Finishing the Cat
Lightyear’s robotic feline companion Sox is bound to be one of the film’s most beloved characters. According to director Angus MacLane, the character’s inspiration was not what you might expect: “Well, I should tell you, ‘I’m a cat person,’ but he really came from my love of limited animation,” he reveals. “As an animator, I always enjoyed animating limited characters. I animated WALL•E, and Ken in Toy Story 3, and most of the toys in the Toy Story shorts. These movement limitations provide much of the charm and comedy of these characters. So, for Sox, I wanted a robot character that had the limitations in terms of simple animatronic puppets. Sox is a true contrast to the other elements of the film, both in design and in motion, making him stick out in a good way.”
MacLane points out that although Sox has limited movements, he is by no means helpless.
“He’s got a welding laser, he’s got longrange scanners, holo projectors, short-range sensors — as well as an empathy chip, quadruped locomotion, magnet feet, self-writing mechanism, a data port in the tail, the ability to talk…” lists the director. “Sox has many other abilities we can’t even tell you about. But what we can tell you is that he’s a scene stealer. And he’s performed by Pixar’s own Peter Sohn, the voice of Emile from Ratatouille, or Squishy from Monster University, and the director of The Good Dinosaur. Pete’s natural warmth, charm and humor made him the first and best choice for this character!”