Lotso at first seems to be caring, welcoming, friendly, and possess all of the good qualities of the stereotypical soft teddy bear. This is further emphasized by his strawberry aroma and his hugging of Buzz Lightyear (hence his name Lots'o'Hugging Bear) when the toys first arrive at Sunnyside Daycare. He even goes so far as to "promise" the toys that different kids at the daycare center would continue to play with them and that they would never feel unloved or rejected. However, later in the film, Lotso's true colors reveal him to be a dark, sadistic, conniving, selfish, and rage-driven prison warden, ruling Sunnyside with an iron fist and imprisoning new toys in the Caterpillar Room to test their ability to endure the abuse of the reckless and destructive children there, a personality that was strongly implied to have developed as a direct result of being "abandoned" by Daisy. Due to his painful past, Lotso also possesses a negative philosophy about being a toy, believing toys to be nothing special and originally made for future disposal.
Lotso first started out as a Christmas present for Daisy and instantly became her favorite toy. One day, Daisy took Lotso and her two other toys, Big Baby and Chuckles, out for a little drive with her parents and stopped at a rest stop for a little bit of playtime. After lunch, Daisy fell asleep and her parents took her back into the car, accidentally leaving Lotso, Big Baby, and Chuckles behind. The three toys waited for a long time, but Daisy never came back for them. Not wanting to give up, Lotso, followed by Chuckles and Big Baby, finally made it back to Daisy's house, only to discover that Daisy had bought another Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear toy, making Lotso heartbroken and feeling betrayed. Those feelings traumatized Lotso, and it made him turn evil, and he forcibly ordered Chuckles and Big Baby to leave Daisy and follow him. The three lost, cast-off, unloved and unwanted toys hitched a ride on a Pizza Planet delivery truck's rear bumper until the truck hit a bump, knocking the three off the bumper. Then, the three found Sunnyside Daycare, where Lotso and Big Baby somehow took over the daycare and rigged the whole system.
Role in the film
Lotso is an old, pink stuffed teddy bear with a strawberry scent and a Southern accent, who uses a wooden toy mallet as a cane (he is still able to walk, even without it).
He is first introduced riding over to Woody, Buzz, and the other toys in his banana-scented dump truck. He greets them in a friendly manner and shows them around Sunnyside. He assigns the new toys in the Caterpillar Room, knowing that the toys there are treated abusively by the younger kids.
That night, after the toys experience a rather rough playtime with the toddlers in the room, Buzz decides to go find Lotso to ask for his friends to be moved to the Butterfly Room because they do not belong in the Caterpillar Room. When Buzz finally reaches Lotso in the library, he requests a transfer for him and his friends, to which Lotso agrees (but only to Buzz's moving, knowing that Buzz might be useful to him). However, he refuses to listen to Buzz's plea to move his friends with him, believing that the Caterpillar Room needs toys for toddlers to play with, which makes Buzz instantly refuse his offer, unwilling to abandon his friends because they stay together as a family. Thinking Buzz is too useful to give up, Lotso then tells his henchmen to put Buzz back in the Time-Out Chair. He then uses a Buzz Lightyear action figure manual, which is given to him by the Bookworm, to reset Buzz to his demo mode. Lotso then makes Buzz think he is a real space ranger again and manipulates him into believing that his friends are helpers of Emperor Zurg. Lotso then makes Buzz imprison the toys inside their cells, with Mr. Potato Head being put in "The Box."
The next night, while Lotso is asleep, Woody, who has escaped Sunnyside earlier, manages to rescue his imprisoned friends and formulates a plan to escape Sunnyside, including the attempt to get Buzz to rejoin their side.
When the toys try to leave Sunnyside through the garbage chute that the Chatter Telephone had told Woody about earlier, Lotso and his gang catch them at a dumpster, blocking their way of escape. Lotso tries to coax the toys into coming back to the Caterpillar Room to join his family again so as to avoid an approaching garbage truck, but the toys retort, labeling Lotso a liar and a bully who is running Sunnyside like a prison. This makes Lotso signal Stretch to push the toys into a dumpster, thinking that disposing them as trash will be better. At that moment, Ken tries to stop Lotso, but Lotso teases Ken for loving Barbie. When Ken disagrees with Lotso, Lotso becomes enraged at Ken's act of defection as well as his attachment to Barbie and throws him across the dumpster so as to force him to join her. Ken then speaks up, explaining what Lotso has done to Sunnyside, making Lotso question his cohorts if anyone concurs with Ken. When no one answers, Lotso continues, telling the toys that not one kid has ever loved (or will ever love) a toy. Woody then attempts to remind Lotso of his old life with his previous owner, Daisy. However, Lotso immediately becomes upset as he doesn't want anything to do with Daisy, but to forget completely that his relation to Daisy has ever existed. Woody then pulls out Big Baby's old pendant (received from Chuckles during his stay at Bonnie's house earlier), and after unsuccessfully telling Lotso how she has loved him, Woody tosses the pendant to Big Baby, who picks it and, looking at the token of his lost love, sniffles, "Mama." Outraged at how Big Baby is still emotionally attached to his previous owner, Lotso snap out at Big Baby, yelling at him that Daisy never loved him as he snatches the pendant away from him and smashes it to pieces with his mallet, making Big Baby burst into tears. He then orders a now reluctant Stretch to push the toys into the dumpster, pokes Big Baby abusively with his cane for being a dummy, and denounces all toys as trash awaiting disposal. Without warning, Big Baby lifts up Lotso, causing him to drop his mallet. Lotso orders Big Baby to put him down, but Big Baby, having had enough with his treacherous nature, throws the bear into the dumpster and closes its lid on him. He then blows a raspberry directed at Lotso and allows the toys to escape. As the toys try to leave Sunnyside, one of the Aliens has become stuck by the dumpster's lid, prompting Woody to rush back to free the alien by slightly opening the lid. But then, Lotso, having caught sight of Woody through the opening and wanting revenge for being humiliated and having his schemes foiled, grabs Woody's ankle and pulls him into the dumpster, making Andy's other toys rush to his rescue just as the garbage truck arrives to pour the contents of the dumpster into the truck.
The truck takes Lotso and Andy's toys to Tri-County Landfill, where they are pushed onto a conveyor belt leading to the shredders. After the toys grab onto a metal object so that they hang from the magnetic ceiling, safe from the shredders, Lotso calls for help from under a golf bag. Woody and Buzz drop down from the ceiling to free Lotso. They use one of the golf clubs to pry up the bag to let Lotso crawl out, and Woody makes Lotso take his hand as the club pulls them up to the ceiling, seconds before the shredders chew up the golf bag. Realizing that the conveyor belt is leading them to an incinerator, Lotso and the toys try to run for it, but the conveyor belt pushes them closer and closer to the furnace. Lotso then notices an emergency stop button and rushes over to grab hold on the lower rung of a ladder leading to the button. He calls to Woody, and Woody and Buzz rush over to nudge Lotso up, allowing him to climb up the ladder and access the button. Woody and Buzz then shouts at Lotso to push the button, but Lotso, who hasn't changed overall, gives the helpless toys a menacing glare, shouts an insult directed at Woody as he runs off, leaving the toys to die in the incinerator. However, the toys are rescued by the giant crane that the Aliens have commandeered at the last moment. After the toys emerge out of the furnace, Hamm and Slinky express their desire to get back at Lotso for almost getting them killed, but sadly Woody convinces them to forget it, since he believes Lotso is not worth it.
Meanwhile, as Lotso tries to find his way out of the dump, he turns to see another garbage truck pulling up toward him, forcing him to go limp. As the truck stops next to him, a garbage man steps out of the truck and is surprised upon discovering Lotso, claiming how he has once owned a Lots-o'-Huggin'-Bear during his childhood. Sticking to his love for Lotso (as well as his strawberry scent), the garbage man decides to take him along.
Lotso is last seen tied up on the truck's front grill with a few other toys the same garbage man has collected earlier. Lotso panics as he wakes up to find himself in that predicament, but then one of those toys, a frog, warns Lotso to keep his mouth shut to prevent mud and insects from getting in, and Lotso does so right away.
It is unclear what becomes of Lotso after Toy Story 3, but he most likely remains strapped to the truck like the other garbage toys for eternity.
From Official Website:
- "Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear is a jumbo, extra-soft teddy bear with a pink and white plush body and a velvety purple nose. This lovable bear stands fuzzy heads and shoulders above other teddy bears because he smells like sweet strawberries! With a smile that will light up your child's face and a belly just asking to be hugged, Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear is sure to become a bedtime necessity. Stain-resistant. Spot clean plush surface with a damp cloth."
Lotso makes meet and greet appearances at Disney's Hollywood Studios and is part the then Toy Story Block Party Bash Parade (Now Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun) and at Disney's California Adventure. Despite being considered one of Disney's most evil villains, Lotso is a popular attraction at Hollywood Studios and California Adventure.
Disney on Ice
From Official Website
"Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear is a jumbo, extra-soft teddy bear with a pink and white plush body and a velvety purple nose. This lovable bear stands fuzzy heads and shoulders above other teddy bears because he smells like sweet strawberries! With a smile that will light up your child's face and a belly just asking to be hugged, Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear is sure to become a bedtime necessity. Stain-resistant. Spot clean plush surface with a damp cloth."
- Lotso was originally meant to appear in the first film, but the technology needed to create his fur had not existed until the third film. A pink teddy bear that appears to be an early design of Lotso makes a brief appearance in Toy Story.
- Lotso made a cameo appearance in Up when he was first spotted next to Dee's bed when Carl's house flies past her window outside, and it was later confirmed that he would be a new character in Toy Story 3.
- An advertisement for a Lotso bear appears in Tokyo, in Cars 2.
- Lotso is the first animated Disney or Pixar villain of the 2010 decade. The next ones are in Tangled (Mother Gothel), Cars 2 (Miles Axlerod), Winnie the Pooh (The Backson), and Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension (Heinz Doofenshmirtz (2nd Dimension)).
- Lotso's personality is reminiscent of the vile Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
- The way in which Big Baby throws Lotso into the dumpster mimics a scene in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, in which Darth Vader throws Emperor Palpatine into the reactor shaft of the Second Death Star.
- When Lotso said, "Where's your kid now, Sheriff?!" it spoofs The Ten Commandents when Billy Crystal said, "Where's your Messiah now, Moses?"
- Lotso's fate by the end of the film is similar to Stinky Pete's. Both are unexpectedly found, and then they find themselves in an unwanted predicament: Stinky Pete becomes stuck with a girl who likes to draw on her toys, while Lotso becomes a fly attractant for a garbage truck. However, after Toy Story 2, it has been stated that Stinky Pete got used to it and he liked it, while it is unclear if Lotso, after Toy Story 3, has ever got used to it because it has never been stated.
- He, along with Hopper, is one of the most evil of all Pixar villains as he has forced Big Baby and Chuckles to follow him even though they didn't want to, as good as broke all the toys in The Caterpillar Room, yells at his henchmen, saying they're nothing but trash, and almost killed Woody, Buzz, Bullseye, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Slinky, Rex, Jessie and Hamm. (The Squeeze Toy Aliens are alive and saved the toys.)
- Lotso began appearing in World of Color on March 25, 2011.
- The idea of Lotso getting abandoned was based around a little girl one of the animators knew who left her doll named Daisy in the park one day and never found her. They wondered if Daisy had feelings how would she feel about being abandoned and decided to use that idea for his back story
- Originally, Lotso wasn't intended to be as cruel until audiences saw test screenings of the movie and sympathized with him, wanting him to get a happy ending. This made the Pixar crew work harder to make the bear more villainous and they added him lying to Big Baby and not pressing the button to save Andy's toys in the incinerator. Those two scenes alone were enough for audiences to see him as more despicable and Pixar's plan was successful.
- Lotso's backstory is similar to that of Jessie. Being abandoned, forgotten, and heartbroken. Although, Lotso's was only an accident. However, this is debatable (see below).
- However, many fans blame Daisy's parents for abandoning him because they most likely were too focused on Daisy.
- The Pixar crew had to keep Lotso's true nature secretive until the film was released. However, there was a LEGO set that showed a figurine of Lotso intent on destroying the toys at the dump and an angry expression on his face. Most fans got the hint after looking at it.
- Lotso was originally a villain in a Pixar Christmas short called Tin Toy before Toy Story was released. His personality supposed to be quite similar being a "bitter teddy bear" but he had a different name and a different backstory (in this one he was bitter about never being bought much like Stinky Pete) than the Lotso we know.
- Lotso is perhaps the second not-so-friendly bear in Disney, the first being the Bear from The Fox and the Hound. The third bear villain is Mor'du in Brave.
- Lotso draws some parallels to King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph:
- Both fooled everyone into thinking they were good guys (Lotso made people think he cared about the toys; King Candy fooled everyone that he was concerned about Sugar Rush's safety).
- Both have a generally friendly appearance, but an ironically sadistic and wicked personality.
- Both were punished for their heinous actions in the end (Lotso was tied to the front of a garbage truck; King Candy was killed outside of his own game).
- Lotso's issue and backstory is also similar to Stinky Pete's as they both seem caring at first, but end up turning out to be tyrants when things don't go their way. This personality has derived from having a sense of being rejected or unloved.