101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far)

Toy Story 3 defied expectations for threequels by adding a necessary beat to a beloved ongoing story, earning more than $1 billion worldwide, and giving countless viewers serious feels. The hook, which never changed throughout the years-long development process, was that Andy—owner of Woody, Buzz, and their pals—has aged in tandem with the years since Toy Story was released. In Toy Story 3, Andy must bequeath his playthings to someone new and thereby say goodbye to childhood. One of Michael Arndt’s goals was to convey the idea that although Woody and co. help guide Andy toward maturity, the choice to embrace change is ultimately Andy’s. Getting the nuances right took years and countless drafts; Arndt said one tricky sequence was rewritten 60 times. “Making one of these films is like building a cathedral,” Arndt told IndieWire in 2010. “It really is the expression of a whole creative community.”