Rachel Cranor
Who is the antagonist in Toy Story? The immediate answer is Sid Phillips. But is he really the main villain? Is it Potato Head and most of the other toys? Is it Woody himself?

The Dictionary.com definition of "antagonist" is:


[an-tag-uh-nist] Show IPA
1. a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary.
2. the adversary of the hero or protagonist of a drama or other literary work

And Woody does butt heads with Buzz for the first hour or so of the film. And Potato Head and his gang want to stop Woody from hurting any other toys. Sid doesn't seem so bad now does he? He didn't know the toys were alive! The meanest thing that he knew was wrong was steal his sister's toys.
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Dan the Pixar Fan
Good topic! This has always been a question by many, I think. Or at least I have thought if it! Who is the main antagonist/villain?

I looked much more into the term antagonist further and compared it with "villain" (since you used that word too). Many people out there as well have asked if those words mean the same thing and I found that they are similar but different. They can't always be used interchangeably. There's lots of articles out there comparing the two. The villain is often the antagonist but doesn't have to be. The antagonist is often someone/something totally separate and can be in addition to the "villain" or in place of the "villain". So it gets confusing! Are we talking just strictly antagonist here, or villain as well? For example, the antagonist can be a good guy (like you said, the toys mad at Woody and Woody himself both fit the description at some point in the movie) but they wouldn't be defined as the villains. Villains are defined as "a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot." Potato Head (and some of the other toys) would be antagonists but they're definitely not evil. Same goes for Woody and Sid...

 Hmmmm...but here is a question. Does it come down to the toy's perspective whether there is a villain or not? Take Sid for example. To us, Sid is just a nutty kid with a cooky (and somewhat twisted) imagination. But to the toys, Sid is basically a murder and torturer who blows toys up just for fun. He really is a threat in their eyes. So if you're in their shoes, he's a pretty bad "villain" doing pretty "evil" stuff from their perspective (even though we know he's just a harmless little kid and so he's not a villain to us).

Ultimately, my conclusion is that I think that the film has multiple antagonists (all the ones mentioned, not really one main one since they all help bring conflict into the story and help move it along) and no villain (unless you count the "toy's perspective" point I made above). Pixar often doesn't have "villains" in their films but always have (and need) antagonists. For example, Chick Hicks, Johnny Worthington, Chef Skinner, Auto and many others. Phew, that was complicated lol.
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Pixar Post - T.J.
I agree with what Dan said overall. I think the film's antagonist shifts from character to character rather than having one for the overall film. According to the definition listed below,  anyone that is opposed to another opponent can be an adversary. That being said, you could view Woody as the antagonist for a while and then over time the other toys (Mr. Potatohead)  become the antagonist as Woody attempts to shed his antagonistic role that he held earlier.

If I had to select a villain (since I also view the villain and antagonist as two different roles), I would have to also select Sid since the movie is called Toy Story and the basis of the story if viewed from their perspective. Sid is truly a torturer to them.

Another great question, Rachel - sometimes taking a few minutes and thinking about these types of questions can really get the wheels turning in my head. [Cool_zpsf7e1371b]
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Dan the Pixar Fan
Great points T.J.! Agree 100%. I like the word "shift" when you were talking about antagonist roles...that hit the nail on the head.

It's interesting how Sid can either be an antagonist or a villain depending on how you view it...but I agree that since it is all about the toys, if I had to choose a villain, it would absolutely be Sid for the reasons mentioned in my post.
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Really interesting thought! I tend to think of the multiple antagonists in Toy Story(specifically Sid) to be more like problems for Woody and Buzz to get past on their journey. Because if you compare Sid to villians like, for example, Randall and Charles Muntz, Sid doesn't have some big history with why he is against the main characters and is plotting against them.

I also think of him as a character adults can relate to their childhoods, like "Hahahaha... That was SO me!" It was mentioned in a Toy Story behind the scenes extra that Joe Ranft and Andrew Stanton were like Sid when they were kids!

I definetly don't think Woody was that big of an antagonist, at least I don't think so since he is my favorite. [smile] I think Pixar just made his position of being jealous of Buzz understandable to the audience, and see his frustrations.
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I noticed the same question is in WALL-E, Auto is not really evil he is following the rulebook. The Real evil one is the humans not taking care of them self, because they got lazy.
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luxo jr.
I think potato head was pretty mean himself. He wanted to hang woody! If you haven't gone to the Pixar wiki and read the adult jokes in the earlier movies, they aren't just butt jokes. They get nasty.
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