How Pixar Selects Names For Characters

Long time Pixarian, Craig Good, recently answered a question on Quora (a question and answer website) with some fun insights about how Pixar selects names for their characters.

How does Pixar select the names for characters?

The same way any other writer(s) might: It's a normal part of the story process.

Some names come easily, such as Woody Pride. Many go through many rewrites. After Tinny, the antique one-mand-band windup toy became a space man we went through a few names. One standin was Lunar Larry. I contributed the name Tempus from Morph for a short test. It wasn't until a later story session that some folks batting around names tossed out Buzz, as a nod to Buzz Aldrin, and someone else (as I recall, nobody remembers exactly who) called out "Lightyear".

Revisions can happen for many reasons. The protagonist of A Bug's Life was a merge of two characters from an earlier version, Flick and Grub. The Flick name survived, but the c was dropped when someone saw how it might look in certain fonts, or hand-written in all caps.

In early versions of Monsters Inc. Sullivan was going to start as a nebbish screw-up named Johnson. Then someone pointed out that perhaps we already had our quota of character names which could be awkward euphemisms. He became James P. Sullivan, and also eventually lost the glasses.

Mustang McQueen became Lightning McQueen when the character became a pure race car not associated with a known model. Mater got his name from a character named Mater that John Lasseter met at a NASCAR race.

So the short answer (too late, I know) is that there's no one short answer. I'll bet most people reading this didn't know Woody had a last name, though. Quite understandable since it's never mentioned in any of the movies.

We love when Pixarians answer questions like this - any time we can learn (or be reminded) of interesting or fun Pixar facts, we're intrigued. Craig is probably correct in saying that most of us wouldn't know (or remember) Woody's last name, but as a side note, Lee Unkrich revealed in August of 2009 what Woody's last name was on Twitter.

Pixar Post - Julie & T.J.



A Bug's Life,3,Aaron Hartline,2,Adrian Molina,3,Alan Barillaro,7,Albert Lozano,1,Alex Mandel,1,Andrea Warren,2,Andrew Gordon,3,Andrew Stanton,47,Angelique Reisch,3,Angus MacLane,32,App Review,6,Art,33,Art of Animation Resort,5,Artists Help Japan,8,Austin Madison,4,Awards,51,Beth Sullivan,1,Bing Bong,2,Blu-Ray,40,Bob Peterson,17,Bob Whitehill,2,Bobby Podesta,1,Book Review,43,Brad Bird,14,Brave,142,BREAKING News,34,Brian Fee,4,Buzz Lightyear,10,Car Toons,2,Cars,63,Cars 2,17,Cars 3,14,Cars Land,34,Cars Toons,11,Chris Chua,1,Chris Sasaki,1,Christine Freeman,1,Coco,16,Contest,11,Craig Foster,1,Custom Pixar Gear,6,D23,23,Dan Scanlon,67,Daniel Arriaga,2,Danielle Feinberg,4,Darla Anderson,4,Dave Mullins,1,Deleted Scene,2,Denise Ream,5,Dia de los Muertos,7,Dice Tsutsumi,7,Die Cast Cars,21,Director's Commentary,9,Disney California Adventure,25,Disney Cruise,3,Disney Infinity,43,Disney Infinity 2.0,6,Disney Infinity 3.0,15,Disney Infinity Next,1,Disney Interactive,1,Disney Movies Anywhere,4,Disney World,24,Disneyland,18,Disneyland Paris,8,Easter Eggs,32,Ed Catmull,26,Enrico Casarosa,20,Erik Smitt,1,Everett Downing,1,Exclusive,11,Fan Art,30,Finding Dory,88,Finding Nemo,23,Forum,3,Fun Facts,4,Galyn Susman,6,Giveaway,3,Google Hangout,2,Hawaiian Vacation,2,Hidden Items,2,Imagineering,3,Inside Out,147,Interview,25,James Ford Murphy,12,Jamie Roe,1,Jason Deamer,1,Jason Johnston,2,Jay Ward,5,Jeff Danna,2,Jerome Ranft,1,Jim Capobianco,3,Jim Morris,3,John Lasseter,57,Jon Reisch,1,Jonas Rivera,25,Jonathan Pytko,2,Josh Cooley,18,Juliet Roth,1,Kelsey Mann,12,Kevin O'Hara,1,Knick Knack,2,Kori Rae,13,La Luna,18,Laura Meyer,2,Lava,18,Lee Unkrich,22,Lighting McQueen,8,Lindsey Collins,6,Lou,1,Luxo Jr.,2,Mahyar Abousaeedi,1,Marc Greenberg,1,Marc Sondheimer,1,Mark Andrews,36,Mark Walsh,34,Matt Jones,3,Matthew Luhn,2,Merida,13,Michael B. Johnson,2,Michael Giacchino,16,Michal Makarewicz,6,Mike Venturini,1,Monsters Inc,40,Monsters University,173,Motorama,2,Movie Review,12,Mychael Danna,4,Newt,1,Party Central,11,Partysaurus Rex,45,Patrick Lin,2,Paul Abadilla,7,Pete Docter,98,Peter Sohn,32,Piper,9,Pixar Animation Studios,78,Pixar Archives,2,Pixar Canada,14,Pixar Concept Art,29,Pixar In A Box,1,Pixar Minute,4,Pixar Pipeline Project,8,Pixar Post Book Club,12,Pixar Post Record,1,Pixar Shorts,104,Pixar Studio Story,2,Pixar Toys,41,Pizza Planet Truck,1,Podcast,52,Presto,1,Products,174,Products - A Bug's Life,6,Products - Brave,29,Products - Cars,20,Products - Cars 2,7,Products - Finding Dory,8,Products - Finding Nemo,5,Products - Inside Out,14,Products - Monsters Inc,15,Products - Monsters University,22,Products - Ratatouille,6,Products - Shorts & TV Specials,45,Products - The Good Dinosaur,7,Products - The Incredibles,7,Products - Toy Story,19,Products - Toy Story 2,5,Products - Toy Story 3,3,Products - Up,7,Products - WALL-E,7,Radiator Springs,7,Ralph Eggleston,5,Randy Newman,4,Ratatouille,20,RenderMan,4,Review,12,Ricky Nierva,4,Riley's First Date,5,Rob Thompson,1,Robert Kondo,5,Ronnie Del Carmen,6,Sandra Karpman,1,Sanjay Patel,12,Sanjay's Super Team,17,Saschka Unseld,30,Sharon Calahan,4,Shawn Krause,1,Small Fry,3,Soundtrack,36,Steve Jobs,5,Steve Purcell,18,Store - Amazon,42,Store - App Store,9,Store - Best Buy,1,Store - Disney Store,25,Store - eBay,5,Store - Hallmark,1,Store - iTunes,41,Store - Target,9,Store - Toys R Us,1,Tales From Radiator Springs,4,Teddy Newton,2,The Blue Umbrella,39,The Good Dinosaur,93,The Incredibles,15,The Incredibles 2,13,Thomas Newman,3,To Protect and Serve,4,Tony DeRose,1,Tony Fucile,1,Toy Review,18,Toy Story,75,Toy Story 3,2,Toy Story 4,21,Toy Story of Terror,37,Toy Story That Time Forgot,24,Trailer,83,Type - Books,6,Type - Clothing,2,Type - Collectibles,17,Type - Holiday,2,Type - Pins,1,Type - Plush,6,Type - Toys,15,UP,13,VanArts,5,Victor Navone,1,Video Games,44,Vinylmation,9,Wall-e,17,
Pixar Post: How Pixar Selects Names For Characters
How Pixar Selects Names For Characters
Pixar Post
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy