Easter egg. The first thought that could come to mind when hearing this word is the beloved childhood tradition of finding brightly colored eggs in various hidden locations on Easter with friends and family. However, if you are a Pixar movie lover like myself, this word has become associated with an obsession that is crazing all who encounter it. I’m talking about “an intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in an interactive work such as a computer program, video game or DVD menu screen.” Using Pixar as a prime example, easter eggs are deliberate images within the movie that reference something else. This could include a single object or scene that predicts the company’s next release, such as a boy in the dentist office in Finding Nemo, released in 2003, reading a comic book featuring “Mr. Incredible” from the 2004 film The Incredibles. The easter egg could also be reoccurring, the most famous one being the phrase “A113” which has appeared in ever Pixar movie in some way. “A113” was a classroom which many of the Pixar founders and developers, such as executive John Lasseter and director Brad Bird, got their start. Easter eggs are typically put in as a joke or hint and often don’t mean much, such as the classroom reference. However, after deep analyzation, it becomes apparent that Pixar executives may have a much deeper focus to their entire franchise than just great movies.
Welcome “The Pixar Theory”. Since not many people know about it, this theory is considered one of the greatest easter eggs of all time. The Pixar Theory was first introduced in a video on Cracked.com in 2012. People watching it had mixed reviews, some saying it was genius and others saying it was too looked into. However, the video itself was a little disorganized and didn’t piece together every aspect of its own theory, that every Pixar movie exists in the same universe and is just different points of time on the same timeline. This theory was then analyzed by a man named Jon Negroni who became obsessed with the concept and successfully filled in many of the gaps and problems with the original suggestion. His theory accurately included every Pixar movie since Toy Story and was released in July of 2013. Since then, movies like Inside Out and Finding Dory have been released, but many followers of the theory have been able to find a place for them, further validating the concept.
The theory is pretty long, so here’s the run down. The main concept is the constant power struggle throughout centuries between humans, animals, and machines. It starts and ends with Brave, which was set in the Dark Ages of Scotland, making it the earliest time period of the Pixar movies. Brave is the only movie that explains why animals within the Pixar universe have human behavior sometimes… MAGIC! That magic comes from a witch who disappears whenever she walks through a door. Sound familiar? Just you wait, your mind will be blown.
The timeline continues centuries later, after the witch’s magic spreads to other countries and grows stronger. This begins the power rise of animals. It can be seen in Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, and Up. All these movies show animals doing things that are normally explicit to humans such as wanting to cook or speaking. All of this knowledge that is being obtained was not very public, however. It is thought that only rumors of their potential power travelled to people such as Charles Muntz from Up. Muntz harnesses these powers with the speech collars, extending their abilities even further.
The theory then introduces my favorite part. The introduction of a company called Buy-N-Large, or BNL for short. It can be seen branded in the back of Buzz Lightyear’s batteries, kicking Carl out of his home in the beginning of Up, and eventually in Walle. The more BNL starts to appear in Pixar movies on the timeline, the less relevant the animals powers become. Now starts the rise of the machine.
It is first introduced in The Incredibles when super villain Syndrome created an artificial intelligence “killbot”, meant to learn the techniques of the supers it encounters and adjust, making it constantly stronger. It then continues in Toy Story as the intelligence extends to inanimate objects such as the toys. Throughout the trilogy, it is clear that the toys rely on human connection to stay “alive” and are becoming increasingly fed up with the lack of attention they get from humans after they grow up. After all, not every single toy can end up in a daycare. While this is happening, BNL is growing to an industrial super power, creating pollution. It is thought that this pollution gets so bad after many years that the humans are forced to leave Earth completely. With them gone, machines can really harness the artificial intelligence left by BNL. This is properly shown in the movie, you guessed it, Cars.
This explains why human landmarks are seen in Cars, because many people speculated why they were there in the first place if humans had never existed the Cars universe. The machines eventually die out, possible explained in Cars 2 with the energy crisis. Who’s left to save Earth after the machines died out and humans left? Wall-E. Who’s responsible for the pollution in the first place? Our good friend BNL. BNL is seen on every single advertisement aboard the spaceship. They are completely responsible after so many years of industrialization. After Wall-E brings the humans back to Earth, the plant that saved them is planted in the shoe it was carried in and grows into a tree. This tree looks remarkably similar to the tree in A Bug’s Life. This makes sense because humans are not really in A Bug’s Life, making it feasible that there just aren’t that many humans on Earth yet. They are still repopulating after being in space for so long. While repopulating however, it is very likely that humans underwent some trauma, being that the Earth was so pollution ridden. Along with the pollution, it is likely that there was radiation on Earth. The humans that survived couldn’t have been normal after enduring such radiation for so long. So what happens to them? They eventually turn into monsters. Which brings us to our final connection, Monsters Inc.
Being that the monsters are so civilized, having cities, jobs, homes, and rules, it is very believable that they could just be the result of hundreds of years of mutation from an extremely polluted Earth. The monsters are also seen having an energy crisis since in this universe, there are no humans. It is thought that the monsters aren’t traveling through the doors to different dimensions, they are traveling through time to harness the scream energy. As seen in the movie, a young girl named Boo enters the monster world while following Sully. She is fully aware that the magic exists, she just doesn’t understand it completely because of her age. But wait a minute. Wasn’t there someone else who travelled somewhere after going through a door? Yes! It all makes sense now!
Boo is the witch from Brave. The witch can be seen carving a sculpture that resembles Sully remarkably. She uses her newfound door magic to try to find Sully, though according to her state in Brave, it can be assumed that so far she was unsuccessful. However, this final part puts the whole theory in full circle. Everything is connected into one giant story, told in different periods of time in an alternate world.
This theory fascinates me. If it is true, I must give enormous props to Pixar for being so creative and sneaky. Though the clues are all laid out, it definitely takes some seriously observant eyes to link them all together. The full theory can be seen on Jon Negroni’s website (https://jonnegroni.com/2013/07/11/the-pixar-theory/) and goes into even more detail in his book. Others, such as youtube sensation “Super Carlin Brothers” (https://www.youtube.com/user/SuperCarlinBrothers) even go into details about other Pixar questions, such as “Where is Andy’s father?” from Toy Story and “What is the past behind Anton Ego?”, the food critic from Ratatouille.
So what do you think? Are people just super bored and way too analytical? Or are they very observant geniuses who cracked Pixar’s code?