- "Combat Carl never gives up. Combat Carl finds a way."
- —Combat Carl
Combat Carl is a G.I. Joe type action figure toy line in the Toy Story universe. One serves as a minor character in the original Toy Story film. Another one serves as a major character in Toy Story of Terror!
In Toy Story, a Combat Carl was first seen when Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Bo Peep, Lenny and Mr. Potato Head watched Sid blow one up with a M-80 in his backyard. Later, once in Sid's room, Woody spots a lava lamp with two Combat Carl heads and one doll head. Two of Sid's mutant toys also contain Combat Carl parts; Jingle Joe has a Combat Carl head, while Rockmobile contains a Combat Carl torso. When Sid's toys show Sid that they are alive, two broken Combat Carls, both all covered in mud, rise up from the ground, awakened by the Frog. One is missing its arms and has a nail through its head, the other has a twisted body and is missing its head. The armless soldier is knocked over by a frantic Sid running back into his house. Once he gets up, he is accidentally knocked down again by Pterodactyl as the toys are celebrating. Woody commends the toys for coming up out of the ground, and Buzz Lightyear offers the soldiers a salute.
Toy Story of Terror!
Following their adventures in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, Woody, Buzz, Rex and Mr. Potato Head met two Combat Carl figurines in the Toy Story half-hour special Toy Story of Terror!: a 12-inch one referred to as Combat Carl, and a 4-inch one called Combat Carl Jr. Both are voiced by Carl Weathers, although Combat Carl Jr. has a higher pitch voice.
These particular figures have a radically different design from the Combat Carl in the first film, namely a more Duke-style look about him.
The 12-inch figurine, called simply Combat Carl, speaks in the third person, and had his right hand eaten by Mr. Jones the iguana. Combat Carl and other toys were taken from their owner Billy when their owner stayed at the Sleep Well motel, whose manager dispatches his iguana to collect stray toys to sell on the Internet. He managed to escape at the cost of his hand, and hid in the motel for some time, living by the hope he would one day see Billy again.
That all changed when Bonnie's toys were captured. Soon after meeting Jessie and warning her of the danger of the place, Combat Carl is captured by Mr. Jones. Later, Combat Carl gives encouraging words to Jessie, who was attempting to save Woody, enabling her to overcome her claustrophobia and free Woody. But before they could free the others, Bonnie and her mother arrived at the manager's desk to check-out. Jessie then deviated from the plan to open the curtain obscuring the toys from view, but Mr. Jones attempted to stop her. However, the cowgirl toy is able to fight back, getting the iguana to regurgitate Mr. Potato Head's left arm and Combat Carl's right hand, using the former to pull back the curtain, revealing the toys to Bonnie. After Bonnie collected her toys, Combat Carl and the others slipped away while everyone wasn't looking. As Combat Carl reattached his missing hand, he hopped onto the delivery truck in hopes of returning to Billy.
Combat Carl Jr.
A second figurine of 4 inches, called Combat Carl Jr. (or simply "Junior") was also among the toys captured by the manager. He was captured much earlier than Combat Carl. In an attempt to escape their prison, Combat Carl, as the smallest of the toys present, used a paper clip twisted into a hook to try and open the display case from the outside. Unfortunately, this did not work, and all their clips were used up in vain. Combat Carl Jr. tried to calm down Pocketeer when the latter started panicking. When all toys escaped the case, he left with the others on the shoulder of Combat Carl.
Toy Story 4
Three Combat Carl Jr.s assist Bo Peep in Toy Story 4, each with a different appearance/outfit.
Combat Carl PSA
The DVD/Blu-ray release of Toy Story of Terror! included a mock commercial featuring Combat Carl, made in 2D animation. Commissioned by the "National Cough Safety Council," it shows Combat Carl intervening in emergency to teach two kids the importance of coughing properly, that is by covering the mouth with the shoulder.
- In the DVD commentary for Toy Story, John Lasseter mentions that he had actually wanted to use a G.I. Joe in the film, but Hasbro was upset that they were going to have Sid blow it up and wouldn't let them use it.
- The logo of the Combat Carl toy line has several cues to the G.I. Joe logo, like the presence of a slanted star and three horizontal lines, as well as a similar boxy typeface.
- The Combat Carls in Toy Story are, in fact, the same (albeit blown up) models as some of the Green Army Men. This is mentioned in the Toy Story commentary.
- There was originally going to be another Combat Carl with a broken arm accompanying the two others in Sid's backyard; however, he (and many other toys) never made it past the storyboards.
- Combat Carl was originally to appear in Toy Story 3 (probably to help Woody rescue Buzz, Jessie, Rex, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Hamm, Bullseye, Barbie and the Aliens from Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear) before his part was rewritten for the Chatter Telephone.
- In a Toy Story comic book, Slinky says Rocky Gibraltar got into a fight with a Combat Carl.
- In Toy Story of Terror!, Combat Carl's missing hand and the culprit who devoured it may be a reference to portraying actor Carl Weathers' role as Chubbs Peterson in Happy Gilmore, where he lost his right hand to an alligator; whereas in the special, his right hand was eaten by Mr. Jones. It could also be a reference to Weathers' role as Dillon in Predator, in which he lost one of his arms to the titular creature before being killed.
- The animation in the Combat Carl PSA appears to be a parody of '80s PSAs involving characters, particularly the G.I. Joe ones. The layout of the end title card is nearly identical, with the "National Child Safety Council" of the originals being jokingly replaced by the "National Cough Safety Council".
- A poster of Combat Carl can be seen in the boy's room in the commercial for Old Timer.