Pixar have been long renowned for packing their movies with Easter Eggs, and the Emeryville Titan’s latest release, Coco, is no exception. Sly background clues have been a mainstay the company since the days of its shorts in the 1980s, and has now grown so prominent it’s led to a theory of an entire shared universe.
Coco follows the young Miguel on his adventure to the Land of the Dead, a very different world to what Pixar usually delivers. But if you look closely, you’ll see many references to other Pixar movies dropped into the background. Here are the best ones you may have missed.
The Pizza Planet Truck
Right near the start of the movie, when Miguel is recalling the time his ancestor banned music, he looks out of the window right when a Pizza Planet delivery truck drives past. Made famous in Toy Story, the Pizza Planet truck is an oft-used Easter egg in Pixar movies, appearing in all films except The Incredibles. It’s almost as though the truck certifies a movie as a true Pixar offering.
We Found Nemo!
As Miguel heads to the plaza, he walks through a busy market scene. One of the stalls has a variety of small figurines for sale, and sitting on the table are Nemo, Marlin, Dory, and Destiny from Finding Nemo/Finding Dory. This isn’t the first time Disney/ Pixar have used other characters as figurines or tiny toys: in Aladdin, the Sultan can be seen stacking a variety of plastic animals, one of which is the Beast from Beauty and the Beast; and in Monsters, Inc., Boo has both Nemo and Jessie in her room. Nemo also pops up again in Coco; in the “Not Like The Rest” scene, the same figure is sitting on top of a jar, just behind a skeleton figure.
Woody and Buzz as Pinatas
A little further along, in the same scene, another market trader is selling pinatas. Among them are Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Not just a wink towards to the studio’s first film, this also sets up the future; it’s become tradition for each Pixar movie to give a nod to the next one in the pipeline and, originally, Toy Story 4 was supposed to arrive in 2018, so this nod makes sense. Of course, Pixar’s release schedule has since changed, and Toy Story 4 is now set for 2019. Mike Wazaowski, from Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University also features at this point.
As noted above, each Pixar movie gives a nod to the next one. Or two, in Coco‘s case. Taking the 2018 spot vacated by Toy Story 4 is The Incredibles 2, which also gets a tease in the film; and it’s a pretty obvious one. When Miguel and his new-found friend, Hector, are walking through the Land of the Dead, they pass a poster for The Incredibles.
The Luxo Ball
It wouldn’t be a Pixar movie without the Luxo ball making an appearance! The bouncing ball was the subject of Pixar’s second animated short, Luxo Jr. (which introduced the iconic lamp from the logo), and it’s appeared in every movie since, just like John Ratzenberger (more on him in a moment). The ball is most prominent in Toy Story, while in Coco it’s a blink and you miss it moment – but it’s there all the same. When Dante gets into a fight with a monkey, as the pair move all over the place, the ball can be seen on a table.
Pixar animators often drop A113 into their movies as a nod to the classroom at California Institute of Arts where almost all of the original Disney and Pixar animators trained. It crops up in many other animated movies and TV shows, including The Simpsons, but is best linked with The House That Woody Built; it’s recently been seen on a license plate in Finding Dory, the classroom number in Monsters University, and the courtroom number in Up. In Coco, it’s the room number for the Bureau of Family Grievances in the Land of the Dead.
So, technically this isn’t in the film itself, but the animated short Dante’s lunch. However, it’s still a cute nod to Pixar’s other 2017 release. When Dante runs past a small kid eating corn in the street, you can see the little boy is wearing Lightning McQueen sneakers.
Is This Sid?
Okay, this is Easter egg is a bit more obscure, but the idea is gathering interest amongst the fanbase. When Miguel watches the talent show, one of the acts wears the same t-shirt as Sid, the toy-abusing bully in Toy Story. If it is him, does that mean he’s now dead? The last we heard (or saw) of him, he was working as a garbage man in Toy Story 3; did a nasty accident befall him, meaning he now resides in the Land of the Dead?
Related: 9 ‘Toy Story 3’ Easter Eggs Revealed
John Ratzenberger (Again)
Continuing his streak of appearing in every Pixar movie, John Ratzenberger makes his way onto Coco’s predominantly Latino cast list. He’s considered by many at Pixar to be their good luck charm, so whether the part is big or small, he always voices a character of some kind. In Coco, he plays a ghost called Juan Ortodoncia. It’s a small role but nevertheless a delight when you hear it.
Maybe this is cheating a little, since this isn’t technically an Easter egg, but we couldn’t ignore Pixar’s touching recognition of their own dearly departed. Running though the credits, Pixar have created their own version of an ofrenda; paying tribute to former employees and influences who have helped Pixar to become the animation powerhouse that it is today. Walt Disney is there, of course, as is Steve Jobs, former Pixar CEO and a massive technological influence on the company. There’s also a mention for Don Rickles, the beloved voice of Mr. Potato head in the Toy Story movies, who passed away in April 2017.
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