theories have sprung up around the incident. Over the past few decades, there have been stories claiming an alien spacecraft crashed and also denial by the government, which said it was a weather balloon at the time. In the 1990s, the United States Air Force published a report claiming that the crashed object was in fact, part of a secret nuclear test.

Indiana Jones

Credit: Disney

There have also been claims, fictionalized in many movies and tv shows, that deceased aliens were found in Roswell, as well. This idea is featured in scenes of popular movies such as Independence Day (1996) and even Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

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Similarities to Toy Story (1995)

So back to the original Toy Story (1995). Yes, the animated movie is about action figures voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. But the plot of Buzz Lightyear in that film is not unlike the Roswell incident. A space traveler crash lands on a mysterious planet, and his ship is damaged.

woody buzz lightyear disney pixar toy story 1991 returns to theaters

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

A real-life Earthbound alien himself could have easily communicated the same lines as Buzz Lightyear: “My ship has crash landed here by mistake” and “a secret mission in uncharted space.”

toy story 1995 returns to theaters pixar films disney100 buzz lightyear woody

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

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Obviously, Andy’s Room is not Roswell, New Mexico. But John Lasseter grew up when there was a lot of speculation in the 50s and 60s, where ideas of space travel, and aliens, were highly influential. And if one is to believe that the testimony in Congress is real, perhaps the plot of Toy Story (1995), or even Lilo and Stitch (2002) – which was initially set in rural America – isn’t that far off.

John Lasseter with Toy Story toys

Credit: sfchronicle.com

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So was Pixar’s animated film Toy Story (1995) inspired by actual events? Maybe. And perhaps the creators just don’t know it yet…


Credit: Xenopedia

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About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)