Toy Story 4 Easter egg reveals Pixar's (almost) disastrous mistake

Pixar Toy Story 4
(Image credit: Pixar)

The Toy Story franchise is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only for the seemingly endless addition of new editions (yup, Toy Story 5 is in the works for 2023), but also for the steady stream of excellent trivia the super-complex 3D film provides. 

The latest nugget, currently getting a lot of attention on Reddit, is an Easter egg (or hidden message) within the film that's related to an epic mistake that could have killed off one of the Toy Story films altogether. Or at least delayed it by a couple of years. If you haven't seen the Toy Story films then a) where have you been? and b) get yourself over to Disney Plus to watch immediately.

In Toy Story 4 (2019), a car has the licence plate "RMRF97". In 1997, someone at Pixar accidentally typed “rm -r -f “, deleting the entire Toy Story 2 movie from the Pixar database. Fortunately, the film's supervising technical director had a backup copy at home, and the movie was restored. from r/MovieDetails

You have to look closely, but the Easter egg itself is actually a car number plate that reads 'RMRF' (see it above). So far, so coded. RMRF is actually a part of a deletion line in the Pixar database. A deletion line that was accidentally entered by a Pixar employee back in 1997, and which wiped Toy Story 2's ENTIRE file archive from the database. In a world before cloud storage, it was seemingly gone. 

Just take a minute to imagine that, and the fact that Pixar had no physical file backup whatsoever. Ouch. Bosses understandably panicked, and ran through options from scrapping the film completely or beginning again from the beginning. 

However, luckily for everyone at Pixar, it turned out that supervising technical director Galyn Susman had the files backed up at home. This thankfully meant the anecdote could be confined to history and used as an in-joke for an Easter egg. 

Happy days. If you live in dread of file deletion, then make sure you get your cloud storage sorted. See today's best deals below.

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Georgia Coggan

Georgia is lucky enough to be Creative Bloq's Editor. She has been working for Creative Bloq since 2018, starting out as a freelancer writing about all things branding, design, art, tech and creativity – as well as sniffing out genuinely good deals on creative technology. Since becoming Editor, she has been managing the site on a day-to-day basis, helping to shape the diverse content streams CB is known for and leading the team in their own creativity.