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Toy Story: 11 Characters Who Deserve Their Own Lightyear

Oct 24, 2023

From Rex to Slinky Dog, this iconic animated franchise features fascinating characters that could easily lead their own movies.

Toy Story is one of the most popular franchises worldwide, but it is also among the most relevant ones in the history of cinema and animation. The film that kicked off the franchise was released in 1995, and went down in history for being Pixar's first feature film and the world's first fully computed-animated movie, an industry-changing technology (as outlined by TIME). Inspired by the short film Tin Toy, Toy Story is set in a world where toys come to life when they are not noticed by humans, and focuses on the rivalry between Woody and Buzz Lightyear, two toys that fight to be their owner Andy's favorite.

This film made its mark in the industry, and was highly acclaimed, earning, among other accolades, a Special Achievement Award at the 1995 Oscars. Due to its success, its first sequel was released in 1999, and over the years, two more sequels followed, in 2010 and 2019, respectively. All of these productions featured the audience's favorite characters from the original film, but also introduced new ones that became as popular and beloved as the originals.

In 2022, a totally different movie was added to the franchise: Lightyear. Said production is a spin-off prequel that focuses on Buzz Lightyear, the human who inspired the action figure's creation. Just as Buzz was given his own movie, there are many other characters in the franchise that could easily step into the lead role and headline big hits. Here are some of them.

Sarge and his Green Army Men play an extremely important role in the early movies, because they are in charge of carrying out different missions that involve guarding Andy. This commander is extremely disciplined and cares about his army, working under the premise of "leaving no man behind." It has likely taken him many years of hard work to get his force that organized, which would be worth watching in an animated production. The character was played by R. Lee Ermey, and was slightly inspired by this actor's role in the war movie Full Metal Jacket, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. Besides being an actor, Ermey was a United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and an honorary gunnery sergeant, so a movie about his life and career could also be very interesting.

Related: Toy Story 4: How the Pixar Sequel is One of the Series’ Best

Wheezy is one of those characters who, with minimal screen time, manages to steal the audience's heart. This toy penguin was introduced in Toy Story 2, and while it's unclear how he got into Andy's hands, he eventually became one of his favorite toys until his squeaker broke, and was forgotten on a dusty shelf. When Wheezy was put up for sale at the garage sale, Woody set out on a mission to save him, though said mission went terribly wrong and the cowboy ended up in Al's hands. Fortunately, by the end of the movie, Woody was able to come home to the rest of the toys, and Wheezy was given a new squeaker, leaving him as good as new. Judging by the amusing personality of this toy penguin, there is no doubt that his adventures before he reached Andy's house could easily shape an entertaining feature film.

Officer Giggle McDimples is featured in Toy Story 4, and is played by Ally Maki. Just like Wheezy, this little doll plays a minor role in the movie, but her energy and cheerfulness pierce the screen every time she shows up. Giggle is Bo Peep's friend and confidant, and together they embark on the most exciting and dangerous adventures, considering how tiny this police officer is. A toy of her size certainly has plenty of stories to tell that could be made into a movie. Furthermore, Giggle is inspired by the popular Polly Pocket doll line, which would also be a good theme for a film that would undoubtedly appeal to the audience's nostalgia.

Slinky Dog is one of the oldest characters in Toy Story, and for that reason, he seems to be more laid back and wiser than the rest. However, he also acts like any other dog: he is very loyal to Woody, loves being petted and, most of all, he really likes to play. This character is based on a toy of the same name created by James Industries, renowned for creating the slinky spring toy in the 1940s. As a result of the slinky's success, Richard James and his wife Betty started working on several variations of the toy, which led to the creation of the Slinky Dog, among others toys. Such a creative process would be a very fascinating subject matter for a film production.

The Little Green Men are promotional toys for Pizza Planet, Andy's favorite restaurant. These little aliens worship the claw of the game they are part of until Mr. Potato Head saves their lives, at which point they adopt him along with Mrs. Potato Head as their adoptive parents. While these little guys don't talk much, and tend to behave all the same, they are a lot of fun to watch, and they must have had some hilarious adventures before joining Woody's gang. Bearing in mind the similarities they have with characters like the Minions from Despicable Me, the Little Green Men could even have their own movie series, and would certainly be very popular, especially among younger audiences.

Considering that Rex is based on Tyrannosaurus rex from Jurassic Park, one would expect this toy dinosaur to be terrifying and abominable. However, it is far from that: Rex is probably the most adorable of all Andy's toys. This character is well aware that his personality is far from what is expected of a dinosaur, which undoubtedly creates a lot of insecurities and makes him feel insignificant. It also makes us wonder what his relationship with the rest of the toys like him must have been like before he became Andy's toy. Would all toy dinosaurs be as lovable as Rex, or would this character be out of place in the pack? Surely this theme could unravel further in a movie.

Related: Toy Story: 6 Actors Almost Cast as Woody and Buzz Lightyear

Bo Peep is Woody's love interest throughout Toy Story, and while she is among Andy's toys, she was initially an ornament on her sister Molly's bedside lamp. This shepherdess is inspired by the nursery rhyme Little Bo Peep and Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep. She is among the characters that develop the most over the course of the franchise, as she eventually becomes a lost toy and bounces from one adventure to the next with her new friends. While Bo Peep's journey is briefly featured in Toy Story 4, it would definitely be a great topic for a standalone movie.

Lotso is, hands down, one of the biggest villains in the entire franchise. This strawberry-scented teddy bear is first introduced in Toy Story 3, as Sunnyside Daycare's leader. At first, he seems like a lovable toy, but eventually Woody and his gang uncover the truth about him. However, Lotso wasn't always like that: he became evil upon discovering that his owner Daisy replaced him with another Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear after she lost him over lunch. No doubt, Lotso's trip back to Daisy's house alongside Big Baby and Chuckles must have been quite an adventure, and it would be interesting to see it in a movie, as well as the journey he went through before becoming Sunnyside's villain.

Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl is one of the most important characters in Toy Story, and was introduced in the second film of the franchise. This character was a member of Woody's Roundup, a long-forgotten TV show. After she was abandoned by her owner, Jessie ended up among Al McWhiggin's collectible dolls. Eventually, she faces her fear of being abandoned again and honors her true purpose: to accompany children in their games. This character played by Joan Cusack could very well star in a movie that further explores her days at Woody's Roundup, or even her time with Emily.

Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head are a charming and completely contrasting couple, whose only thing in common is their love for one another. Despite being supporting characters, they managed to win the audience's heart since the first movie. Both characters are based on the toys of the same name distributed by Hasbro. They were first created by George Lerner, and were initially several face pieces that could be attached to real potatoes or other vegetables, but faced with society's disapproval of using food to play with, they added a plastic potato to the set. This toy's evolution and the story of its creator are certainly very interesting subjects to feature in a movie.

Wrapping up the list is probably the most important toy in the entire franchise: Woody. This character, inspired by Howdy Doody and Tex Tucker from Four Feather Falls, is the head of Andy's toy gang and also his owner's favorite. According to the movies, he is based on a character of the same name from the TV show Woody's Roundup, as confirmed by Jessie in Toy Story 2. While Woody is the main character in Toy Story, and the one that audiences are most familiar with, he also deserves a movie exploring his backstory and how he became Andy's favorite toy. Furthermore, a film expanding on the character that inspired Woody would also be very interesting, and apparently, following Lightyear's success, fans are already calling for a Woody origin movie (via LADBible).

Toy Story MOVIEWEB VIDEO OF THE DAY SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT Sarge Wheezy Officer Giggle McDimples Slinky Dog Little Green Men Rex Bo Peep Lotso Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head Woody