I couldn't help but notice a lot in common between the Toy Story movies, and The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

In specific, the following elements are both major parts of the story:

  • They both are about toys who can move and talk to each other.
  • The rabbit wants to be real for the same reasons as Buzz Light-year (He can't jump like real rabbits can).
  • Toys fear being abandoned, and want to have as much attention as possible

But the most convincing part is when the rabbit is talking with the horse, who had been played with a lot by the boy's father and then passed to the boy.

This part is very much like what Toy Story 2 and 3 is about.

I wonder if any of Toy Story movies were inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit.

  • 1
    Should this question really be tagged with the-velveteen-rabbit if it doesn't refer to any specific adaptation, just the book? Sep 6, 2016 at 16:39
  • I've decided to remove the tag. Feb 7, 2017 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


Toys coming to life is not an uncommon story line. In addition to the Velveteen Rabbit, other well known ones are Winnie the Pooh, The Indian in the Cupboard, and even The Nutcracker.

However, the direct inspiration for the Toy Story movies was not The Velveteen Rabbit. The initial spark was an earlier Pixar short, Tin Toy.

Pixar, who had been producing short animated films to promote their computers, was approached by Disney to produce a computer animated feature after the success of the short Tin Toy (1988), which is told from the perspective of a toy. An agreement to produce a feature film based on Tin Toy with a working title of Toy Story was finalized and production began soon thereafter.

Many ideas from an un-produced TV special sequel to Tin Toy, made it into the Toy Story films.

Pixar hoped that this TV special would allow them to work their way up to make a feature length film one day. However it turned out they couldn't get the budget to start production on it after the network refused to give them the right amountof money. The idea was shelved for two years...until the company was hired by Disney to make them a full length movie. The story was re-worked until it became what is known as Toy Story. Some of the ideas from this un-produced TV special were used for all three Toy story movies.

Disney did not like the initial Toy Story treatment and Jeffrey Katzenberg suggested they look to make more of a buddy film with the main characters that start in conflict and have to come together.

Disney film division chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg felt the original treatment was problematic and told John Lasseter to reshape Toy Story as more of an odd-couple buddy picture, and suggested they watch some classic buddy movies, which include The Defiant Ones, in which two characters with different attitudes are thrown together and have to bond.

So once it moved from concept to reality, Toy Story was more influenced by 48 Hours, The Defiant Ones, The Odd Couple and Midnight Run.

The main characters were inspired by John Lasseter's own childhood toys, and went through many iterations before alighting on the final Woody and Buzz.

Woody and Buzz Lightyear are inspired by director John Lasseter's own childhood toys. He based Woody on his own pull-string Casper doll, and once he grew out of Casper he moved on to a G.I. Joe, a flashy toy at the time of his childhood.

The script went through many changes before the final version. John Lasseter decided Tinny was "too antiquated", and the character was changed to a military action figure, and then given a space theme. Tinny's name changed to Lunar Larry, then Tempus from Morph, and eventually Buzz Lightyear (after astronaut Buzz Aldrin).

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