During the summer of 1994, Pixar's story department began turning their thoughts to their next film. The storyline for A Bug's Life originated from a lunchtime conversation between John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft, the studio's head story team; other films such as Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo were also conceived at this lunch. Lasseter and his story team had already been drawn to the idea of insects serving as characters. Like toys, insects were within the reach of computer animation back then, due to their relatively simple surfaces. Stanton and Ranft wondered whether they could find a starting point in Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper. Walt Disney had produced his own version with a cheerier ending decades earlier in the 1934 short film The Grasshopper and the Ants. In addition, Walt Disney Feature Animation had considered producing a film in the late-1980s entitled Army Ants, that centered around a pacifist ant living in a militaristic colony, but this never fully materialized.
Peeking through a bush, I saw that, to my immense relief, there were only four hornets in the main colony clearing. The other circus bugs and I were trying to get inside the rock-trap. I had briefly explained it to them, saying it would be difficult to control, but then didn't shirk the challenge, even Heimlich, who was having trouble not shaking from the tension – and we hadn't even got inside the rock-trap yet!