You all should feel lucky. The Toy Story 3 you almost GOT was a cheap DTV Michael Eisner threatened to make in 2005 if Pixar didn't agree to his exact contract negotiation terms. It went as far as an official announcement.

To understand how things got to that point, and why it has taken ten entire years for the legitimate #3 to show up, you have to go even further back to 2001, and the conversation Steve Jobs had with Eisner that fueled a years-long feud that almost divorced Disney and Pixar forever.

Pixar's original contract with Disney was for five feature films -- only sequels weren't included because both parties were assuming they'd be made on the cheap for the video market. Halfway through the making of Toy Story 2, they realized they had too good a movie to give that kind of treatment to, and bumped it up to another feature.

Toy Story 2 wound up outgrossing Toy Story 1, and Jobs insisted it now counted in the contract as one of the five pictures. Eisner said no, it didn't. Jobs said, yes it did. Eisner said, no it didn't. It was less about the movie itself and more about the contract -- Jobs wanted a better deal sooner rather than later, and Eisner wanted the original contract stretched as far as he could take it.

Which is why the next thing that came out of Eisner's mouth was, "So, how about Toy Story 3?"
"Toy Story 3. You want a Toy Story 3, after you refused to count Toy Story 2?"
"You expect us to waste another two to four years on something that will accomplish nothing but extending this old contract even further?"
"Yeah, so what?"

Jobs absolutely refused to make Toy Story 3 until a new contract was in his hands, which wouldn't happen until the previous one expired with the delivery of Cars. And when they went to the table, Disney offered the same contract again. Jobs threatened to walk if he didn't get the better deal he'd been burning for. Eisner would accept nothing but getting his own way, and said "fine, we don't even need you." That's where talk of the bootleg sequels started.

Eisner's entire strategy rested on the success or failure of Chicken Little. And that's why that movie was overpromoted so heavily -- if you didn't come to see it, it would be proof to investors that Disney couldn't make their own cartoons anymore without Pixar's help. Fortunately, you ignored it. That little decision to skip blowing $8 saved Buzz and Woody from a horrific fate. Eisner resigned, Bob Iger took his place, and Iger was more willing to save the Disney-Pixar relationship.

As for the first Toy Story 3: Buzz Lightyear gets recalled to Taiwan and the others have to save him. The franchise would have become a series of rescue missions, but more importantly, with Andy still a child it left the door open for a Toy Story 4, or 5, or a Land Before Time string of easy sequels.

Eisner, if you're out there, you are such a jerk.

Lasseter and company have had their own ideas stewing around for a Toy Story 3 ever since they were told they couldn't make one. What kinds of ideas were they? I knew years ago, before the movie was ever a possibility, thanks to the Toy Story Ultimate Toy Box DVD Set.

This was one of the first deluxe DVD productions, and it was made during the brief period of time where the audience of adult DVD collectors was bigger than the mainstream screaming children, who were still using VHS. Disney aimed this box squarely at adult Pixar fans and crammed it with as much insider material as they could. The whole film is laid out completely naked -- there's nothing you can't know. Just look at this crazy list. LOOK AT IT!

Not even the Blu-Ray gives you that much. Nobody would stuff a DVD with this much material today, out of fear they wouldn't have any more material to put into the next release. Consequently, some of these things have never been seen again. But out of all the storyboards, demos and pitches, what's most significant about the Ultimate Toy Box is what's hidden in the History section of Toy Story 1 on the Supplemental disc...

This is the original treatment for Toy Story, pitched in March of 1991. It's very different from the actual movie, yet there are many plot elements and moments that show up in Toy Story. And Toy Story 2. AND Toy Story 3.

I figured there would be a day care center, or something like it, long before any of the trailers came out....because it's the only unused location from the treatment, and it's where the story ends.

Now it's time for a Platypus Comix Exclusive™. I typed the first sentence into Google and found nothing. For some bizarre reason, even though this set has been out for nine years, I'm the first to type this up.

(working title)


John Lasseter
Andrew Stanton
Pete Docter

Pt. Richmond, California

(c) 1991 Pixar

Everyone has has the traumatic experience of losing a toy. Our story takes the toy's point of view as he loses and tries to regain the single thing most important to him: to be played with by children. This is the reason for the existence of all toys. It is the emotional foundation of their existence.

Our story opens in a small factory where tin toys are manufactured. They sweep down a conveyor belt with all types of other toys of diffeent sizes, shapes and colors. We single out a group of tin toy musicians, then we focus in on one, our star, Tinny.

His eyes are opening up and he's looking around, wide-eyed with excitement. The conveyor belt goes to the shipping area where he's boxed up and put into a big carton. As the box is folded up, we follow him into the dark.

Light streams in as the carton is opened up -- we are in a toy store. Tinny is taken out and placed on a shelf. This toy store is full of colorful toys. Most are modern electronic, designy, made of brightly colored plastic, but Tinny is a new reproduction of an old-style tin toy.

Tinny establishes himself at once as the toy with soul. As Tinny surveys his surroundings, we establish his need to be played with by a kid. That's what these toys want. As the store opens and the kids start coming in, the toys are like puppies in a pet store.

They look around excitedly, play their music, hop up and down. All they want is to get a kid's attention. The kids are grabbing the toys and playing with them while their parents are buying whatever the kids show interest in. Tinny is just playing his music and looking around excitedly trying to get the attention of one kid, when a hand reaches down and grabs him. It's a grown-up! Tinny thinks, "This guy is a little big for a kid," but he optimistically expects it to work out. He's purchased, wrapped up in tissue paper and gently placed in a box.

In a moment, from the dark of the box, he hears muffled, excited noises, Suddenly the package is ripped open and there are balloons and streamers and sugar-cranked kids singing -- Tinny's a birthday gift to a little boy! The little boy just adores Tinny. Of all the toys he got for his birthday, Tinny is the one that he really cherishes. They play constantly, and Tinny is in heaven. This is exactly what he's been made for.

After a hard day of play in the boy's room, he meets a bunch of other toys, including an old teddy bear whose fur has been worn away with age, hard play and constant companionship. We learn he's been around a long time, handed down from generation to generation. He's a survivor. The teddy bear warns him, "Kid, let me tell you. Enjoy it while you got it. Kids grow up and they'll outgrow you. They run off after girls, cars, whatever, and they forget all about their toys. Your best shot is to be handed down. Play your cards right, and when this boy grows up he'll hand you down to his kids. You're made of tin, so you'll last. Not like some of these plastic things. In a week they'll all be broken. But you have a chance. Like I said, enjoy it while you got it. It doesn't last forever."

The parents come in.

"OK kids, get ready! We're going on a trip. Start packing up!"

But kids, instead of packing clothes, pack toys. That's the thing they are most interested in. As they rummage around for toys, the teddy bear slides behind a pillow and says, "Thanks, but I've been through this too many times. You guys go and have fun. I'm staying here." The little boy misses him but of course he grabs Tinny, his favorite.

The family car is the classic station wagon filled with kids on a long road trip through the Southwest, all along straight highways with the kids complaining and fighting, "You're on my side of the seat! There's a line right down the middle...not there...there!" They play license plates and other games, all seen from Tinny's point of view. He's stuffed down between the seat and the pillow with all this other stuff and he's really enjoying it.

Come nightfall, the kids are asleep when one pops up, "I gotta go to the bathroom!" just after a gas stop. Dad grumbles, but they find a rest stop and pull over. The sleepy-eyed child gets out and goes to the bathroom with Mom. As the car door opens, Tinny, who was wedged between the seat and the door, falls out onto the parking lot. From close comfort and love he's thrust out into the cold and darkness. The boy comes back and climbs into his warm seat. The door shuts and the car drives off.

Outside, the sound of the car drowns out Tinny's efforts to make noise and get their attention. All he sees are the tail lights disappearing into the horizon, into the darkness, leaving him...all...alone. In the middle of the desert. In the middle of nowhere. There's nothing there but the rest area and, across the highway, a gas station closed down for the night. A howl of a coyote far off in the distance echoes...then silence.

Morning comes to the desert. Tinny's covered with dew. He's cold, scared, and feeling completely alone when he hears a child's voice. He perks up. Across the street at the gas station, there's a truck getting gas, loaded down with family belongings and kids playing around it. Kids...KIDS! Tinny sees his life coming back to him: to be with a child, playing and being loved! He heads across the highway, which from his POV looks to be two football fields wide.

He starts gamely across the road, but WHOOSH!! Truck tires go right in front of him. "Oh geez!!" He gets back to the edge, scared and torn, 5 inches high against this hurtling metal. He waits for the traffic to pass, then starts across as quickly as he can, playing his music as he goes, but then he looks up to find a trick bearing down on him. He cowers in fear and WHOOOOSH!! the truck goes over him, and another and another: a whole convoy. He's spun around and confused but with one heroic dash he finally makes it across. Dazed and gasping, he hears a kid's voice again and remembers what he's doing and goes over to the truck.

The parents' feet appear under the truck.

"Well kids, we've got to get going if we're going to get to the new house today. Got a long day ahead of us. Hop in, let's go."

Tinny finds a rope dangling off the side that's holding down all the belongings. He shimmies up and climbs inside. He's panting, but eager-eyed with anticipation. "This is great! I'm going to be the toy to another child again. When they find me, when they get there it will be great!! I'll get to be played with again!" The truck starts up, and pulls away, but when Tinny looks out the back he sees all the kids getting into a different car! Their car heads off, leaving him alone in the truck going in the opposite direction.

Time passes and Tinny, very sad, is just staring out of the truck, watching the desert pass by. He hears a voice with a very thick accent, "Yer not frum aroun' heer are yew?" Tinny turns around to see a ventriloquist's dummy with a human-sized cowboy hat on. He tips it up and underneath he's got a little top hat. "How'd ya like that? Cowboys are one of my best impressions. I've got a lot more where that came from." He's a ventriloquist's dummy in the Vaudeville style, but he was made long after Vaudeville died.

He came with a Henny Youngman joke book, so he's got a one-liner for everything. He's very experienced and somewhat bitter. When he finds out that Tinny has just been left by his first owner, he reassures him. "Don't worry, kid -- we've all been through it. I'll take care of you."

We find out the dummy has had kid after kid play with him. He snickers, "You're in luck, kid. This guy collects stuff and then sells it at auctions." He looks down and lifts up a tag and says "In fact, we're going to one right now."

They get to the auction where all sorts of toys are being sold off to benefit sick children. Backstage, the dummy tries to hit on some Barbie dolls just as it becomes their turn at the auction block. Tinny looks out at the audience of kids with their parents and imagines himself with one of them. The kids are excited and eager.

The bidding starts with some action. Suddenly, a voice from the back outbids everybody. "Sold to the guy in the back!"

And up comes this really anal-retentive toy collector. He picks up the dummy and Tinny with special white gloves and puts them in plastic bags. They get to his house and his collection room is full of glass cabinets with neat rows of toys behind the glass doors. Everything is spotless. He takes off the dummy's clothes, washes them, cleans the dummy up, buttons everything up, puts him into a case alongside Tinny. And there they sit, all cleaned up.

The dummy is sitting there, stiff and uncomfortable, like a little kid going to Sunday school. He unbuttons himself, but the collector comes back and buttons him back up again. As the reality of their situation dawns, the dummy says, "You know what this guy does? He's sick! He just collects toys. He puts them behind glass and no child ever plays with them. Do you realize what's going to happen? We're not going to get played with, Tinny, ever!"

A voice says, "I've always wanted to see a kid." They look over at a vintage, limited edition caterpillar with a Slinky body. Like others of his kind, he's never been played with, never been out of the box. He's brand new, in perfect condition and very valuable, but he doesn't even know what a kid is. But he has that feeling inside of him that says, "I've always wanted to be played with by a kid." The Slinky is a fussy, fearful sort who drives the dummy crazy. "We've got to get out of here," he says.

The dummy notices through the glass that the guy has a weird obsession with taking out the garbage. When the opportunity presents itself, the dummy and Tinny sneak out of the glass cabinet. Tinny looks back at the caterpillar who has a sad longing in his eyes. Tinny goes back and gets him. They climb into the garbage and cover themselves up. Even this guy's garbage is clean! They're hiding in the wastebasket and, sure enough, they are taken out. The dummy's very proud of himself.

The garbage goes down a chute into a dumpster, into the trash, where it's a mess: coffee grounds, bananas, dirty diapers. There's trash everywhere. The Slinky is crying out, "I'm not sure I like this...Where's the kids?" Just then, their whole world turns upside down as the dumpster is hoisted in the air and emptied into a garbage truck. The truck takes off down the street and onto a highway. "We'll never find any kids this way!" The garbage truck is rumbling down the road and they are sitting amidst all sorts of junk, plastic bags full of stuff, an old recliner chair, etc.

As they look around, the dummy spies a lever that says, "DON'T TOUCH THIS LEVER." Of course he grabs it. "Hey, guys, come and give me a hand, this thing won't budge." They finally pull it, and it opens up the back and all the trash spills out all over the highway. They go flying and land in the recliner chair which has caster wheels.

But the caterpillar is still hanging on to the lever with his front half while his butt is in the chair so he is stretched out swinging them from side to side at 40 miles an hour. The others call out "Let go! Let go!" and the Slinky releases his grip. He snaps back into the chair and causes them to slingshot past the garbage truck down an off-ramp, through a red light, with traffic and garbage going everywhere. Just as a truck bears down on them they look for the brakes frantically.

The dummy pulls the lever on the side of the chair and it reclines. They shoot under the truck and out the other side. They are flying past intersections with lots of close calls when suddenly they hit a curb, fly up in the air, and BAM! they land in a box in somebody's front yard.

"How much for the chair?"
"It's a buck!"
"How 'bout that toaster?"
"A buck!"

They're in a yard sale!

They look around, dazed, as people come up. A couple peers into the box.

"Oh, Honey, look at these toys! Aren't these nice? Baby would love them. Say, how much are these?"

"Oh, they are family heirlooms. They're worth a lot of money. I don't know if I could part with them for under, say..."

"I'll give you a dollar."

"OK, sold."

"Our baby is going to love them. They're just the cutest."

Our heroes are ecstatic at their amazing luck. A baby! We're going to get to play with a baby! They start psyching up the caterpillar while they are in the box going to their new home. "Babies are kind of slobbery and rough but they grow up to be great kids. In fact, since you haven't had the pleasure, we'll let you play with him first! It will be great!"

They get to the house. As they're dumped out onto the hardwood floor, the toys push the Slinky to the front. He's so touched by this gesture of kindness, a tear comes to his eye. "Oh, thanks guys. This is great!" But from around the corner comes this dog; this disgusting, hairless dog with a pink belly. It's really hyper, the type you want to kick across the room, but it looks to them like a monster. It runs toward them, paws clatting on the floor.

The caterpillar, who has never seen a kid before, cries, "It's more beautiful than I ever thought!" but the dummy and Tinny are saying, "Let's get out of here." They start running, but the dog picks up the enchanted Slinky and starts slobbering all over him. The Slinky, confused and a little ambivalent again, says, "I don't know if I like this!" The dog has it in its mouth as they have a frantic chase around the house. They're running every which way and split up to make sure the dog doesn't get all of them.

The dog drops the caterpillar as it goes after the dummy. They all finally end up under the couch with a fringe around the edge. The dummy can barely fit. They hear this noise, a little squeaky noise, and in the dust balls they discover a little penguin squeeze toy with "Binky" written across him. He has asthma and he's wheezing since his little whistle is broken. He's got tooth marks all over him and he generally looks run through the mill. He wheezes, "I've been under here for a really long time. That dog just won't give me a break."

Finally, a noise outside distracts the dog. He tears out of the doggie door in the back, but quickly returns. In fact, this dog is so excitable that every time he hears a noise, he races outside to investigate. The dummy says, "We've got to get out of here. There are no kids around that he hasn't scared away, and if we stay here much longer he's going to get us too. I know, let's wait until night. He'll fall askeep and we'll escape in the dark when he can't see us." The penguin says, "Oh no, that won't do any good...I glow in the dark!"

The dog hears another noise and tears outside again. "In that case, we'll have to make a break for it now." They run and climb through the doggie door into the backyard and across the backyard. The dog sees them and tears after them. They see a hole in the back fence. "Make for the hole!" The little toys go through first and the dummy takes up the rear. He tries to squeeze into the hole, but he can't fit. He tries and tries, but the dog is coming up on him.

All the toys are waiting for him and he yells, "Go! Go! Don't wait for me! Go, run, run, run!" They can't see where they are going due to the high grass, and when they finally see something they are surrounded by kids! They're in the middle of a field, a playground...the playground of a kindergarten at recess! There are kids everywhere! This is toy heaven. They look around in awe. Suddenly the kids notice them. They pick up the Slinky and the penguin and start playing with them, laughing and having a great time.

The recess bell rings and they start to go inside. Tinny is in a trance when suddenly he hears the dog barking. He looks back and sees the dummy almost out of the hole as he gets pulled back by the dog. The dog's barking and growling and the dummy's screaming. The other toys follow the kids as they head inside. They call out, "Come on, Tinny! What are you waiting for? It's our big break!"

Tinny sits there in heartbreak, looking back and forth between the kids, his purpose for existence, and the empty hole in the fence where the dummy, his friend, disappeared. Finally, he makes his decision as the children carry Slinky and the penguin inside with them. We see him wheel back around and head for the hole.

At the end of the day, the toys are put in a toy chest. The penguin and the Slinky are upset. They're in heaven, but their friends are missing. They can't enjoy it, knowing what the others must be going through. While reviewing their plight, they encounter two old-timers at the kindergarten. The one is an old See 'n Say who makes animal noises, but gets their names and sounds confused. The other is a Speak & Spell who can't spell. They talk to each other all the time, but in a constant state of confusion. The penguin says, "I can't believe he went back to that dog." This sparks the interest of the Speak & Spell. "D-O-G...Dog? You mean that dog next door? We HATE that D-O-G!!"

That night, Tinny creeps up to the doggie door from the backyard. All appears quiet. The backyard is lit by the blue glow of underwater lights from a swimming pool.

He looks inside. He can't hear the dog.

He climbs in, making sure the doggie door doesn't squeak, and sees the dog asleep on top of the dummy, who awakes, surprised to see Tinny. He gingerly extracts the dummy from under the dog. Just as they make it into the doggie door, it squeaks, waking the dog! He chases them, taking the scene from dead silence to utter racket and noise. They are cornered. Just as the dog is ready to pounce, we hear a "squeak, squeak, squeak." The dog looks over and there is a "glow in the dark" penguin standing against the wall.

The high-strung dog immediately seizes on this new distraction and chases after him, but the penguin doesn't move! The dog runs closer and closer and at the last instant, the penguin is pulled out of the way by the Slinky. The dog smashes into the wall.

Next, a "meow" comes from outside the house. We cut outside to the See 'n Say just outside, playing the animal noises. The dog tears out through the doggie door and he lands on a booby trap of kindergarten drawings, covered with library paste.

He's stuck with drawings of cats all over him, yapping as the other toys throw glitter and other school supplies on him. The toys climb in through the doggie door and try to block it, but the dog gets through and there's another big chase. But this time, the toys have set up more booby traps. At least they outwit the dog and put him in the recycling bin, sending him out with the rest of the trash. As dawn breaks and the sounds of a trash truck fills the air, the toys make their way back to the kindergarten with the dummy. He's torn to shreds, but they get in through the window.

There are no kids there, but even in the dark, Tinny can sense them. As his eyes adjust to the darkness inside of the schoolroom, it appears to him as some kind of holy shrine.

The other toys welcome Tinny and his friends. When the teacher shows up, she sees the dummy and shakes her head, saying "I've got to teach these kids to treat their toys better," but she's very kind and sews up the dummy.

As the kids show up, they start playing with the toys and the air is singing with the toys' joy. The other toys tell our four heroes how great it really is: it's a kindergarten, you never get outgrown because every year there's a new crop of kids, and the toys even get summers off! Tinny and friends have really found their heaven, and their happy ending.