The ending of “Toy Story 3” is already sad ― Andy gives away his toys, people feel feelings. But, after a chat with “Coco” writer and director Adrian Molina, we now know there was at least one other version of the story that would have made you fall apart faster than Mr. Potato Head.
During a recent interview with Molina, we couldn’t help bringing up “Toy Story 3,” for which he was a storyboard artist. One of the most iconic moments from the movie happens toward the end, when the toys are sliding into an incinerator, accepting their doom, only to be saved at the last moment by some aliens and a giant crane/“the claw.”
It’s already a dark moment, but we had to know: Did the people behind “Toy Story 3” ever actually consider incinerating one of the toys? Yeah, it turns out they did.
So which toy was played out? Was it Jessie? Buzz? Not Woody! Anyone but Woody ...
The answer is all of the above.
“The only reference that I remember about that was a version that editorial had cut together, where in an effort to make the film shorter, they just sent all the toys into the incinerator,” Molina told HuffPost.
Molina said he’s “pretty sure” it was a joke, but added, “It did come as a surprise.”
We couldn’t just leave it at that, so we also posed the question to Lee Unkrich, director of “Coco” and “Toy Story 3.” He confirmed that there was a version of the film in which the toys didn’t make it.
Unkrich said his editorial crew put it together as a joke, adding that viewers wouldn’t have seen the toys go all the way into the incinerator. Instead, the incinerator scene cut directly to the credits before the toys were saved, so you’d see them holding hands and sliding to their inevitable demise.
“It didn’t have the uplifting ending that the film actually has,” he said.
From Unkrich’s account, we can assume the moment looked somewhat like a reported viral prank, in which a YouTuber showed his mom a version of “Toy Story 3” that cut off before the toys’ rescue. (You do not have a friend in your kids.)
“I think it’s one of those moments where it’s in the most dire of circumstances that you figure out what you’re made of, and that was really the moment those characters had to go through to realize what was important to them,” Molina said, reflecting on the incinerator scene and how the toys eventually are saved.
“Coco” also involves moments that test characters in dire circumstances. But at no point during the film are you worried that all their faces will melt off.