The Mental Floss piece quotes Catmull’s book “Creativity, Inc.” for the story behind the near-loss of “Toy Story 2”. Published in 2014, the book was written by Amy Wallace and Catmull (the latter of whom was longtime president of Walt Disney Animation after co-founding Pixar) and details the many behind-the-scenes challenges in bringing Pixar movies to life. One of those struggles happened long before “Toy Story 2” was produced, and it’s a doozy: most of the movie was suddenly deleted from Pixar servers by an anonymous technician who inadvertently grabbed a encoding signal to delete all files from the movie.
According to the Mental Floss article, Catmull paints a gruesome picture of the film’s removal just as dramatic as you can imagine, stating that the film’s creative team watched helplessly as about 90% of the film disappear before their eyes. “First, Woody’s hat was gone. Then his boots. Then it was completely gone. Entire footage – poof! – has been deleted from the player.” To make matters worse, Catmull claims the film could not be restored because Pixar’s backup system failed and no one on site had a copy of the film saved elsewhere.
At best, such a disaster could have meant a long production delay for “Toy Story 2”. At worst, the film could have been put aside for good.