Ten Things You May Not Know About Mike Wazowski
1. Mike Wazowski may be one of the most beloved (and funniest) characters in Monsters, Inc., but amazingly, he almost didn’t make the cut. While work on the script began in 1996, it wasn’t until April of 1998 that development artist Ricky Nierva drew a concept sketch of a curious looking one-eyed monster. Fortunately, everyone liked it, and a quick storyboard test proved that Mike would make a good companion to Sulley.
2. Mike Wazowski has a single eye as we all know (“That’s Wazowski…with one “I”!), but in early concept sketches he was also intended to be armless. Mike was to have manipulated objects with his feet, but that proved to be too challenging to animate, so he was given arms.
3. Back when Pixar was developing Toy Story, Billy Crystal was approached to provide the voice for Buzz Lightyear. He turned down the job, but quickly regretted his decision and vowed to never let that happen again. When he was approached again to appear in Monsters, Inc. he leapt at the chance.
4. For his performance, Billy Crystal was nominated for “Favorite Voice in an Animated Movie” at the Kid’s Choice Awards in 2002. (The award went to Eddie Murphy for his role in Shrek.)
5. Billy Crystal also appeared in Howl’s Moving Castle, a 2004 Japanese animated film that was distributed in North America by Walt Disney Pictures. The film grossed $231.7 million worldwide, making it one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history. For its North American release, the film was dubbed into English by Pixar’s Peter Docter, the director of Monsters, Inc. as well as Up. Billy Crystal was chosen to perform the part of Calcifer, the fire demon.
6. Mike Wazowski also starred in the Pixar short, Mike’s New Car. The sequence was originally planned as a scene in the film, but was instead spun off as a short film. It was the first Pixar short to have dialogue, as well as the first to feature characters from a previous Pixar film. Though not shown in the original theatrical release of Monsters, Inc. (the short for the theatrical run was For the Birds), it was included on the 2002 DVD and VHS release of the film.
7. Mike Wazowski of course went on to become quite a popular character. Eagle-eyed fans can spot his cameo appearances in Finding Nemo, Cars, WALL-E, and Toy Story 3.
8. How popular? According to Empire Magazine’s The 50 Best Animated Movie Characters, Mike Wazowski is #23. That’s better than his pal Sulley (who didn’t make the cut), and Mickey Mouse, who came in at number 50. However, the Disney/Pixar nod goes to Woody, who took second place honors.
9. Mike Wazowski was renamed “Robert” (or “Bob” for short) in the French overdub of Monsters, Inc. C’est la vie!
10. The trailer for the Monsters, Inc. prequel, Monsters University, was shown in many theaters with Brave.
There were four versions of the trailer, each featuring Mike saying a different line in his sleep: “My pony made the dean’s list,” “I can’t go to class, I’m not wearing any clothes,” “My homework ate my dog,” and “Class President – ha, ha, ha, ha.”