The Pixar Theory

Every Pixar movie is connected. I explain how, and possibly why.

Several months ago, I watched a fun-filled video on Cracked.com that introduced the idea (at least to me) that all of the Pixar movies actually exist within the same universe. Since then, I’ve obsessed over this concept, working to complete what I call “The Pixar Theory,” a working narrative that ties all of the Pixar movies into one cohesive timeline with a main theme.

This theory covers every Pixar production since Toy Story. That includes:

  • A Bug’s Life
  • Toy Story 2
  • Monsters Inc.
  • Finding Nemo
  • The Incredibles
  • Cars
  • Ratatouille
  • Wall-E
  • Up
  • Toy Story 3
  • Cars 2
  • Brave
  • Monsters University

The point of this theory is to have fun and exercise your imagination while simultaneously finding interesting connections between these fantastic movies. If you hate fun and/or imagination, you probably won’t like this theory.

[SIDE NOTE: All text in blue indicates updated edits since the original version]

Brave is the first and last movie in the timeline. Obviously, this movie about a Scottish kingdom during the Dark Ages is the earliest time period covered by the Pixar films, but it’s also the only Pixar movie that actually explains why animals in the Pixar universe behave like humans sometimes.

Pixar Theory

In Brave, Merida discovers that there is “magic” that can solve her problems but inadvertently turns her mother into a bear. We find out that this magic comes from an odd witch seemingly connected to the mysterious will-of-the-wisps. Not only do we see animals behaving like humans, but we also see brooms (inanimate objects) behaving like people in the witch’s shop.

Pixar Theory

We also learn that this witch inexplicably disappears every time she passes through doors, leading us to believe that she may not even exist. Don’t get ahead of me, but we’ll come back to Brave. Let’s just say, for now, the witch is someone we know from a different movie in the timeline.

[Some of you pointed out that the animals in Brave gradually regress back into an animal state, disproving the idea that this is the source of animals acting like humans. My rebuttal is simple. They regress because the magic wears off. Over time, their evolving intelligence grows naturally.]

Centuries later, the animals from Brave that have been experimented on by the witch have interbred, creating a large-scale population of animals slowly gaining personification and intelligence on their own.

There are two progressions: the progression of the animals and the progression of artificial intelligence. The events of the following movies set up a power struggle between humans, animals, and machines.

The stage for all-out war in regards to animals is set by Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, and Up, in that order. Notice I left out A Bug’s Life, but I’ll explain why later.

In Ratatouille, we see animals experimenting with their growing personification in small, controlled experiments.

Remy wants to cook, something only humans explicitly do. He crafts a relationship with a small group of humans and finds success. Meanwhile, the villain of Ratatouille, Chef Skinner, disappears. What happened to him? What did he do with his newfound knowledge that animals were capable of transcending their instincts and performing duties better than humans?

Pixar Theory

It’s possible that Charles Muntz, the antagonist of Up, learned of this startling rumor, giving him the idea to begin inventing devices that would harness the thoughts of animals, namely his dogs, through translator collars. Those collars indicated to Muntz that animals are smarter and more like humans than we think. He needed this technology to find the exotic bird he’s obsessed over, and he even comments on how many dogs he’s lost since he arrived in South America.

Pixar Theory

But then Dug and the rest of his experiments are set free after Muntz’s demise, and we don’t know the full implications of that, but what we do know is that animosity between the animals and humans is growing steadily. Now that humans have discovered the potential of animals, they are beginning to cross the line. To develop this new technology, the humans begin an industrial revolution hinted at in Up.

[Some have pointed out that Muntz was working in South America before the events of Ratatouille. This is true, but it is not explicitly stated how and when he developed the collars. Also, we know Ratatouille takes place before Up for several reasons. In Toy Story 3, a postcard on Andy's wall has Carl and Ellie's name and address on it (including their last names to confirm). This confirms that in 2010, the time of Toy Story 3, Ellie is still alive or hasn't been dead long. This supports the idea that Up takes place years later.]

Pixar Theory

In the beginning of Up, Carl is forced to give up his house to a corporation because they are expanding the city. Think on that. What corporation is guilty for polluting the earth and wiping out life in the distant future because of technology overreach?

Pixar Theory

Buy-n-Large (BNL), a corporation that runs just about everything by the time we get to Wall-E. In the“History of BNL” commercial from the movie, we’re told that BNL has even taken over the world governments. Did you catch that this one corporation achieved global dominance?Interestingly, this is the same organization alluded to in Toy Story 3:

Pixar Theory

In Finding Nemo, we have an entire population of sea creatures uniting to save a fish that was captured by humans. BNL shows up again in this universe via another news article that talks about a beautiful underwater world.

Lines are being crossed. Humans are beginning to antagonize the increasingly networked and intelligent animals.

Think about Dory from Finding Nemo for a second. She stands apart from most of the other fish. Why? She isn’t as intelligent. Her short-term memory loss is likely a result of her not being as advanced as the other sea creatures, which is a reasonable explanation for how rapidly these creatures are evolving.

Pixar Theory

It’s likely that the sequel to Finding Nemo, which is about Dory, will touch on this and further explain why. We may also get some more evidence pointing to animosity between humans and animals.

[Some great users have pointed out that Dory is actually more intelligent and shows signs of growth due to her ability to read and communicate with whales. This would actually show signs of how the animals are beginning to change in intelligence gradually.]

And that is the furthest movie in the “animal” side of things. When it comes to A.I., we start with The Incredibles. Who is the main villain of this movie? You probably thought of Buddy, a.ka. Syndrome, who basically commits genocide on super-powered humans.

Pixar Theory

Or does he? Buddy didn’t have any powers. He used technology to enact revenge on Mr. Incredible for not taking him seriously. Seems a little odd that the man went so far as to commit genocide.

[A lot of people have been arguing about where The Incredibles actually takes place because we see technology from modern times and the 1980s even though everything has a 1960s vibe. This is cleared by Brad Bird, the director, who says the movie takes place in an alternate 1960s, which means the movie opens in the 1950s.]

And how does he kill all of the supers? He creates the omnidroid, an A.I. “killbot” that learns the moves of every super-human and adapts. When Mr. Incredible is first told about this machine, Mirage mentions that it is an advanced artificial intelligence that has gone rogue.

Mr. Incredible points out that it got smart enough to wonder why it had to take orders.  The omnidroid eventually turns on Syndrome, and starts attacking humans in the city. Why would an A.I. want to just attack randomly? Do machines have an inherent hatred of humans?

The movie even shows clips of the superheroes with capes being done in by inanimate objects, such as plane turbines…accidentally.

Pixar Theory

Pixar Theory

But why would machines want to get rid of humans in the first place? We know that animals don’t like humans because they are polluting the Earth and experimenting on them, but why would the machines have an issue?

Enter Toy Story. Here we see humans using and discarding “objects” that are clearly sentient. Yes, the toys love it Uncle Tom style, but over the course of the Toy Story sequels, we see toys becoming fed up. But wait, toys and inanimate objects aren’t necessarily machines, so how do they have some kind of intelligence?

Syndrome points to the answer. He tells Mr. Incredible that his lasers are powered by Zero Point Energy. This is the electromagnetic energy that exists in a vacuum. It’s the unseen energy we find in wavelengths and a reasonable explanation for how toys and objects in the Pixar world draw power.

Pixar Theory

By the events of the Toy Story movies, we are in the 90s until 2010. It’s been 40-50 years or so since the events of The Incredibles, giving A.I. plenty of time to develop BNL.

Meanwhile, Pixar is hinting at dissatisfaction among pockets of toy civilizations. The toys rise up against Sid in the first movie. Jesse resents her owner, Emily, for abandoning her. Lotso Huggin’ Bear straight up hates humans by the third movie.

Toys are obviously not satisfied with the status quo, providing a reason for why machines and objects alike are ready to take over.

So, by the 2000s, the super-humans all but gone, and mankind is vulnerable. Animals, who want to rise up Planet of the Apes style, have the ability to take over, but we don’t see this happen.

Also, A.I. never takes over humans by force. Why do you think that is? It’s reasonable to assume that machines did take over, just not as we expected. The machines used BNL, a faceless corporation (which are basically faceless in nature) to dominate the world, starting in the 1960s after the Omnidroid fails to defeat the Incredibles.

In each of the Toy Story movies, it’s made painfully clear that sentient objects rely on humans for everything. For fulfillment and even energy. It’s hinted at that the Toys lose all life when put away in “storage” unless they are in a museum that will get them seen by humans.

Pixar Theory

So machines decide to control humans by using a corporation that suits their every need, leading to an industrial revolution that eventually leads to…pollution. When the animals rise up against the humans to stop them from polluting the earth, who will save them? The machines.

We know that the machines will win the war, too, because after this war, there are almost no animals left on Earth. Who’s left?

Pixar Theory

Because the machines tip everything out of balance, Earth becomes an unfit planet for humans and animals, so the remaining humans are put on Axiom (or Noah’s Ark if you want to carry on the Biblical theme where Wall-E is basically Robot Jesus and his love interest is aptly named Eve) as a last-ditch effort to save the human race.

Pixar Theory

On Axiom, the humans have no purpose aside from having their needs met by the machines. The machines have made humans dependent on them for everything because that is how they were treated as “toys.” It’s all they know.

Pixar Theory

Meanwhile on Earth, machines are left behind to populate the world and run things, explaining human landmarks and traditions still being prominent in Cars. There are no animals or humans in this version of Earth because they’re all gone, but we do know that the planet still has many human influences left.

[Some have noted that the world of Cars can't be after humans left because there's no pollution shown in the movies. If you look carefully at Wall-E, however, the world is never shown during this time, so we don't really know how badly the Earth was polluted. It's possible that the machines sent humans away to curb overpopulation and fix the environment without them, but the world was drained of resources as a result of machines populating the Earth. That would explain why the machines abandoned Earth entirely, leaving only Wall-E behind.]

In Cars 2, the cars go to Europe and Japan, making it plain that this is all taking place on Earth as we know it. So what happened to the cars? We’ve learned by now that humans are the source of energy for the machines. That’s why they never got rid of them.

In Wall-E, they point out that BNL intended to bring the humans back once the planet was clean again, but they failed. The machines on Earth eventually died out, though we don’t know how.

Pixar TheoryWhat we do know is that there is an energy crisis in Cars 2, with oil being the only way society trudges on despite its dangers. We even learn that the Allinol corporation was using “green energy” as a catalyst for a fuel war in order to turn cars away from alternative energy sources. That “clean” fuel could have been used to wipe out many of the cars, very quickly.

Pixar Theory

[Someone pointed out that "all in all" means the same thing as "by and large" making the connection between Cars and Wall-E even more substantial.]

Which brings us back to Wall-E. Have you ever wondered why Wall-E was the only machine left? We know that the movie begins 800 years after humans have left Earth on Axiom, governed by the AutoPilot (another A.I. reference).

Could it be that Wall-E’s fascination with human culture and friendship with a cockroach is what allowed him to keep finding fulfillment and the ability to maintain his personality? That’s why he was special and liberated the humans.

He remembered the times when humans and machines lived in peace, away from all of the pollution caused by both sides.

Pixar Theory

After Wall-E liberates the humans and they rebuild society back on Earth, what happens then? During the end credits of Wall-E, we see the shoe that contains the last of plant life. It grows into a mighty tree. A tree that strikingly resembles the central tree in A Bug’s Life.

Pixar Theory

Pixar Theory

Pixar Theory

That’s right. The reason no humans show up in A Bug’s Life is because there aren’t a lot left. We know because of the cockroach that some of the insects survived, meaning they would have rebounded a bit faster, though the movie had to be far enough in the timeline for birds to have returned as well, though they’re noticeably less intelligent than the bugs.

[I'll admit, the trees looking similar isn't enough to support the idea that A Bug's Life takes place after Wall-E, but there's definitely more reasons for why it's likely. Also, I'll bring the tree up again later because it appears in Up as well.]

There’s something strikingly different about A Bug’s Life when compared to other Pixar portrayals of animals, which leads me to believe it takes place in the future. Unlike Ratatouille, Up, and Finding Nemo, the bugs have many human activities similar to what the rats in Ratatouille were merely experimenting with.

The bugs have cities, bars, advertisements, their own machines, know what a bloody mary is and even have a traveling circus. This all assumes that the movie is in a different time period.

The other factor that sets A Bug’s Life apart from other Pixar movies is the fact that it is the only one, besides Cars and Cars 2, that doesn’t revolve (or even include) humans.

Pixar Theory

[Okay there is a a lot of contention over the idea that A Bug's Life takes place post-apocalypse, but hear me out. The reason I am so inclined to push the idea is because of how different the bug world is from the "animal" movies. No other Pixar movie has animals wearing clothing, wild inventions, animals creating machines, or so much human influence like bars and cities. In Finding Nemo, the most human thing we see is a school, and even that is pretty stripped down. But in A Bug's Life, we have a world where humans are barely even implied. At one point, one of the ants tells Flik not to leave the island because there are "snakes, birds, and bigger bugs out there." He doesn't even bring up humans. Yes, there are some humans, like the kid who allegedly picked the wings off of the homeless bug, but that still fits in a post Wall-E world. Also, the bugs have to be irradiated for them to live such long lifespans. The average lifespan of an ant is just 3 months, but these ants all survive an entire summer and allude to being around for quite some time by saying things like "this happens every year." One of the ants even says he "feels 90 again." That works if you accept that the ants are sturdier due to evolution and mutated genes.]

There’s another Pixar movie that was supposed to be released in 2012, but was cancelled and replaced with Brave. This movie was called Newt and I believe it might have fit in this part of the timeline post-Wall-E. The movie’s supposed plot: “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?” (Read here for more)

Pixar Theory

A movie about an endangered species rebuilding itself could lend itself nicely to this theory, but since the movie was never released, I’m just speculating.

So what happens next? Humanity, machines, and animals grow in harmony to the point where a new super species is born. Monsters. The monsters civilization is actually Earth in the incredibly distant future.

[Someone wisely pointed out that in Monsters University, the college is said to be founded in 1313. If we're really in the future, then that means the monsters could have reset society and begun using their own calendar. That could mean Monsters Inc. takes place up to 1400 (or more) years after A Bug's Life.]

Where did they come from? It’s possible that the monsters are simply the personified animals mutated after the diseased earth was irradiated for 800 years.

[Not during Wall-E. I would guess that it took hundreds of years after Wall-E for the animals to become monsters]

Pixar Theory

Whatever the reason, these monsters seem to all look like horribly mutated animals, only larger and civilized. They have cities and even colleges, as we see in Monsters University.

[An issue some have found is that this doesn't properly explain what happened to humans. I haven't settled on a theory I really like yet, but I'm leaning towards the idea that monsters and machines eventually forgot that they need humans and got rid of them again, not realizing their mistake until all humans died out. Another explanation is that humans just couldn't survive on Earth anymore.]

In Monsters Inc., they have an energy crisis because they are in a future earth without humans. Humans are the source of energy, but thanks to the machines, again, the Monsters find a way to use doors to travel to the human world. Only, it’s not different dimensions.

Pixar Theory

The monsters are going back in time. They’re harvesting energy to keep from becoming extinct by going back to when humans were most prominent. The peak of civilization, if you will. Though a lot of time has passed, animosity towards humans never really went away for animals/monsters.

Monsters must have relied on anti-human instincts to believe that just touching a human would corrupt their world like it did in the past. So they scare humans to gather their energy until they realize that laughter (green energy) is more efficient because it is positive in nature.

[An alternative explanation that fits even better that some of you brought up: The machines and monsters created the time travel doors but realized that messing with time could erase their existence and change history. So, they falsely trained monsters to believe that humans are toxic and from another dimension, making it suicide for a monster to interact too much with their world. Another issue is how the monsters seem to worry about kids "being less scared these days." It's likely that going in the past takes a lot of energy, so the monsters can only go back as far as the practice still returns a profit in energy. To them, they're just moving through the same dimension of time, but the monsters at the top know that eventually, they'll run out. This is why Waternose is so bent on capturing children and enslaving them.]

We even see a connection between A Bug’s Life and Monsters Inc. via the trailer we see in both movies. As you can see, the trailer looks exactly the same, except the one in A Bug’s Life is noticeably older and more decrepit, while the one in Monsters Inc. (where Randall is sent via a door) has humans and looks newer.

Pixar Theory

Look at the picture above. On the left is the trailer from A Bug’s Life and the one on the right is from Monsters Inc. The one on the left looks older and more rundown. Even the vegetation is noticeably dryer and there’s less of it. The trailer on the right has humans and the frame even includes tall grass and a tree hanging overhead.

[Some have argued that the trailer in A Bug's Life should be nothing but dust. I disagree based on how barely intact other buildings were in Wall-E. They also bring up the bug zapper that is powered by electricity. The zapper could easily be solar powered, just like Wall-E. The bugs probably used it as a light source to signal other bugs to "Bug City." Also, the trailer in A Bug's Life never shows lights in the trailer like it does for Monsters Inc.]

That said, Monsters Inc. is so far the most futuristic Pixar movie. By the end, humans, animals, and machines have finally found a way to understand each other and live harmoniously.

And then there’s Boo. What do you think happened to her? She saw everything take place in future earth where “kitty” was able to talk. She became obsessed with finding out what happened to her friend Sully and why animals in her time weren’t quite as smart as the ones she’d seen in the future.

She remembers that “doors” are the key to how she found Sully in the first place and becomes…

Pixar Theory

A WITCH. Yes, Boo is the witch from Brave. She figures out how to travel in time to find Sully, and goes back to what she believes is the source: The will-of-the-wisps.

They are what started everything, and as a witch, she cultivates this magic in an attempt to find Sully by creating doors going backwards and forwards in time.

[Just to clarify: The theory is that Boo discovered a way to use doors to travel through time on her own, possibly by developing magic on her own. She probably went back in time to the Dark Ages to get more magic from the will-o-wisps.]

How do we know? In Brave, you can briefly see a drawing in the workshop. It’s Sully.

Pixar Theory

We even see the Pizza Planet truck carved as a wooden toy in her shop, which makes no sense unless she’s seen one before…(and I’m sure she has since that truck is in almost every Pixar movie). If you look closely, you can see the carved truck below.

Pixar Theory

You remember Merida opening doors and the witch constantly disappearing? It’s because those doors are made the same way from Monsters Inc. They transport across time and that is why Merida couldn’t find the witch later in the movie.

[A lot of people have brought up how easter eggs are scattered throughout all the Pixar movies. I barely scratch the surface, but a great theory offered by some that I support is that these easter eggs are planted by Boo either intentionally or accidentally as she travels through time to find Sully. Some support for that is the fact that every easter egg in Brave lies in her workshop.]

But wait. How did Boo travel in time in the first place, and why is she obsessed with wood? Boo must have discovered that wood has been the source of energy all along, not just humans. The machines and monsters in Monsters Inc. use doors because they’re made of wood and found a way to use that energy to travel in time.

[Many have pointed out how the door that banishes monsters is metal. That's probably because wood is used to harness this magic, and using a metal door would stop a banished monster from going back through it.]

Obsessed with finding Sully, Boo travelled across the Pixar universe using doors.

[It's even possible that the wood from the tree in A Bug's Life is the source of Flik's ingenuity, due to his fascination and respect for seeds growing into trees. The tree also bears a resemblance to the one in Up that Carl and Ellie frequented, which could be the source of Carl's wild creativity in using balloons to transport his house. This also explains why Flik and Heimlich from A Bug's Life show up in Toy Story 2, which would be centuries before their time. Boo was trying to go to the future and could have fallen short by landing in the post-Wall-E time. She would need wood to keep time traveling, but there's not much around yet, so she stumbles upon the tree in A Bug's Life. She could have accidentally brought back a few bugs with her when traveling backwards in time.]

So Boo went back to the Dark Ages, probably because she could use plenty of wood there for her experiments or to study the will-o-wisps. We know that her first encounter with Mor’du ended with her turning him into a monstrous bear, but he regresses.

She probably wanted to turn him into a bear because Sully resembles a bear, and she is still trying to figure out where Sully comes from.

Does Boo ever find Sully? I like to think so. He surely reunited with her at least once as a child at the end of Monsters Inc., but eventually, he had to stop visiting.

But her love for Sully is, after all, the crux of the entire Pixar universe. The love of different people of different ages and even different species finding ways to live on Earth without destroying it because of a lust for energy.

And that is the Pixar Theory. More will be added to it, undoubtedly, when Pixar’s next movie The Good Dinosaur comes out in 2014.

Pixar Theory

[The Good Dinosaur is supposed to be about an alternate universe where dinosaurs never went extinct because a meteor never wiped them out. They have humans as pets in this alternate reality. My theory is that this "alternate universe" explains why so many things in Pixar's universe are different from ours. It's because evolution was never interrupted by a world-wide catastrophe. Humans evolved into supers and animals gained sentience faster, accelerating the apocalypse for resources that could do the same to our timeline. Oh, and Dinoco from Toy Story and Cars is a loose, but fun connection to speculate on.]

Until then, if you have anything to contribute or correct, don’t hesitate to bring it to my attention. Thanks for reading, and for a visual of the timeline with dates, click here.

Also, if you’re wondering whether or not Planes fits into this theory, read my full take on that subject here.

If you can’t get enough of the Pixar Theory, you can read The Pixar Detective, a serial novel (with artwork!) that explains more about this theory through an original story.

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

All images courtesy of Disney/Pixar

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8,970 thoughts on “The Pixar Theory

  1. I think that maybe a better theory as to why the humans disappear between Wall-E and Monsters Inc is that the radiation that mutated the animals and bugs is lethal to humans and the only reason that Mr Incredible isn’t killed by it in The Incredibles is the radiation is the source of his powers so it doesn’t affect him. Perhaps the robots weren’t trying to send the humans away for their own selfish desires, they could have sent them away to protect them as they realised that the radiation levels were rising and Asimov’s laws of robotics state that a robot cannot allow a human to be harmed through it’s own inaction. Wall-E may have thought that bringing the people back to Earth would help but perhaps he is defective which would also explain his personality. So between Wall-E and Monster’s Inc I think that the humans may have been killed by the radiation. Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you like my theory.

    • I think you’re confused about where everything fits in the timeline (which may be my fault for not explaining it well). The Incredibles takes place over 150 years before humans are sent away on the Axiom ships in the 22nd century. And we do know that the humans left and didn’t come back because Earth became too toxic, until WALL-E accidentally discovered plant-life, and the captain of Axiom realized that they could go back (and they did).

      The robots follow their “directives.” Which is why Auto (the autopilot robot of Axiom) was hostile against the captain’s efforts to return to Earth. And we see at the end of WALL-E that the radiation and toxicity doesn’t kill the humans initially. They thrive as they try to rebuild. So something else had to have happened to humans.

      Enter Monsters Inc., which explains the origin of monsters in a fun DVD short. I wrote this all in the upcoming Pixar Theory book, and it would take too long to explain here, but you can probably assume what I ‘m getting at.

    • Hey am I the only one who notice that the pizza planet delivery truck is by the trailer in the bugs life and in Randell trailer.

      • No! I just now realized it too, which is why I’m convinced that it is most definitely the same trailer. Every thing is the exact same, except older, which bothers me that people say that it isn’t the same, or that there is no way that they are connected.

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  3. I have a theory on how the next Pixar movie fits in tho the timeline. I was thinking that the monsters from monsters inc. could have slowly evolved(?) into dinosaurs (most of them are reptilian anyway). When they find out that humans arn’t poisonous they could have stared bringing them over as kids( thus the treating them like pets thing. Kids can’t do anything for themselves). That’s where the Good Dinosaur comes in with giant monstrous beings having human pets. I know this is a loose theory since the movie hasn’t come out yet but it was just a thought. There’s also the issue of Inside Out. How that will fit into the Pixar theory I have no idea.

        • I don’t think that’s accurate. Their names are totally different. Queen Narissa from Enchanted isn’t Mother Gothel from Tangled. Plus, she dies in Enchanted, so how could she come back (as a not-queen) in Tangled? Maybe if Gothel looked a bit more like Susan Sarandon, I’d consider this.

  4. Now what if boo was one of the last “Supers” to exist? It could explain why she has magical powers, and considered all the other supers fly or where super strong it was probably cause in their minds that what a super power was and/or they’re powers adapted to their way of living, Mr. Incredible probably workout a lot/wanted to be buff. Boo wanted to see Sully again through doors and being a “super lucky enough aloud that to happen.

  5. For The Good Dinosaur, I guess that our ancestors were lacking food, so they killed the dinosaurs off. Or, it takes place in a 100% identical Earth somewhere out in space.
    But, there could have been repeated universes, in which a forwards time machine (Boo, you’re going that far?) changed how they lived. And Inside Out? I guess it probably takes place around 2013 – 2017 modern times. The protagonist of IO could be Boo, but that’s probably all we can find for now.

    • It actually makes sense that the world of The Good Dinosaur exists in the Pixar universe because of the prevalence of companies like “Dinoco” (which is seen in many of the Pixar films).

      And yeah, I’m also anticipating Inside Out to be in a literal modern setting, but hey, who knows for sure yet?

  6. The only thing I’m skeptical about, is that in Monsters Inc., when they’re traveling from door to door “back in time” there’s no time period change. All the kids look the same, all their toys and clothing is similar (looks like 90s, early 2000s). I would feel more convinced if there was evidence that time travel is actually happening. Really neat ideas though. Loving the imagination, it was fun to read! I love how boo is looking for explanations and for Sulley. The apocalypse story is sad though, but makes sense when you put all the stories together. If all of this is accurate, Pixar is probably one of the most brilliant studios to ever exist. They’ve mapped out and planned this huge story of earth since the 90s! Amazing.

    • That’s a good point, Neenee. I get into this more in the book that’s coming out soon, because there actually is some evidence for this based on how the monsters do their shifts and where they take place.

      And yes, I agree with you fully about the brilliance of Pixar. It’s enough to just believe that they’re capable of doing something this well-thought out, even if it’s not true.

  7. First thing I want to say: I love this theory and keep coming back to it to read over and over again. I can’t get enough of it :-)

    Secondly, a question: What happens to the machines after Wall-e?

    Sure, they grow harmoniously with humanity and the animals, but then what? We only see the mutated animals in the world of the Monsters movies and as far as I can tell, not even a little bit of a hint towards where the machine races are now. We see an odd toy, or the cars and actual machines, but no AI or seemingly living ones.

    Thirdly, I really like the comment someone made earlier about The Good Dinosaur being set after the Monster movies in a situation where the monsters have grown larger and now are more at home with the humans who they keep as pets.

    • Great question! I think the machines are still around, but not as powerful. Remember they’re powered by humans and imagination, and thanks to the monsters, humans are gone. So by the time of Monster’s Inc, machines are still advanced enough to have huge factories of time-altering doors, but they’re not prevalent and there is an energy crisis.

      As for The Good Dinosaur, my hunch is that the film will take place in the past, which is what Pixar has outright said already. But it’s a cool thought, nonetheless.

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  9. If the machines helped in making the doors that allow time travel, this would suggest the machines are very much still around. But how come Mike’s car in Monsters Inc. is not alive if machines are still around and contributing to society? I know you said they require the imagination of humans, but surely there were no humans on earth during the Machines era.
    And is there any reason as to why such intelligent beings such as evolved monsters cannot supply this imagination?

    Love the theory by the way. And I hope we see more evidence supporting it in future pixar films.

    • And adding to that, I would like to bring up a possible flaw in the theory regarding Boo. If this theory is true, how can Older Boo be the reason that animals have Human thoughts, when her younger self has already met a super evolved animal such as Sulley who came about from the actions of her older self? Obviously time travel is always a tricky subject in films but that just doesn’t make any sense. Again, I hope the theory is true, as I’m sure it has made some childhood classics come alive again for many people.

      • I don’t really think Boo/The Witch is the reason for animals being intelligent. I think she just knows how to control the process as we see with Merida’s mother and Mor’du.

        • Well I think the idea that Boo being the witch is really well supported through the evidence you gave. Perhaps we see her exhibit some of these developing magical powers in Monsters Inc. when she confuses Sully in a game of hide and seek.

    • Great questions. Someone was actually asking the same thing yesterday in regards to how machines fit into Monsters Inc. It would take a while for me to explain fully what I think, but the short version is that machines as we knew them in Cars died out for a reason. They didn’t have humans around to power them. That means when WALL-E and Eve brought the humans and remaining machines back, technology faced a major “reset.” No more talking cars. And the origin of the monsters further complicates things.

      I explain this in the upcoming book, but just accept for now that the monsters are essentially mutants, not humans. The pure imagination of children is what really powers their society, but it’s not enough to sustain an advanced society like they had pre-WALL-E.

      I hope that makes sense, and I’m sure you want a stronger argument. Hopefully, the book will address these questions and then some.

  10. So real quick thought. I was just watching bugs life and one of the older ants mentioned “the twig of 93″ so the theory that a bugs life came after wall e is disproven.

    • That was a bit of a leap. Before you keep cruising to try to “kill” theories, take a second to think you’re argument through. He says “the twig of 93.” But he doesn’t say 1993. It could be 2993 for all we know.

      In fact, it makes more sense to assume that these ants aren’t like the ones we would see in “1993” or “1998” (when the movie came out). That would make these ants very old if they could remember an event 5 years prior. Most ants can only live to be about 3 months old. But ants in the future warped by mutation? That would explain their sudden life expectancy.

      It wouldn’t apply to all insects, of course. Flies still claim they only have “24 hours to live,” though I have an interesting explanation for that as well that I get into in the book for this theory. It takes a while to explain, but the gist is that there is a clear difference between some of the animals we see, including the “primal” bird.

      • I knew right when I posted that that you would say something about 93 not being specific. I love the idea of this theory bit I just wish there was more concrete things to point out.

        • I totally understand where you’re coming from. My advice is to not dwell too much on whether or not the theory is true or not true. I prefer to just let my imagination run wild with different ideas I pick up from watching and re-watching the movies. It’s just for fun, and it’s more fun when you choose to look at it that way.

  11. I JUST FOUND OUT A MAJOR EASTER EGG IN THE MOVIES “A BUGS LIFE” and “MONSTERS INC.” The takeaway box at Harryhausen’s is very similar to the box Manny uses in “A Bug’s Life” for his magic trick… (or maybe not)

  12. Maybe the new calendar that is present in the time of the monsters started from the day that Wall-E saved the humans – think about it. There are so many Biblical references and Wall-E is a robot Jesus Christ who’s birth was the start of our calendar.

    • Since they’re not really movies, I’ve never given them much thought in terms of this theory. I have, on the other hand, incorporated elements of the shorts into The Pixar Detective, but just for fun. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that characters in the shorts show up in the movies, as well. The most obvious culprit is Geri from “Geri’s Game,” who shows up in Toy Story 2.

    • You have it backwards. The tree existed in Up and Toy Story 2. But then it died when the world became toxic. Until a seed, maybe even from the same tree, sprouted into the new tree centuries later in WALL-E. That is the tree that would eventually grow into the one we see in A Bug’s Life.

    • Yes to the first one, no to the second. You’re referring to Flik and Heimlich showing up in the bloopers, I’m assuming? That doesn’t really count since it’s outside the story. As for the first one (and other references to A Bug’s Life we see in the movie), I have an explanation that’s a little bit out there that would take a while to explain. Keep an eye out for the Pixar Theory book, which will go into more detail (if you’re that interested).

  13. Are you saying that toys are machines? Because they’re not. Rex is entirely plastic

    And if love is the force that powers the toys why can sids toys move?

    And if observation is all that is needed, why dont other inanimate objects that are observed have personalities?

    If woid is not the only conductor of magic, why is the witch obsessed with wood?

    If time travel is possible in m inc, why do they only travel to one ti e?

    If the doors are the same but connect through time why do they look excactly the same?

    Only two bears were made in the brave timeline, and one never procreated as a bear. One may have.

    • Oh and how can the bears carry a trait that is not in their genes at time of birth on to their offspring? Please feel free to avoid questions if you’ve answered them above and I have missed them. Or if you dont feel like answering lol

      1. You don’t have to be “metal” to be a machine. A machine is any sum of parts that consumes energy. In this sense, the toys coming alive actually hints that they consume energy from the imagination of human children to survive. Even plastic toys like Rex.
      2. It’s not really “love,” per se. I’d say it’s more about imagination. Sid is a very creative fellow (though sadistic) in that he combines toys and uses tools to make hybrids. That actually informs why his toys are just as smart.

      3. I don’t think just “anything” comes alive. It’s products made by BnL, I believe, who are using toys as tools of consumerism to spread their influence and power. So something made my BnL could have the potential to “come alive,” essentially.

      4. Wood is probably one of the most effect conduits of magic. She also imbues magic into metal, though, which we see with her knives. Plus, she could be obsessed with wood because she observed the magic of doors when she was very young. It could be subconscious.

      5. The higher ups in the Monster world probably realize that time travel is incredibly dangerous because they could mess up the timeline. So they only travel to certain points within the same progression of time in order to prevent monsters from realizing that they could do serious damage with just a small mistake.

      6. It could be that the secret of time travel is finding the same door thousands of years later, perhaps in rubble of a future Earth. So if they found millions of doors that are still around in their time, they could use them to step through time.

      7. I don’t really think the Witch’s bear experiments (that we saw) were the only influencer in animals gaining more intelligence. I just think the Witch just used magic to show that the line is blurred. It could be that she performed experiments on some animals (not humans) to do this, and they would be the creatures that procreated.

      Great questions! Let me know if there’s anything else I can further explain. I did my best to not reveal too much about new information I’m adding to the Pixar Theory book, which will be coming out soon.

      • Really nice answers! I was a bit confused about the whole thing but it was something that you could explain without breaking your theory. So im gaining in admiration for it if not totally convinced either. But I do have a question? You said that bnl made the toys. So that must mean that mattel and the other companies that are in the real world, are part of bnl. And they must have power all over the world because buzz is from taiwan. Or maybe that is a smokescreen? I was also wondering, and this is waaaay out there. Buzz is mentioned as real in the commercial, but never as a fictional character.could there be a real buzz lightyear? This is absurd of course, but I was wondering because of the supers and their advanced technology in the 50s. Ish.

        • We do find out in WALL-E that BnL has its hands in everything, even world governments. So it makes sense that they would govern manufacturing for companies like Mattel and PlaySchool.

          Buzz has his own fiction TV show (and video game), so no, he’s not considered “real.” When Woody says, “You think you’re the real Buzz Lightyear?”, he’s not referring to a real person, just the fictional character you see in the commercials.

          Again, you don’t need things like circuitry to make you a machine. And we don’t actually know if there’s something inside Rex and other toys that makes “receive” power. Such as a microscopic chip or something.

          No, that would create a strange paradox. I’ve been unraveling the origin of monsters for the book, and the basic idea is that they originally come from a subset of humans who ate strange fruit that turned them into animal hybrids (based on animals that had also eaten the fruit). This is revealed in a special extra on Monsters Inc.

          • The thing is that i used the exact same paradox that you used in explaining boo in explaining the origin of the monsters. So why isn’t it valid here? And i don’t remember buzz having a show but it must have been in toy story two that we are told that he is on tv. I don’t see buzz as a real superhero, but i could make it fit in your theory.

            • Oh and i totally understand about having fun without needing to prove anything, but i also have a lot of fun with debunking. I don’t really want you to prove your theory to anyone, and i would love to rwad your book, because even though i don’t support your theory it is immersive, creative and very entertaining. I just saw a comment below, and i felt that i had to say it because i may have offended you also, and you have been nothing but nice!

        1. a machine is a word meaning an inanimate object using mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task. Rex here is alive and displays emotions, defying several rules of robotics.
          3 and 4. Why would she mix wood and metal, this is where theorists become lazy and more like religious people, the supposing without proof, that irritates me, later you could say that she also mixed all wood with everything everywhere and that explains the magic of pixar.
        2. If monsters are intelligent enough to understand the engineering of time manipulation, they can understand another way of getting energy other than risking time paradox, and if they know the humans’ past they should know how the humans managed cough cough wall-e cough cough.
        3. Another bloody unproven theory that just says bobblewank about logic, I can just say that Boo is a reincarnation of Christ for her disappearing act in the toilets and it would make as much sense as that.
          1. “A machine is a tool containing one or more parts that uses energy to perform an intended action.” That’s just one definition, and there are others depending on where you’re coming from. Yes, Rex defies natural laws, so do the other toys. You kind of have to suspend belief to watch these movies, after all. I’m not basing this theory on real world physics or even philosophy. I’m simply working with the story given by the creators of the movies.

          With the witch, I never said she mixed wood and metal. I was saying that she uses magic on multiple elements, of which include wood and metal. But what we see for the most part is “wood” being her preference. Hence the earlier question, “Why is she obsessed with wood?”

          You really think I’m a lazy theorists? I’ve spent an incredible amount of time putting this theory together just for the fun of it. I think you’re being the lazy one by making these odd presuppositions based on cherry picked comments I’ve made in response to the questions of others.

          1. If humans are the only source of energy, then time travel is their only option. There’s no humans anymore, clearly. And they’ve clearly orchestrated a system that allows them to subtly siphon energy without anyone realizing what they’re doing. And we don’t actually know if monsters know what exactly happened during the events of WALL-E, and it could be that this energy-siphoning is their current strategy until they discover a way to get energy elsewhere. It’s the same reason we still use fossil fuels even though we know it will run out some day.
          2. The point of this theory is completely lost on you. It’s not meant to be “proven.” It’s not designed to be “truth.” It’s about having some imagination and coming up with fun ways to see an optional story behind the stories we already love. If that’s not your thing, then relax and get over it while the rest of us have some fun with this.

          I will say though, I applaud you for successfully finding a way to use the word “bobblewank” in a conversation.

  14. The biggest whole to your theory is that Woody, the size of the ants is slamming the directors clap board, or that Heimlich fully realizes what his role is in Toy Story 2 is. The theories you have, are just fun Easter Eggs for the flick and aren’t meant to mean anything else.

    • Oh, and are we to believe that Ornament Valley in Cars always existed when the humans occupied the Earth? Ornament Valley stood there for Cars and have, what it seems, Always existed there

    • I think this may be the same person I’ve responded to, but in case it isn’t: you can’t count bloopers and “extras” as a part of the story of the movie.

  15. Pingback: Film Food: ‘Brave’ Cakes | Forages and Finds

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