Right after TOY STORY debuted in 1995, there was almost immediately talk of a sequel to the first-ever CGI feature, but the creative staff at Pixar resisted the idea. "It was the last thing we wanted to do," explained Lee Unkrich, the editor on TOY STORY, who served as one of three co-directors on TOY STORY 2, (along with Ash Brannon and John Lasseter). "We felt there were other stories to tell so why make a movie with the same characters when theres a whole uncharted territory of other stories and new characters. But we saw the big impact TOY STORY has had on the culture. Its really lasted and we finally realized we had a great thing on our hands. We had all these great characters the world had embraced, and we thought it would be sad if they only got to live in one 90-minute movie. So after some time had gone by, we said, ‘We enjoyed creating these characters. We really liked them. Why not try and give them a great adventure that would be a worthy follow-up to TOY STORY?"
Initially, when the sequel went into pre-production three years ago, the plan was to make it as a less expensive, direct-tovideo title, using many of the same computer models and sets that had already been created for TOY STORY. That would allow it be to completed in two years, and premiere in video stores for the 1998 holiday season. And because John Lasseter was already heavily involved in A BUGS LIFE, Ash Brannon, (a supervising animator on TOY STORY), was promoted to director. Ralph Guggenheim returned as producer. The idea was "to make a sequel that would be measured by a gentler yardstick," explained Pixar chairman Steve Jobs. "Most of the team that created TOY STORY was already working on A BUGS LIFE, and even with a handful of TOY STORY veterans in key positions, we thought it would be almost impossible to recruit a second crew as talented as the original TOY STORY team."