The Pixar Theory: How ‘Inside Out’ Fits In The Pixar Universe

inside out disappointing

Take her to the moon for me. Okay? 

The Pixar Theory, or “Grand Unifying Theory of Pixar movies” if you want to be more intense, is a fan theory I wrote in 2013 about how every single feature film made by Pixar Animation Studios is intentionally set in the same universe. Or unintentionally, if you believe in miracles.

pixar theory inside out
Dan O’Brien

I was inspired by an episode of the Web Series, “After Hours,” on Cracked.com. In the episode written by Dan O’Brien, the After Hours crew discusses, at length, how a few of the Pixar movies may secretly be about the apocalypse. They address Toy StoryWALL-E, and Cars before giving up because they can’t find a way to connect the films any further.

So I took that as a challenge.

Over the following year, I developed my own theory on how all the movies connect, and the results have been surprisingly epic. People from all over the world have read the theory, and many of you have been having ongoing discussions in the comments that go way beyond anything I first imagined (trust me, I read all of them).

Now, two years later, it’s time to see where we’re at as we welcome a new Pixar movie to the world: Inside Out.

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First, it’s important to point out that the theory itself has changed dramatically over the years. A lot of people have called out flaws and underdeveloped points of the theory that make it fall apart for them. I’ve read the feedback and spent the last two years writing a book that fully fleshes out my original theory. It addresses pretty much every major complaint and issue that “debunkers” have thrown at it. And it does this in about ten chapters.

Every chapter follows a specific movie (some are lumped in together, like the Cars franchise). I talk about the context of the movie as it relates to this theory, where it fits in the grand timeline, and how each movie contributes to the idea that these movies exist in the same narrative. And yes, I go way beyond the easter eggs.

My book is available now on paperback and all e-book stores. Hope you guys like it!

pixar theory book

But let’s get back to the main task at hand. Let’s talk about how Inside Out masterfully fits within the idea that all of these Pixar films are connected. What you’re about to read is set up like how I wrote the chapters for my book, so if you like what you read, then that may be a sign that the book is for you. Consider this your sample chapter, if you will.

Obviously, many spoilers are ahead, so read at your own risk. I highly recommend that you watch the movie at least once before reading this, especially since it’s pretty fantastic. You’ve been warned.

THE SET UP.

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Inside Out is the story of a young girl struggling to grow up, seen through the eyes of her emotions as literal beings. Yes, Pixar made a movie where feelings have feelings.

The movie opens with the birth of Riley Andersen. The first thing you may notice is that she shares the same last name as Bonnie Anderson from Toy Story 3 and the subsequent shorts based on that movie. That may tempt you into believing that Riley and Bonnie are connected somehow, but that’s definitely not the case since their names aren’t spelled the same way.

For context, Pixar named Bonnie after two people: Bonnie Hunt (a frequent voice actor for the Pixar films) and Darla K. Anderson, the producer of Toy Story 3. Darla actually has easter eggs for her name dating all the way back to A Bug’s Life, where you can catch her first name on a box in “Bug City.”

Anyway, we learn early on that Riley grew up in Minnesota, but her family moves to San Francisco when she’s 11 years old. Now it’s true that Bonnie lives in Tri County, around the corner from Andy, and Tri-County does take place in the Bay Area of California. But that’s really just a coincidence. Riley’s family never mentions that they have relatives around, and they only moved to San Francisco for her dad’s job. For that reason, all signs point to this being a coincidence.

WHEN DOES THE MOVIE TAKE PLACE?

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Moving on, we get to know Riley through a montage of her early life. When we get to the point where she’s 11, it appears to be modern day. Much of the technology we see throughout the movie — like a Skype surrogate that closely resembles the one used by Trixie in Toy Story 3 and the presence of smartphones — point to this being a film set in 2015.

That means Riley was born in either 2003 or 2004, depending on her exact birthday. Interestingly, that would mean the movie opens during the same year as Finding Nemo. 

We also know that this has to be some time after 2007, which is when Ratatouille takes place. In fact, Inside Out actually confirms that Ratatouille takes place in 2007 instead of 2004, which is a conundrum I ran into while writing the book. It’s all based on the blurry date seen on Gusteau’s will and…eh, don’t worry, it’s not important.

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Anyway, the reason we know that this is some time after Ratatouille is because you can see Colette Tatou on the cover of a magazine in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it easter egg. Judging by the prestige of this magazine, Colette has done well for herself during her years learning from Remy and working at La Ratatouille, the bistro she started with him and Linguini.

After all, why would she be on the cover a magazine before her adventures in Ratatouille? Before she met Linguini, she was just a hardworking chef trying to build a career at a failing restaurant. I find it much more plausible that she’s created a name for herself under the tutelage of the best chef in France.

(DONALD GLOVER VOICE) MY EMOTIONS!

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So as we get to know Riley in the film’s early montage, we meet her emotions. The film immediately takes us inside her head, where we watch Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger team up to influence Riley’s actions. They work in “Headquarters” (get it?) and use a mysterious console to control Riley’s decisions.

When an emotion manages to elicit a meaningful experience in real life, a memory is generated and sent to Riley’s long term memory. If it’s a specifically powerful experience, then it will create a core memory that will stay in Headquarters.

It’s somewhat confusing, but Pixar does a great job of explaining this better than I can. They use subtle techniques and cleverness to make the inside of Riley’s head immediately unique, while also incredibly believable.

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For example, the memories are shaped like “marbles” because without them, Riley would lose her marbles.

This is a fun movie.

The plot of Inside Out focuses on Riley being uprooted to a new home in San Fransisco and how this negatively affects her emotions. She misses her friends, never sees her dad anymore because of his new job, and feels pressured to just “be happy” all the time. This causes her to repress her sadness, which eventually causes even more problems.

CONNECTIONS AND MISFIRES…

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There’s another fun cameo during this part of the movie. We see a rat that looks a lot like Remy, which is just a fun reminder that Pixar animation transcends the multiple stories they tell. And we also see memories that feature other Pixar characters. You can see Carl and Ellie’s wedding from Up for example.

A good reason for that could be that Riley saw a tape of this wedding at some point, though that would have to be a very old home movie. It could be a picture, since we see a camera in the first frame of that scene in Up. In that case, Riley could have seen that picture and imagined the wedding herself. This has led a lot of people to think that Riley could somehow be related to Carl and Ellie, which would be quite a stretch.

That’s because Carl and Ellie sadly never had kids, so Riley would have to be a distant relative. If she knows about the wedding, then she’s probably met some of this family, but we know in those early scenes of Inside Out that Riley is visiting California for the first time. She thought the Golden Gate bridge was actually golden, after all.

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You could argue that people from this family went to Minnesota to visit her, but I’m not really convinced. Personally, I don’t think we’re able to know just yet, though one theory I have is that she had a teacher or friend’s parent who is somehow connected to Carl and Ellie. A future Pixar movie may shed light on this.

Some people even want to believe that Riley is Boo from Monsters Inc.,or Andy’s mom. Seriously. Look, Riley is Riley. She’s not anyone else, and trying to force these connections is missing the point. For example, the primary reason people think Riley is Boo is because when she’s shown as a toddler, she’s wearing the same hair tie/scrunchy thing that Boo wears in Monsters Inc. 

riley boo

They both even have pig tails. If you’re fixated on them being one in the same, then you miss the cooler reveal, which is that Riley was growing up around the same time as Boo (Monsters Inc., takes place in the early 2000s), so of course that style and those hair ties were popular.

As for Riley being Andy’s mom…I mean that’s way too much of a stretch, even for a limo.

riley andy's mom
Besides the eyes, nose, time period, and basic facial structure, they’re exactly alike! Sigh.

HUMANS ARE BATTERIES…

A main theme of the Pixar Theory is the idea that humans emit this strange energy that we see all throughout the films. In Monsters Inc., we learn that the laughter of a child can be harvested as energy for a society of creatures that mysteriously know how to use it. In The Incredibles, this energy is seen tangibly through the exploits of super-powered humans who can do amazing things.

Part of my Pixar Theory (the updated version) is that humans power the toys in Toy Story because they’re built to collect energy by the machines from The Incredibles. The book goes more into detail, but the basic idea is that the machines know how to use human energy as a battery, which carries on as a strategy all the way to the future, when monsters have to go back in time through doors to access this energy because no humans are left thanks to WALL-E. 

But all this time, I’ve wondered why Pixar seems so infatuated with this idea of imagination being a raw power. And Inside Out addresses this pretty head on. The whole premise of the movie is that our emotions (as seen in Monsters Inc.,) are what truly power our actions. And the most powerful emotion for a child is Joy, as seen by Joy being the de facto leader of Riley’s emotions. Most of Riley’s memories are positive, and this is because Joy is inherently a strong emotion for many children.

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The monsters of Monsters Inc, use fear, which can be another strong emotion for some kids, to power their society, but they eventually learn that laughter from joy is far more effective. And why is that? Well, Inside Out explains that joy is one of the first emotions we experience. Joy, the character, is a literal light source. She’s fast, tough, and clever. And she’ll do anything to make Riley happy. The other emotions in comparison are much more passive.

A lingering question in Monsters Inc., is why adults are so difficult to scare. Inside Out sort of answers that by showing how the inside of adults’ minds work. They’re more emotionally balanced, for example, so you don’t see one emotion overpowering the others. When we see inside the heads of Riley’s parents, the emotions don’t bicker like they do in Riley’s head. Instead, they all work together to accomplish the same goal.

But that’s not all. No, no, no. There’s something even better hiding in the dark of this movie that serves as the biggest “Aha!” moment I’ve had since I carefully re-watched Brave and Monsters Inc., back to back.

And it has to do with this guy, Bing Bong.

BING BONG! BING BONG!

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Bing Bong is Riley’s imaginary friend. Joy and Sadness meet him halfway through the movie, and he helps them navigate Riley’s mind as they try to return to Headquarters. When Riley was three, Bing Bong was her best friend. He’s part cat, part elephant, and part dolphin. He’s made of cotton candy and, naturally, cries candy. He even has a wagon that can fly when powered by songs…

(humans=batteries).

So what’s the big deal? Why is he important?

Simple. Bing Bong is an imaginary friend, yes. But he’s based on a monster. Riley’s monster from when she was three.

At the end of Monsters Inc., Sulley and Mike decide to make kids laugh instead of scream because it generates more energy and is less messed up. We even see Mike go through a door and perform standup comedy for a child.

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But wouldn’t this leave a kid feeling traumatized? Imagine a monster coming through your door, making you laugh, and then disappearing forever. This would make no sense unless…children perceive these new monsters as their imaginary friends.

Bing Bong was a monster who went through Riley’s door and made her laugh when she was three. We know that monsters have animal characteristics, explaining his part-cat/part-elephant appearance. And of course Riley thinks he’s made of cotton candy. Why else would he be pink? I’d even argue that he makes dolphin noises to make Riley laugh, causing her to think he’s part dolphin, too.

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This all makes perfect sense if we’re to believe that well-adjusted kids in Pixar movies grew up meeting monsters in their rooms late at night. And it’s further helped by the fact that in Riley’s subconscious, she’s afraid of clowns, not monsters.

And think of it this way. Isn’t it pretty easy to picture Bing Bong living in Monstropolis?

I have plenty more to say about all of this, but those are the major points. If you want to keep digging, you can read another exploration I did of this movie that goes somewhat more into detail. The gist of it is that Bing Bong is life.

There are more easter eggs for the movie listed at the bottom, but that’s the basic rundown of how Inside Out fits into the Pixar Theory. If you think of something interesting to add or have a compelling question to ask, fire away! Just please…don’t ask if Big Hero 6, a Disney movie, should be in the Pixar Theory…

Ready for more?

The conspiring doesn’t end here. Check out my other Pixar Theory posts from infinity to beyond:

  • The Pixar Theory – the full book available on paperback and ebook via Kindle, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, or just a PDF. This will cover the entire theory and every movie in the Pixar universe, updated from what you just read.

EASTER EGG ISLAND!

  • There’s a globe in Riley’s classroom that has been shown in every single Toy Story film.
  • Some of the cars in San Francisco have bumper stickers from the Pixar movie, Cars.
  • Bing Bong disturbs a cloud person in Imaginationland, and he looks a lot like the cloud from the Pixar short, “Partly Cloudy.”

  • Also in Imaginationland, you can see a board game with a picture of Nemo that says “Find Me.”
  • One of Riley’s classmates wears a camo shirt with Toy Story characters on it. Well, their silhouettes, at least. It even looks like Arlo from The Good Dinosaur is on there as well. There’s even a popular girl at the school with a skull t-shirt in the same fashion as Sid’s from Toy Story, just in a different color. The 90s are making a comeback!

  • A banner in Riley’s hockey rink showcases a team from Tri-County, which is the setting for Toy Story. I explain this easter egg further in a different article.
  • Blink and you’ll miss a “For the Birds” cameo during Riley’s road trip to San Francisco in the beginning of the movie. It’s just like their appearance in Cars.
  • As always, the animators included ample A113 references. I’ve heard there’s more than one, but the only one I saw personally was A113 as the number of Riley’s classroom.
  • If you look closely at Riley’s Chinese takeout box, you’ll notice it has the same design as the one from A Bug’s Life (pictured below). Those familiar with the theory know that this could be because the same restaurant exists in both movies, so naturally there’d still be remnants of these takeout boxes hundreds of years later during Flik and the gang’s adventures.

inside out pixar theory


Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

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305 Replies to “The Pixar Theory: How ‘Inside Out’ Fits In The Pixar Universe”

  1. I’ve seen inside out enough times to recognize that Joy understands Bing Bong’s desperation to see Riley. The emotions of Riley could be in on this whole Monsters thing (Monsters Inc and University part of the theory.)

  2. I do have my own theory though that Boo could be Bonnie’s mom, but that would contradict with some of your theories (Like from your first Pixar theory article)

  3. Thank you love the theory

    • Hello there I have some few theories on how Inside Out, Monster’s Inc, and the old lady from Brave is connected as well as other theories and discoveries.

      The reason why humans are toxic is that if you touch or cause a change in the human world, it can potentially lead to a different future.. A change in the future that Monster’s currently live in.

      Memories are always reconstructive unless they are stored as marbles. In psychology, memories are rarely remembered unless they have strong emotions that tie into it (mostly joy or sadness). These are called flashbulb memories or Core memories in inside out. Most memories are stored in long-term and long term memory space is almost unlimited, It’s just a matter of accessing them. They can be more easily accessed through reinforcement (by constantly pulling out and remembering the event) when a long term memory is not reinforced, the memory will die out and, as seen in Inside Out, it becomes emotionless and gets thrown out. There was a theory that Riley has a monster as a child, like Boo. I think she had two of them: one that scared her, and another that made her happy. The memory from Riley’s “scary”monster is connected with fear so without reinforcement she eventually forgets it. There can also be a possibility that she only had a “happy” monster, but she was growing up generally the same time as Boo (due to similarities in toddler fashion) so she must have experienced both. The memories of her “happy” monster may have potentially eradicated the memories of her “scary monster since Joy is a stronger force than Fear. Through reinforcement, she was able to remember part of her “happy” monster by the creation of Bing Bong once the monster stops coming out her closet. The memories with both happy and scary monsters might still be trapped in the long term somewhere, or they might have already been thrown out to the pit. Although, the “happy” monster lives on as a part of Bing Bong, which we know is still somewhere in her long term memory. A theory suggests that her monster could’ve been George Sanderson, which resembles Bing Bong the most (having the same feet). Also their names are kind of similar Andersen; Sanderson. Lol that probably was nothing.. But still

      Maybe the reason why the different islands on the brain is so close to the pit (and easily crumble and crash to nothingness) is that eventually as humans grow up, we tend to lose our island of personalities. Think about it, has your dad become a goofball lately? How many lies have you told this week? (loosing honesty island) Very few grown ups actually retain their purity. Is Pixar trying to tell us something?

      Maybe the reason why Monster’s can’t stay long on the other side is because they will form emotional bonds with the humans. If this happens, then the humans will have an urge to travel in the Monster’s world (and vice versa) and that potentially will cause a paradox in the timeline. Also seeing how humans are, they might even use this time-traveling technology (if they figure it out) to their own selfish advantage. While Monsters use it purely for energy extracting purposes so they can survive.

      It is unclear if Boo remembers her history with the monsters, because as seen from Riley, she vaguely remembers HER monster. But the difference is that Boo’s monster, Sully, is also emotionally tied to Boo. This might be why the old woman from brave has the ability to use magic.. Because she might have learned something from having that connection. Or it might even be THE emotional connection with the monster that gives her the ability to do magic!

  4. Adding on to the ‘A113 easter egg, I have had to watch Inside Out a lot. I have seen the number on the classroom, but I’ve also seen it on the wall behind Riley as she attemps to run away. Thanks for the theory. It gave me lots of thoughts.

  5. I think bin bon was based on real people Bim Bom clowns duet, as wikipedia states “Bim Bom (or Bim and Bom[1]) was a Moscow circus clown duo consisting of Ivan Radunsky (as Bim) and various “Boms”, active intermittently from 1891 up until at least the World War II”
    “In Andrew and Gordievsky’s history of the KGB in 1990,[4] Bim Bom is identified as an individual (not a pair), who had been shot at by Cheka operatives during a performance in Moscow in 1918.”
    So when Bim Bom dies it is an allegory of being killed in Moscow communist holocaust, thus lots of “shadows” in the scene which were allegory of victims of Moscow purges.

    • Dark.
      It’s actually Bing-Bong.

    • Did you have to say that, Poirot? Cant we enjoy our not-so-insane theory without conspiresy theories and allegories? You probably ruined the movie for a lot of people. Im not trying to be mean, i swear, but stuff like that really shouldnt be on here.

  6. @JonNegroni: Fin and Dandy, but how do you explain this?

    Also, have you considered that all Pixar movies might take place in Riley’s head? As her dreams? It would explain the easter egg about Carl’s Wedding from Up.

    • I’m only going to say this once.
      NO.

  7. Zootopia
    Please

    • Zootopia is Disney, not Pixar.
      Seriously, people. Lamp=Pixar

      • (Hand gestures towards Mango) Thank you!

        • Add on:
          Lamp=Pixar
          Castle=Disney
          Boy on the moon=DreamWorks

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  9. I’ve kinda noticed that Riley’s mom looks an awful lot like Margo Gru from Despicable Me, but they’re from different studios.

  10. @JonNegroni Merida and other characters from Brave are on ABC’s Once Upon a Time do they fit in your theory. because if so Frozen, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland, Lost, and Star Wars (Live Action Movies) are part of the universe.

    • Yeah but brave is pixar

  11. I stumbled upon this theory when searching for how many shared cinematic universe out there like MCU and DCEU. I just think that Pixar has the Ultimate Pixar Cinematic Grand Universe.

  12. I know there’s not much evidence of this but I heard this theory that Riley’s adopted which makes sense from some her earlier memories. So what if Riley’s biological mother is Emily (Andy’s mom) and part of Emily’s journey from childhood to adulthood was having to give Riley up. It also would add extra context in the scene from Toy Story 3 where Andy’s mom starts crying because he’s leaving. She could have already lost one child and now her second one is leaving her. I know this is crazy but I think it makes more sense than Riley is Emily etc.

  13. I can’t see anything significant about the hair ties and style on Boo and Riley since both have been popular since I wore that style and those kind of hair ties and I was born in the early 1970s.

    • Yeah also Riley can’t be the same person as boo because boo loves sully who is like a bear and Riley had a bear in her nightmare

  14. Michaela that is a good point but the time period is a big difference because Inside Out takes place in 2015 and Toy Story is on a date before Riley was born ,so that means that Riley was probably born between Toy Story and Two Story 2.

  15. Actually, I believe that Riley’s monster isn’t Bing-Bong, but one of the well-known monsters from Monster’s, Inc. Jon Carlin has a full video on this theory, which I highly recommend watching, but I’ll give you the basic rundown, along with a few of my own explanations, here.
    To begin, the director of both Monster’s, Inc and Inside Out, Pete Docter, has confirmed that Riley “probably did have a monster when she was younger,” although he’d never really thought about who.
    Also, by the end of Monster’s Inc, the monsters are using laugh for energy, not scares, and if you go by the years of the movie releases (which don’t fit in directly to the theory, but can easily be explained by the theory that the monsters use time travel to collect the screams/laughs), that is in 2001. Riley would have been born around 2003, 2004 according to both the year of release and the technology mentioned in this update of the Pixar Theory, which means they would’ve been using laughs at this point. Also, don’t use the time travel thing against me here. It is very possible that the monsters had been traveling back to 2001 at this point. The Pixar Theory does state that the monsters were traveling back to the peak of human civilization, and let’s be honest, the peak is definitely not now. I’m looking at you, Trump supporters…
    Another thing worth mentioning is that, when we see Riley’s fears, monsters are nowhere to be seen. You’d think that it would be pretty traumatizing for a monster to burst out of your closet at night and it would probably stick with you for a while. And yet, no monsters. This is most likely because the monsters never scared her and instead made her laugh.
    Also, even if Riley was technically too young to remember the monsters scaring her or her brain simply blocked those memories out (the brain tends to attempt this if you experience something traumatic as a very young child), she would almost definitely have an aversion to anything monster-like (I could go way into the psychological details about this, but in a nutshell, everyone has an emotional memory. This is often the cause of irrational fears we can’t explain. For example, I have a friend who has always been scared of birds but never knew why. He was informed years later that he was attacked by a bird as a very young child. His brain recognized birds as a threat even though he had no recollection of the event). She would probably especially be afraid of monsters that appear to be hybrids of animals, as most of the monsters in Monster’s, Inc appear to be various animal combinations. And who do we know from Inside Out that is monster-like and is a combination of animals?
    Bing-Bong.
    If her monster scared her, she would NEVER have someone like Bing-Bong as an imaginary FRIEND. Maybe an imaginary enemy/fear (I had one of those. It was the Goddamn THX robot. Asshole gave me nightmares…), but never a friend. So she obviously couldn’t have been scared by the monsters.
    And why isn’t Bing-Bong her actual monster? I think he was just partially inspired by her monster (again, this is not originally my theory. I heard about it from Jon Carlin. I am just relaying his basic information along with some of my own thoughts interjected in. I encourage you to watch his video, which I will link if I don’t forget to).
    According to Bing-Bong, when Riley was three (likely when her monster first began to appear), “animals were all the rage.” This implies that Riley was able to recognize many different animals. This is further proven when Bing-Bong describes himself as “elephant, cat, cotton candy, and dolphin.” You’ll probably notice that there is no monster in this mix. Why not? A monster isn’t an animal Riley would be able to recognize as an animal, especially not one that would be intentionally taught to her, like most real animal are. Another thing you might notice is that these animals account for all of his distinctive body parts…except his legs.
    And again, the Disney-Pixar Facebook page posted a picture of Bing-Bong talking about all his body parts, mentioning everything…except for his legs! Obviously, Riley wouldn’t be able to identify an animal for her monster because monsters aren’t animals, so naturally, neither would Bing-Bong. Chances are though, if she did have a monster, which she almost definitely did, it probably made an emotional impact on her, even of she doesn’t explicitly remember it (again, emotional memory), so chances are, Bing-Bong was subconsciously influenced by Riley’s monster. Specifically his legs.
    And what monster do we know and love with furry, orange and yellow striped legs?

    George Sanderson.

    If you don’t remember which one George is, he’s the furry, orange and yellow striped Monster that comes out of a kid’s room with a sock stuck to his back, shuts the entire company down, and has to get shaved and sanitized.

    If you want to watch Jon’s video (highly recommended. It’s a great video and Jon is very entertaining to watch. He also put most of the time and effort into this theory, I’ve mostly just expanded on some of the reasons why Riley’s monster would have made her laugh instead of scream and a look into how even if Riley was too young to remember her monster, it could still have an impact on her.), here is a link:

    • Super Carlin brother J states on this and other videos that these are not his ideas but come from Jon Negroni and his Pixar Theory and book

  16. Do you think it’s possible that Riley’s dad could be Andy’s dad since Toy story never showed anything about Andy’s dad. Riley’s dad could of been with Andy’s mom buy had affair with Riley’s mom and stayed with her.

  17. While I agree that its a stretch for people to think Riley is Boo, another reason people might make that connection is because they used the same voice actress. All of the scenes of Riley as a toddler are just recycled audio clips of Mary Gibbs from Monsters Inc.

  18. Has anyone ever noticed that in Inside Out, when Riley and her family are driving they pass by that curvy street that goes up on a hill? That looks EXACTLY like the street where Mrs. Steinmetz lives in Herbie rides again.

    • It actually looks very similar to Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa.

  19. There is this question I always wanted to ask you, about the humans and the emotions. It’s something I noticed when watching Inside Out. Do the emotions not have a 100% control of anyone? I ask this because at the end of the film Riley becomes emotionless for a brief time. Not only that, she seems to imagine stuff on her own without the emotions command. That’s all I’m asking.

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  21. Hi! I’m the middle of reading, at the part talking about a memory Riley has of the Fredrickson’s wedding and I know you said they are not likely to be related buuuuut… I immediately thought of the postcard in Andy’s room that has their names and address on it and as you said, they would have been living in the same Area in San Francisco so there HAS to be some connection between them even though this is clearly Riley’s at least- ohh but maybe not the parents (sorry thinking and typing) first time in San Francisco. And now I’m kinda flying out on a limb but maybe one of Riley’s and one of Andy’s parents are related and also somehow related to the Fredrickson’s (since I’m pretty sure it is only implied that they are only children) or maybe even Russell, and Andy would be too old and bonnie too young for Riley to be very interested in meeting them(since she never has, but maybe her parents might’ve? ) so it wouldn’t be mentioned when they moved… I know, awful run on sentence but hopefully it made a little sense!

  22. What if instead of humans breeding with animals to create these monsters, they were trying to replicate the imaginary friends they had as kids. They would end up being monsters from the future, right?

  23. In inside out the emotions aren’t always behaving like the emotions they are. Multiple instinces show joy expressing different emotions like sadness(when she cries). How is this explained, do the emotions have their own emotions. is there a neverending chain of emotions being emotions for other emotions

  24. I love the theory and I BELIEVE!
    One thing that I can’t figure out though is why WALL-E utilizes solar energy. If the machines can utilize solar energy, why do they need humans?

    • Well, either a) WALL-E figured out how to get solar energy on his own, or b) the machines/humans thought it was outdated, and stopped/ forgot how to use it.

    • It’s not power we give machines, but life. The other robots die out, or lose personality. WALL.E survives because of his Infatuation with human artifacts.

  25. It’s clear to us that Joy is Riley’s main emotion, but I don’t think it’s fair to assume all humans have that lead emotion. Every head we see into in Inside Out is led by a different emotion. Riley’s mom is led by Sadness, as she calls the shots & is at the head of the console. Dad’s controlled by Anger, the bus driver as well (5x so). & this may be something that changes with age, maybe other emotions take over. Except, we see the Emo girl at school is controlled by Fear.

    I would go even further: not only do people have different lead emotions other than Joy, but I think Joy is uncommon. Riley’s mom calls Riley her “happy girl,” in a way that almost implies that it’s refreshing. The only other kids Riley’s age we see in the movie are the Emo girl who we know is led by Fear, & the boy Riley runs into at the hockey game, whose mind appears in total disarray, even in the short. Riley’s mind looks noticeably more well-organized, and more well-lit than any other kid’s. This could be a sign that she’s more mature, or, as I think, it just solidifies the theory that her brain is unique & different to any other brain we see throughout the film.

    But I do think there is a common lead emotion.

    Fear. Riley’s circumstances are ideal for a child, an only child with two loving parents & solid friends. The worst thing to happen to her is a move. Riley moves to San Francisco, a big city, & on her run away almost off the bat we see her pass graffiti (A113!). If this movie takes place in 2015, we know that there are definitely broken families (Toy Story with Andy and Sid), distrust of government (The Incredibles), & a general feeling of fear is spreading through the world. There’s consistently an energy crisis even back in the 60’s, with Syndrome’s 0-point energy. If Finding Dory takes place before or around this time, we know that there’s already concerns over pollution, by the WALL.E calendar, & when Joy is absent, who takes over watching Riley’s dreaming & sleep state? Fear.

    If humans are the battery for the Pixar Universe, & Monsters are harnessing their power, it makes sense that they would scare kids if Fear is their most powerful emotion. In Monsters Inc., we see that they are in the middle of an energy crisis. In the time it took for Monsters to evolve, they couldn’t have possibly grown or operated on an energy system constantly endangered by collapse! This solidifies that Fear worked. It worked for a long time. However, Riley represents a new trend in emotion. Joy is prominent in her. The whole Monster world changes after they find out that Joy is more powerful than Fear. How could the entire spirit of the world be affected so Joy becomes human’s primary emotion?

    Cue BNL. Pampering humans so all we seek is comfort & entertainment, getting us off the Earth we ruined so we stay happy, setting the stage for WALL.E.

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