Wheezy originated from the earliest story ideas for the first Toy Story, when it would have starred the main character Tinny from Tin Toy. At that time, it was planned to have been a feature version of Pixar's unmade TV special A Tin Toy Christmas (hence the reason that he's a penguin). When the story was reworked, he was depicted as a glow-in-the-dark toy named Binky who belonged to a hairless dog named Baby (a character that eventually became Scud).
Wheezy is an innocent rubber toy penguin with a red bowtie who squeaks when you squeeze him. He often sings in a deep, celebratory voice to all his friends, and is also a nervous wreck. Wheezy's best friends were Woody and Buzz Lightyear, before he was either given away or sold.
Andy got Wheezy sometime between the events of Toy Story and Toy Story 2. He was once one of Andy's favorite toys, until one day, Andy squeezed him too hard, and his squeaker broke. Andy was very upset, and when his mother said she would fix it (just to get him to calm down), she instead left Wheezy on the shelf, where he was forgotten as he coughed on dust. He tried to squeak for help, but nobody could hear him as his squeaker was still broken.
When Woody's arm was accidentally torn by Andy, he also ended up on the shelf and by chance, discovered Wheezy. He tried to help Wheezy but there was little he could do to repair him. The asthmatic penguin pointed out that there was a yard sale outside and that he was likely to be sold. He was among the many toys collected for the sale, so Woody rushed to rescue him. He and Andy's dog, Buster, ran to the sale and recovered Wheezy, who was grateful for his help. Unfortunately, Woody fell off Buster, who ran back inside the house. Woody was subsequently found and kidnapped by Al, and this is where the toys' mission to rescue him began. As Buzz prepared to embark on his mission, Wheezy pleaded with Buzz to save Woody.
Wheezy was later seen in a happier mood after Woody and his friends return home. Wheezy was finally repaired with help from Mr. Shark and sang "You've Got a Friend in Me" to all of his friends in a deep voice.
Wheezy only appeared briefly in the home videos that Andy's mom made of him when he was a kid. Later on, Woody commented that Wheezy and toys like him were either given away or sold in yard sales, which suggests that Woody was unable to help him this time like he did before and he has a new owner now. He was a silent cameo in the movie, as a nice respective tribute for the late great and talented, Joe Ranft, who passed away in a car accident back in 2005.
In the show's pilot, Wheezy makes a cameo appearance in the film's opening sequence where Joe Ranft reprises his role. Wheezy sees the Buzz Lightyear VHS after it arrives in Andy's room and tells Buzz, "You ought to sign that tape. It might be worth something someday!" Later, in the TV series, Wheezy makes a silent cameo at the intros of the animated series where he is trapped in a box house on fire. Suddenly, Buzz flies by and rescues him. Buzz then goes to watch his TV show with the others.
Wheezy has made appearances in Toy Story Midway Mania! as the co-host of "Bo-Peep's Baaa-loon Pop" game and the queue of Mickey's Philharmagic as a poster from a past concert at the Fantasyland Concert Hall.
- Wheezy got his name from his asthma.
- Before Toy Story 3 came out, Wheezy was rumored to have a speaking role with a new voice actor. Among the voice actors rumored were Charlie Adler, Mark Linn-Baker, Mike Myers, and the late Robin Williams before his death in 2014.
- Both of his voice actors, Joe Ranft and Robert Goulet, have died after the film, just two years apart.
- In one of the videos on the Toy Story 3 website, his own version of "You've Got a Friend in Me" is shown. He is also credited as "Squeak E. Clean."
- Wheezy made a non-speaking cameo appearance in a Toy Story Mania commercial.
- According to Disneystrology, his birthday is on September 13.
- In some non-U.S. releases of the film, the letter blocks that spell Wheezy's name are replaced with stars.