The story behind the Giant Evil Furby in The Mitchells vs. The Machines 2 years ago

The story behind the Giant Evil Furby in The Mitchells vs. The Machines

The alternative scene included an evil Tickle-Me Elmo...

As we said in our review, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is practically over-flowing with jokes, to the point where you'll almost definitely need to rewatch it, because you'll have missed so many jokes during your first watch, because you were too busy laughing to catch them all.


One of the biggies, which the latest trailer builds up to, is the revelation that the dysfunctional family attempting to survive the robopocalypse come face to face with a famous toy that has been made evil by its now-sentient operating system.

You check out the trailer here, ahead of the movie's release on Netflix on Friday, 30 April.

Clip via Netflix


Much like Toy Story and Wreck-It Ralph and many other animated movies, there is the issue of actually being allowed to reference the names and likenesses of well-known properties, in this case the Furbys.

That goes double for this movie, as they don't just reference the Furby, but make it pure evil. When JOE had the opportunity to talk to director and co-writer Michael Rianda, we wanted to know if they faced any problems getting the famous toy into their movie?

Rianda told us "That was how we originally wrote it, we were laughing and saying 'This is going to be amazing!' And then the producer was like 'This is never going to be in the movie! What are you doing??' And I was like 'Nah, we'll get it to work!'

"And then, eventually, it was kind of like this wasn't actually gonna work. We couldn't get a hold of Hasbro, so then we had to change it. We called it Tickle-Me Melmo, and it was basically a Tickle-Me Elmo with an eye-patch and a metal arm and it was like Mad Max and it was like 'Come, brothers!'


"But then when we showed it to the artists and the studio, they rioted. They were like 'Where are the Furbys? What is happening??' So we doubled-down, and I talked to some people I knew.

"And then the Hasbro people were really nice! They were like 'Yeah, cool!'. I was saying that we love Furbys and that it would be free advertising. And they eventually were down, and I was so happy about it, because it is the craziest thing.

"It was like that moment when we're a film student and you think 'Oh, we can't do this! We're just messing around!', but then the studio says 'No, you can do it!', and we were all like 'Yeah!'"

You can check out our full interview with Michael Rianda below, where he also discusses the difficulty of cutting out specific jokes, and how to get Oscar-winner Olivia Colman to voice act a scene where she is playing a sentient mobile phone having a temper tantrum.