Ahead of the release of Lightyear, The Ringer is hosting Pixar Week—a celebration of the toys, rats, clown fish, and more that helped define one of the greatest studios of the 21st century. At the heart of the occasion is the Best Pixar Character Bracket, a cutthroat tournament to determine the most iconic figure of them all. Check back throughout the week to vote for your favorite characters and read a selection of stories that spotlight some of Pixar’s finest moments. To infinity … and beyond!
A cowboy, a monster, a robot, and an astronaut. These are the individuals who stand on the edge of glory in the Best Pixar Character Bracket, and the figures who exemplify Pixar’s incredible breadth of personalities over the past 27 years. Throughout the week we’ve seen clashes among skeletons, superheroes, bugs, and racing cars, but now, after 64 contenders first entered the fray, only four remain.
For the most part, the 1-seeds emerged as the champions of their respective regions: From Andy’s Room hails Woody; in The Axiom, it’s Wall-E; and of Pizza Planet, there’s Buzz Lightyear. But in 42 Wallaby Way, the region representing everyone’s favorite blue tang fish, things didn’t go quite according to plan.
James P. Sullivan, a.k.a. Sulley, of Monsters, Inc. is the bracket buster who stopped this thing from going all chalk. Sulley romped over a vulnerable Dory 67-33 after Dory nearly got caught out by the 13-seed Squeeze Toy Aliens in the Sweet 16. Sulley, while clearly a fan favorite, probably wasn’t most observers’ pick for the Final Four. But after taking down the 1- and 2-seed gauntlet of Dory and Remy, as well as strong early challengers Bruce and Dash Parr, no one can question his credentials.
Now, can Sulley pull off the ultimate upset against Pixar’s original icon? That’s up to you. Let’s vote, baby!
Voting on the Final Four is officially open. Timing for these polls and the championship round is a bit different: Voting on the Final Four will close at 4 p.m. ET on Friday; voting on the championship will then open at 5 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m. As always, you can vote right here, on Twitter, and on Instagram.
(1) Woody, Toy Story vs. (3) Sulley, Monsters, Inc.
Let’s start with the obvious: Not a single snake has been spotted in Woody’s boots over the course of this tournament. This man has nothing to fear, and he seemingly has no weaknesses; from the start, Woody saddled up on Bullseye and galloped into the Final Four at record pace. No other character in the tourney has averaged a higher margin of victory (86 percent). Sure, as a 1-seed he was blessed with some relatively easy matchups (Pants Dad [who?], Boo, Roz), but even if he’d faced better competition, would anyone have expected the Pixar OG to falter?
Fun fact: Woody has now knocked off three consecutive Monsters, Inc. characters after his slap-up of Mike Wazowski. Imagine if Woody beats Sulley; this guy will have ruthlessly annihilated essentially the entire Monsters, Inc. cast en route to the final. But that’s exactly the motivation Sulley needs to not only stave off defeat, but avenge his fallen costars. In a practical sense, that means the Monsters, Inc. hive that pushed three of its characters to the Sweet 16 and two to the Elite Eight could rally around Sulley. These voters spearheaded some impressive victories—not only on behalf of Sulley, but also for Mike, who defeated 2-seed Joy and the lovable Nemo, and Roz, somehow the third character among that last 16.
Monsters, Inc. fans: How bad do you want this? Let your voice be heard below!
Which character should advance?
This poll is closed
(1) Woody, ‘Toy Story’
(3) Sulley, ‘Monsters, Inc.’
(1) Wall-E, Wall-E vs. (1) Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story
It’s a battle of the science-fiction characters! Yesterday, I questioned whether Wall-E was a true contender or pretender. He answered with a convincing victory over Mr. Incredible—who arguably could have been a 1-seed—with 57 percent of the vote. Now, I gotta be honest: I sorta expected Bob Parr to take this one. The Incredibles is an all-timer and the sequel ain’t half bad either. But Wall-E is doing just fine on the basis of his one film. Also yesterday, Adam Nayman wrote on the site, “Whether or not Wall-E is Pixar’s best film—and there’s a strong case to be made that it is—it’s almost certainly the studio’s weirdest and most troubling.” Maybe that’s the secret to Wall-E’s success. He appeals to a type of voter who appreciates the singularity of a movie that explores much darker, more mature themes than expected from a Pixar film.
If Wall-E is for the mature voter, then his opposite this round is for the kids, or at least the kids at heart. Buzz Lightyear’s the reason we made this whole bracket ahead of the release of his new spinoff, and he’s remained as safe a bet as any to reach the championship round. If he makes it past Wall-E he’s got a strong chance of facing Woody in the final in the ultimate Toy Story showdown. Will Buzz achieve greatness on the day of his movie premiere and face his rival turned best friend in the championship? That tantalizing prospect comes down to you.
Which character should advance?
This poll is closed
(1) Wall-E, ‘Wall-E’
(1) Buzz Lightyear, ‘Toy Story’