With Cars 3 recently topping the box office, and Coco hitting cinemas in a couple of months, Pixar is always fresh on our minds. We've got sequels to classics Toy Story and The Incredibles on the way, but in the meantime there's plenty of chance to re-watch your favorites.
What better excuse to binge watch 20+ years of cinematic perfection than to trawl these movies for every tiny little detail Pixar has put in them for your nerdy viewing pleasure. And boy, do they fit a lot of details intho these movies.
Most fans know the more obvious ones, the ones that appear in every single Pixar movie: the Luxo ball (which has become pretty much the logo for Pixar); the Pizza Planet truck (which has also become eponymous with the production company after appearing in their first feature length movie, Toy Story); "A113" - the classroom that has seated many a Pixar alumnus; and human good luck charm, John Ratzenberger, who has voiced a character in all of Pixar’s movies to date.
But only the most eagle-eyed among us will have noticed the really good Easter Eggs and references in these movies. To give you a head start, here are 20 Things You Completely Missed In Pixar Movies.
20 Andy’s Nemo sticker in Toy Story 3
As we’ve said already, Toy Story started off Pixar’s animation domination, and the franchise is as loved today as it was back in ‘95, with fans of all ages.
The most recent release in the franchise, Toy Story 3, sees Andy all grown up, and his toys struggling to deal with the change that brings. It’s definitely emotion-filled, and tugs hard on the heartstrings of anyone who has grown up with these movies - as well as reaffirming the fact that you’re getting old!
But while you were getting caught up in the nostalgia, you may have missed some of the little details Pixar is adept at sneaking into its movies, such as the cute little Nemo sticker stuck to the toy chest in Andy’s room. This was a clever callback to Finding Nemo, released seven years before Toy Story 3.
19 Riley visits the Marine Life Institute
We already know the Pixar universe is connected in ways so complex they can barely be comprehended. So, really, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when characters cross over into other movies.
Take this Easter egg for example: In Finding Dory, when our favorite blue tang is stuck in a tank at the Marine Life Institute, amongst the group of children looking at the tank is none other than Inside Out’s Riley Anderson.
Now it could be argued that timeline wise, this doesn’t add up - Finding Dory takes place a year after Finding Nemo, making it 2004, which would mean Riley would have been a baby and still living in Minnesota at that time.
But - and it’s a big but - when Pixar confirmed that all their movies were linked, they did also confirm that they’re all at different points in time. So we can almost undoubtedly say that is Riley enjoying a field trip while Dory tries to find her family.
18 Bomb Voyage has switched careers
Only eagle-eyed Pixar die-hards will have spotted The Incredibles villain, Bomb Voyage in the background of a scene in Ratatouille. While Linguini and Colette are rollerskating by Notre Dame, Bomb Voyage can be seen doing his thing as a street mime. He also appears on a newspaper Colette is reading at a different point in the film.
It’s little details like this that are pure genius, because they make so much sense - he’s a French master criminal, Ratatouille is set in France - and give viewers enough information to create their own sub plots in their minds.
In the Boom! Comics Incredibles sequel, it is revealed that Bomb Voyage was one of the few villains to elude the NSA completely around the time of the superhero ban, only to re-emerge in Paris years later - so that could mean his appearance in Ratatouille was during the superhero ban, and he was biding his time as a street mime before causing havoc in Paris.
17 Mr. Incredible is a comic book hero
So we’ve already established that Mr. Incredible (and the rest of his family) are comic book superheroes in our occasionally entertaining real universe, but did you know Bob is also a comic book hero in the always amazing Pixar universe too?
In Finding Nemo, while all hell is breaking loose with Darla and the dentist, a little boy, waiting for his appointment, and shocked at the screams coming from the dentist’s room, can be seen reading a comic. And who is the star of that comic, you ask? Get out your high-definition copy and your magnifying glass, and you’ll see it is, in fact, Mr. Incredible.
Finding Nemo was released in 2003, and The Incredibles hit theaters a year later, so this tiny detail was a precursor to the studio’s next release, and one to spot on your re-watch of Finding Nemo.
16 A Bug's Life toys
A Bug’s Life was released three years after Toy Story, and one year prior to Toy Story 2, making it Pixar’s second feature-length movie. The A Bug’s Life references in Toy Story 2 were sure to remind fans of the movie they saw the year before.
The biggest and therefore most obvious reference to A Bug’s Life in TS2 comes when the gang are in Al’s Toy Barn. Buzz runs through the store, right past a seemingly full display of A Bug’s Life toys - you can quite clearly see a row of Dim figures, once you know where to look.
Other references come earlier on in the movie, when Mrs. Potato Head gets her ear back and is seen reading a book version of A Bug’s Life to some egg toys. When Woody goes on a mission to get his arm back, Stinky Pete turns on the TV, waking Al up. Behind him you can see a black and white painting featuring several characters from the movie.
15 The Wilhelm Scream
Only true movie nerds will get this reference.
The Wilhelm Scream, was recorded for and first used in Gary Cooper’s 1951 Western Distant Drums. It’s a stock sound effect of a man screaming, named after another use of it, in the 1963 western, The Charge at Feather River, in which a character named Private Wilhelm lets out the pained scream after being shot in the leg by an arrow. Following its debut, the effect became a regular part of the Warner Bros. sound library, and later being used by other studios, in over 200 movies to date.
It was first used by Disney in 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, during the battle between the villagers and the enchanted servants, and has been used multiple times since then by the Mouse House. Its first Pixar use, however, was the Easter egg in question - the scene in Toy Story, where Buzz Lightyear dramatically falls out of a window. It’s been used in five Pixar feature lengths and six Pixar shorts since Toy Story.
14 Monstro’s Appearance in Monsters, Inc.
“This Monstro, I've heard of him! He's a whale of a whale! Why, he swallows whole ships, alive!” - Jiminy Cricket.
Monsters Inc is a movie about monsters, set in a place called Monstropolis. So it makes sense for legendary Disney monster - whose name is pretty much "monster" anyway - Monstro to make a subtle appearance in the movie.
If you didn’t know (who hasn’t seen Pinocchio?!), Monstro is a humongous whale that causes all kinds of trouble when he swallows Geppetto, Figaro, Cleo, and their boat when they go looking for the kidnapped Pinocchio.
He’s seen in this scene from Monsters, Inc., while Mike and Sulley are walking to work, on a poster outside the Hidden City cafe, if you can take your eyes off the garbage-guzzling, street-cleaning monster for a second.
13 Boo's artwork
Another one in Finding Nemo, and again we’re in the dentist’s office. But this time Mr. P. Sherman (aka the dentist) and his unusual decorations are in question.
Mr. Sherman’s decorations have come straight from Boo’s room in Monsters, Inc. On the wall he has a picture Boo drew and stuck on her wall, and he also has the fish mobile she had hanging from her ceiling in the movie.
This is another example of not just a cool Easter eggs, but enough to lead fans to jump to their own conclusions and come up with their own theories, namely: does this mean Mr. P. Sherman is actually Boo’s father? It’s never said in Monsters, Inc. where Boo lives, so it’s entirely plausible - and really exciting to think that all of these movies really are connected!
12 Rock'em Sock'em Robots
The Rock'em Sock'em Robots only have one scene in Toy Story 2, but it’s a good one. When the gang are looking for Woody in Al’s Toy Barn, Slinky Dog stops to ask the ‘Bots if they’ve seen a "cowboy doll with a bad arm", the pair fight over Slinky’s attention, it’s hilarious. But that’s their only scene in the movie.
That didn’t stop them showing up in Bob Parr’s office in The Incredible,s though. Look very closely on Mr Incredible’s very cluttered desk and you’ll see Red and Blue gearing up for their next fight.
This one goes to show that Pixar isn’t just sneaking popular characters (and their belongings) into other movies. Animators will even sneak in the odd minor character, if it’s going to make an interesting Easter egg for hardcore fans to geek out over.
11 Sector 4 Gamma Quad tyres
Cars and its sequels are full of not-so-subtle callbacks to other Pixar movies. Vehicles named the Sullivan Truck and Boomobile to name a couple; and there’s even Toy Car Story playing at a drive-in cinema, where we see a car Buzz Lightyear and Woody.
Even less subtle is Lightning McQueen’s infamous racing number - 95 - after the year Pixar released its first feature (Toy Story). Lightning even runs on Lightyear tyres, another obvious callback to Toy Story and the studio’s roots (or should that be routes? Because they’re cars. Get it?).
Way more subtle, though, is a very small detail in the opening race scene. A blue car has pulled into his/her pitstop, and is getting their Lightyear tyres changed. The detail here is that the specific model of the tyres is Sector 4 Gamma Quad, which you may recognize as being very similar to Buzz’s Space Ranger station: Gamma Quadrant, Sector 4.
Andy’s room is full of little nods to other Pixar movies, with more and more being added through the years. What teenager doesn’t collect random junk? So it’s no surprise that his sticker and poster filled door in Toy Story 3 has its very own Easter egg: the newt crossing sticker.
This sticker references the Pixar almost-movie, Newt, that was originally scheduled for a 2011 release, pushed back to 2012, then canned in 2010, the same year Toy Story 3 was released. There are other references to it too, in Brave and The Good Dinosaur.
Here’s what the movie would’ve been about, from the official Disney press release: "What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can't stand each other? That's the problem facing Newt and Brooke, heroes of "newt,” the Pixar film by seven-time Academy Award® winner for sound Gary Rydstrom, and director of Pixar's Oscar-nominated short, Lifted."
9 Darla is a Tween Zine cover girl
A lot changed in the 10 years between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. But if you can take your concentration away from Andy and Molly now being so much older (and how that means you, a kid who grew up with Buzz and Woody, are also so much older) there are tons of Easter eggs mixed in with the awesome plot.
Andy’s sister, Molly, the toddler-turned-tween, has done a lot of growing up between movies, and now she’s ditched her Barbies and other toys for music and magazines. And on the cover of one of those magazines - Tween Zine to be precise - is none other than Darla, the head-geared villain from Finding Nemo.
It’s hardly surprising, though; pair her rock and roll girl sweater with her diva attitude and it’s a given Darla was destined to be a rock star. And that "Girl Power" headline? Does this make her the next tween feminist icon? We hope so. Lets just hope she’s put her fish-killing days behind her.
8 Chef Colette is a celebrity chef
Another Pixar movie, another character that has gone on to achieve their dreams of mainstream success.
If you can turn your focus away from the adorable toddler Riley in Inside Out, and look at the magazine basket on the living room table for a second, you will notice Ratatouille’s Chef Colette Tatou on the cover of Haute Dish magazine. It also seems to say Minnesota on the top of the magazine, suggesting it’s a local magazine rather than national or international. Could that mean Colette (and hopefully Linguini) have relocated from Paris to the States for Colette to become a culinary celebrity?
There’s even a little fan theory that the girl with blue hair (and a ton of attitude) from the end of Inside Out bears a striking resemblance to Colette, and so could be Colette and Linguini’s daughter.
7 The Shining references
Now this one is a bit of a surprise, as it’s not a reference to another Pixar movie, or even another movie that’s suitable for families. We’re talking about the blatant nods to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining throughout the Toy Story movies.
There’s a few in Toy Story 3, and they were all sneaked in by director Lee Unkrich, who is a huge fan of Kubrick and The Shining. One of the security cameras is labeled Overlook R237 after the Overlook Hotel, and Room 237 where the movie takes place. There’s also a garbage truck license plate of RM237 and Woody chats to someone with the screen name Velocistar237, again referencing the room of horrors.
Perhaps the biggest and creepiest reference to The Shining in Toy Story comes in the first movie, and wasn’t put there on purpose by Lee Unkrich. Take a look at Sid’s hallway carpet. Look familiar? It’s very, very similar to the carpet in the infamously disturbing hallway of the Overlook Hotel. Spooky.
6 A Figment in Riley’s imagination
This one’s for the Disney Parks geeks out there.
In the glorious Inside Out scenes featuring the one and only sweetheart, Bing Bong (RIP, oh our hearts), there are plenty of Easter eggs for your viewing pleasure.
Many of them appear in Imaginationland, the theme park in Riley’s head, and 100% unaffiliated with the South Park theme park of the same name. There's a couple of board games based on Finding Nemo and The Good Dinosaur in there for starters.
But a little harder to spot is the framed picture of Figment, the mascot of the "Imagination!" pavilion at the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World Resort. Figment first appeared as part of the Journey Into Imagination ride in 1983. He's a popular part of Epcot, and loved by Disney Parks fans the world over. It certainly fitting that a character birthed in the Imagination Pavilion gets his own reference in Riley’s Imagination.
5 Characters in Dream Studios
This one will also be of big appeal to Disney Parks geeks, but will make just as much sense to Disney and Pixar fans who are enjoying the Mouse from their own House.
Again we’re in Riley’s head in Inside Out, getting a guided tour buy the almost-too-loveable Bing Bong. Bing Bong takes Joy, Sadness, and the viewer into Dream Productions, the filming studio where Riley’s dreams and nightmares are made. In the Studio Lot, there’s several of the Dream Actors dressed as Disney characters, ready to create a dream for Riley -tydk including Mickey Mouse, Robin Hood, and Zurg, as well as a reference to the Tin Toy Pixar Short.
Also in this scene, right down at the end of the studio’s main strip, on the right, are a pair of giant monster legs that we’re pretty sure belong to Ted, the giant beast Mike and Sully meet on their way to work in Monsters, Inc.
4 A date with WALL-E
Finding Dory is just as packed full of Easter eggs as other Pixar movies. The difference though is that one of the characters creates his own Easter eggs - the crazy octopus Hank makes his own spot-the-sea-creature game in many a scene. He’s pretty easy to spot though, especially compared to another Easter egg in the movie.
You’ve really got to get your high-definition copy, and mega-zoom to spot this one, right in the background of the scene. When Hank is suspended over the Open Ocean exhibit, ready to drop Dory into the huge exhibit to find her parents, press pause and look in the background. In the right corner is a WALL-E wall calendar.
This seems pretty random, and just another nod to another Pixar movie, but it could also mean that Finding Dory takes place around the time that WALL-E units were being manufactured by Buy N Large.
3 Soaring over Pixar Studios
The top three Easter eggs in this list are all location based, and these ones require some extra knowledge, rather than just seeing them in a screen shot.
First, is this one from Cars. When the jets fly over the Los Angeles Speedway, for the Piston Cup race, look closely and you’ll see Pixar’s Animation Studios in the background. The first of several buildings at the studios previously occupied by Del Monte Foods, Inc. has special foundations and generators to ensure continued film production, even through major earthquakes.
Some even more eagle-eyed and knowledgeable fans will point out that this isn’t completely accurate, as Pixar Animation Studios is actually based in Emeryville, not Los Angeles, but let’s not nitpick with a crazy tiny detail that’s been intentionally added into the movie for hardcore fans to enjoy.
2 The Walt Disney Family Museum
Inside Out brings us the next location based Easter egg. While the last saw Pixar Animation Studios, where Pixar movies are brought to life, this one goes into the history of Disney, featuring the life and legacy of the one and only Walt Disney.
The hockey rink Riley visits is based on the real life location of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. The museum features early drawings and animation, movies, music, listening stations, a 12-foot diameter model of Disneyland, and a lobby filled with the 248 awards that Disney won during his career. There are also ten permanent galleries, spanning Walt Disney’s life, starting with his ancestral history and ending with his death on December 15th, 1966.
It’s pretty cool - and probably intentional - that a location that holds so many memories for Riley is based on the real life location of a museum of memories of the Walt Disney Family.
1 Pixar Around the World
Finally, we have another Easter Egg from Inside Out, and another one based on Disney Pixar locations. This time it’s a map of the settings of all the Pixar movies.
In the scene that sees Riley struggling to fit into a new school - a heartbreaking scene and one that will feel all too familiar to a lot of fans - at the back of the classroom there’s a map with different locations pinpointed on it. There’s a lot of pins in the USA, one or two in South America, a couple in Europe and some in Asia too - all locations where Pixar movies were set. It’s easy to forget the Pixar universe is so international, so this is a sweet reminder.
It’s also fitting that a movie about memories and how your experiences shape who you are pinpoints all the Pixar movies into one little reference, because these movies have provided memories and experiences for their fans for years, and will continue to do so for years to come. Thank you, Pixar!
Are there any other Pixar movie Easter eggs that we missed? Leave them in the comments!