How Toy Story Referenced Tim Allen’s Home Improvement Role

Toy Story was released during the height of Home Improvement’s run, and the Pixar animated movie included a reference to Tim Allen’s show.

One Toy Story Easter egg references Tim Allen’s famous role in Home Improvement. Pixar’s first movie in 1995 was a massive success. It earned rave reviews, became a box office hit, and ultimately went on to launch one of the biggest animated franchises of all-time. Toy Story also revolutionized the animation industry by embracing 3D computer animation and being the first feature-length film to use it for the entirety of its runtime.

With Toy Story‘s plot revolving around the unlikely partnership between Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody, Pixar didn’t hold back in casting some recognizable actors. The studio brought Tom Hanks aboard to voice Woody after he starred in some incredibly popular movies of the early 1990s. Hanks proved to be a perfect choice to play the cowboy, and Pixar needed someone equally famous to voice the space ranger. They settled on Home Improvement star Tim Allen to voice Buzz Lightyear. Since he was the lead in one of America’s most-watched shows at the time, Toy Story included a reference to Allen’s other role.

Related: How Toy Story Established Pixar’s Storytelling Style

During the third act of Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear and Woody find themselves captured by Andy’s next-door neighbor Sid, who is known for playing too rough with his toys. Sid hatches a plan to strap Buzz Lightyear to a rocket and send him into the sky where he’ll meet an explosive demise. When Woody tries to help save Buzz, the cowboy toy gets trapped in a crate due to Sid’s heavy toolbox sitting on top. This is where Home Improvement fans might’ve recognized something familiar. The red toolbox has a Binford Tools logo on it. Binford Tools is a company in Home Improvement that Tim Taylor used to work for and often has products showcased on the fictional television program Tool Time.

This reference to Home Improvement might have been missed by plenty of viewers, especially the younger crowd who hadn’t seen Tim Allen’s show yet. In fact, there are plenty of younger audiences who knew Tim Allen best as Santa Clause from the 1994 film. Toy Story might not have alluded to that role of Allen’s, but it isn’t too surprising that Pixar included this nod to Home Improvement.

Up until and even after Toy Story was released, Home Improvement was one of the biggest shows in America and made Allen one of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars. This Easter Egg doesn’t detract from the movie and merely acts as a fun detail that fans of the show will pick up on. It’s one of the rare examples where one of Tim Allen’s projects directly references Home Improvement in this fashion too. The final season of Tim Allen’s show Last Man Standing included a Binford Tools toolbox as well – but Toy Story did it first.

MORE: Why Pixar Can’t Let Toy Story Die

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