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, possibly as a Christmas present at the end of the first film. He was once one of Andy's favorite toys, until one day, Andy accidentally broke his squeaker. Andy was very upset by this, but his mother said she would fix it (just to get him to calm down). Unfortunately, she left Wheezy on the shelf instead, where he was forgotten as he coughed up 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 was also put 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, a weak Wheezy is pushed by Rocky Gibraltar and the Robot by the desk and pleads with Buzz to rescue Woody, to which Buzz says he will try his best. As Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Rex, Hamm, and Slinky march off across the garage roof, Wheezy (who is held up by Rocky) joins the toys in Andy's room waving goodbye and good luck.
At the end of the film, Wheezy was later seen in a happier mood after Woody and his friends return home. He squeakily bounces to Woody and Bo and Woody is shocked that his squeaker is fixed. Wheezy was given a new squeaker 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 appears briefly through home videos Mrs. Davis recorded when Andy and Molly were children. This is due to his voice actor, Joe Ranft, dying in a car crash in 2005 and Pixar likely wanting to honor. It can be assumed had he not passed away, Wheezy would have joined the group of Andy's toys. He is seen when Andy measures his toys with a pencil on his doorway, watching a movie along with the other toys, and he is seen on Andy's nightstand when Andy falls onto his bed laughing as he hugs his favorite toys. Ten years after the third film, Andy is now seventeen and hasn't played with his toys in years. Later on, Woody commented that Wheezy and toys like him (Etch A Sketch and Bo Peep) were either given away or sold in yard sales, which suggests that Woody was unable to help him this time as he did before and he has a new owner now.
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!" But Rex impatiently says he can sign in later and pleads to watch the movie. 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.
Disney Parks and other appearances
Despite his rather minor appearance in the Toy Story franchise, Wheezy is seen as a regular supporting character for promotions and merchandise (Plush dolls, figurines, and in the Disney Parks). He is seen in the Toy Story Mania! video game, seen in the opening cutscene, where he helps the Green Army Men pull rope onto Andy's desk, and soon greets the player with the other toys. He is also seen during Bo Peep's Games. He later appears with Jessie during a cutscene for the player's score, where Jessie throws her hat in the air and lands on Wheezy, causing her to giggle as the wave goodbye. He is also seen as a townsperson in the toy box of Toy Story 3: The Video Game, despite his small appearance in the actual film (along with Bo Peep and the Prospector).
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 Robin Williams
- Both of his voice actors, Joe Ranft and Robert Goulet, died 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".
- According to Disneystrology, his birthday would be on September 13.
- In some non-U.S. releases of the film, the letter blocks that spell Wheezy's name are replaced with stars.
- In Toy Story Land, there are large boxes strewn across the park that feature the Toy Story characters, as if they were fresh out of the box. One of the boxes features Wheezy, marketed on the box as a squeaky bath toy. The box not only reveals he's from Al's Toy Barn, but it also has large letters that read, "Not for use in water" (odd since he is a bath toy). It can be assumed Wheezy was broken when Andy used him during a bath.
- Wheezy is single and does not plan to mate
- Contrary to some belief, Wheezy is not an Adélie penguin.
- In Toy Story 2, Wheezy had a more Mary Jo Catlett-esque quality to his voice, sounding closer to Mrs. Puff from SpongeBob SquarePants.