Mike Wazowski Was A Late Addition To The Monsters Inc. Script

Harry and Sally. Emily and SueStede and Ed. There are some romantic couples that you never want to see apart once they've found one another. Then there are classic platonic duos like Doc and Marty from "Back to the Future," whose adventures just wouldn't the same without each other by their side.

In-between those two groups, you have James P. "Sulley" Sullivan and Mike Wazowski, two characters who aren't, per se, in love with each other, but they're also not not in love with each other. Their first movie, 2001's "Monsters, Inc.," is about the duo learning how to be unlikely parents, and the 2013 prequel "Monsters University" is all about how they met in college and decided to spend the next several years living together as they worked their way up the ladder at Monsters, Inc. No offense to Mike's girlfriend, Celia Mae, but after seeing Mike and Sulley's relationship, I just don't see them having long-term potential. When push comes to shove, Sulley is always going to come first, and he clearly has Mike's heart.

Anyway, we're not here to talk about how Disney/Pixar have yet to make its most obvious queer ship canon. We're here to talk about how the Mike Wazowski we know and love originally wasn't in "Monsters, Inc." at all, back in the movie's early stages of development.

Sulley without Mike

"Monsters, Inc.," for those who haven't seen Pixar's beloved animated film, takes place in the secret world of monsters, a place that harnesses the screams of human children and turns them into energy. In order to do that, the employees at Monsters, Inc. use doors that open portals to kids' bedroom closets, allowing the monsters to sneak in and scare them at night. It's a seemingly dangerous job, too, as human children are (wrongly, it turns out) believed to be toxic to monsters. What's more, the city of Monstropolis is suffering from an energy crisis when the movie starts, now that kids raised on modern media are harder to scare.

There's a whole lot baked into that premise, from the sly commentary on depictions of violence in film and TV to the ease with which false information can come to be treated as fact. Even the Monstropolis energy shortage mirrors the real-life California electricity crisis, which occurred while the movie was in production. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly to mark the film's 15th anniversary in 2016, director and co-writer Pete Docter discussed how both Mike and the larger world-building in "Monsters, Inc." came about after the film's initial script draft was finished:

"Mike was not in the first draft. Our first movie was about Sulley and this kid, and then in subsequent story note sessions, we thought it would be nice for Sulley to have a little bit more of a backstory and a world that gets upset. So we came up with [this] random background character that Ricky Nierva had drawn. He was one of our storyboard artists who later went into the art department. But we kind of went back to this drawing and said, there's something about that guy."

Enter Mike, now with arms

Early sketches of Mike gave him one body-sized eye and horns, just like the final version. The key difference, besides Mike's early iteration having purple hair rather than hairless green skin, is the character only had two legs and no arms. Noting that, Pixar's animators "experimented with only giving him two appendages." Docter added:

"We have some great animation tests that we did where he has to walk and open a door and drink out of a glass with just the two legs. A lot of times, you find that restrictions are your friend because they make something very specific or unique. But we found that...a lot of expressions count on the asymmetry of facial expressions. And Mike only has one eye! So we had a big bunch of figuring that out, and in the end we felt like, 'Okay, we've got our hands full with the one-eye thing, so let's give him two arms and two legs so that he can do things like carry a suitcase and walk at the same time.'"

Most of Pixar's movies center on the relationship between two characters, and "Monsters, Inc." is no exception. The dynamic between Mike and Sulley forms the emotional core of the film as the pair race to return a human child, whom Sulley calls "Boo," back home after she finds her way into the Monsters, Inc. factory. In doing so, the pair's bond is put to the test, like so many real-world couples are when a kid enters the equation. Randy Newman's Oscar-winning song for the movie, "If I Didn't Have You," is all about their association, which just goes to show how essential Mike really is to the end result.

But, sure, he and Sulley are just friends. Whatever you say, Disney.