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The Pixar Detective, Chapter 2: Alec

Hey everyone! Welcome to The Pixar Detective, a serial novel I put together based on the Pixar Theory. The following is a fictional story that explains the theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe, using original characters and artwork. The story answers a lot of questions you may have about this theory, but through its own ongoing narrative.

The story originally launched in April, and we’ve recently completed Part 1!

It’s available as an iBook on iTunes, which you can check out here. If you can’t use iBooks, you can also download the PDF version. 

Once you’re finished, check back to our Table of Contents, where we’ll be continuing the story through Part 2. A new chapter is released every two weeks on Tuesdays. And please be sure to leave your feedback in the comments for us to read through. Enjoy!

tree

Previously on The Pixar Detective: We met Stevin Parker and Wallaby Jones, two 15-year-old boys whose worlds get turned upside-down when their mutual friend, Mary, vanishes.

Only it’s not just Mary who has vanished. Her entire house has been replaced with a massive chasm, and all that remains is a bizarre tree holding up Mary’s room. In the middle of the night, it’s up to Stevin and Wallaby to climb up the tree and search for clues as to what has happened to Mary and why.

Use the prompt on the sidebar to subscribe or just follow me and Kayla on Twitter to stay connected – @JonNegroni – @KaylaTheSavage

Thanks for reading!

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The Pixar Detective: Chapter 1

Hey everyone! Welcome to The Pixar Detective, a serial novel I put together based on the Pixar Theory. The following is a fictional story that explains the theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe, using original characters and artwork. The story answers a lot of questions you may have about this theory, but through its own ongoing narrative.

The story originally launched in April, and we’ve recently completed Part 1!

It is available as an iBook on iTunes, which you can check out here. If you can’t use iBooks, you can also download the PDF version. 

Once you’re finished, check back to our Table of Contents, where we’ll be continuing the story through Part 2. A new chapter is released every two weeks on Tuesdays. And please be sure to leave your feedback in the comments for us to read through. Enjoy!

chapter 1

Chapter 1: The Great Detective

Written by Jon Negroni. Illustrations by Kayla Savage. 

     The most brilliant detectives in the world are not the individuals with the biggest brains or even the most advanced gadgets and gizmos, although having a magnifying glass with an electronic interface is always useful for finding your way around a particularly messy crime scene.  The best detectives aren’t necessarily organized, tidy, punctual, or easy to get along with. Even the most successful detectives tend to find themselves relying on more than just being familiar, easygoing crime-fighters. No, the world’s greatest detectives are the most imaginative risk-takers that have ever decided to look through a magnifying glass, and we know this for certain because a great detective doesn’t decide to live a life of solving mysteries.  The greatest detectives have the truly important mysteries thrust upon them, and they probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ready for more? Click here to access the Table of Contents, or check out the e-book.


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

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

‘Wreck-It Ralph’ May Be Getting a Sequel

It wasn’t the biggest hit Disney has ever made, but Wreck-It Ralph was still a very important film for a variety of reasons, starting with its ambitious incorporation of video gaming’s pantheon of characters and ending with its implementation of a new set of characters that we ultimately fell in love with.

The movie sold me on the idea of seeing classic video game icons and tropes together onscreen, but a sequel sells me on the promise that I’ll get to once again experience the adventures of Ralph, Vanellope and the rest of the arcade gang.

Well according to film composer Henry Jackman, a sequel is already in the works, though that doesn’t mean it’s official quite yet.

This means that the script is in preproduction, and the future of a potential sequel will be determined by how much faith Disney has in this franchise that took us all by surprise just a couple of years ago.

Wreck-It Ralph was a hit with both audiences and critics, and it managed to overshadow Pixar’s Brave, which was released that same year (though Rango won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature that year).

Financially, however, the film wasn’t as big of a success as Disney probably hoped it would be. It wasn’t a flop, as it did manage to turn a profit, but that means a sequel will be under even more scrutiny, especially because we now live in a world where a movie like Frozen is capable of breaking all-time box office records.

And yet I’m still excited about the possibility of making another trip into the rich world of video games and what makes them so much fun. One of the first movie’s biggest flaws, of course, was that it spent the majority of its time exploring “Sugar Rush,” which was endemic of the film’s budget constraints more than anything.

wreck-it ralph sequel
AKA “Diabetesville”

This time around, it would be great for us to visit more locations with new blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos that made the first film so much fun. The best part is that we’ve gotten to know Ralph at this point, making a sequel a prime opportunity for giving him more to do and new faces to meet.

Unfortunately, speculation is all we can do right now until official news is released one way or the other. Are you excited about the potential Wreck-It Ralph sequel, or do believe it will be game over for this franchise?

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.

Coming Soon: The Pixar Detective

9 months ago, I came out with what I like to call The Pixar Theory, a narrative that connects every Pixar movie starting with Brave. Of course, there are plenty of other names for this theory (Grand Unification Theory of Pixar is one of the longest), but the point remains the same: these movies appear to tell a story beneath the surface of what we saw in theaters.

So as a labor of love, I teamed up with Kayla Savage, an up-and-coming visual development artist, to create The Pixar Detective.

Pixar Detective

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve even changed the tagline of this site to “Pixar Detective,” and that has a lot to do with what we’re creating for you guys. The Pixar Detective is a fan-made series we are both writing and visualizing for any of you who want your Pixar-related questions answered.

It tells the story behind the story. What happened to Boo from Monster’s Inc? How did she learn magic? Where do the supers from The Incredibles get their powers? What exactly happened between the events of Up and Wall-e, and where the heck did those cars go?

All of these questions and tons more will be answered in a story told through the eyes of new characters we’re introducing to our own fan-made narrative (see artwork above). In fact, we went out of our way to include a lot of the ideas that you all have come up with through your comments and emails.

Overall, we’re just doing this to have some fun with movies that we sincerely love. We hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to go out and create something amazing of your own!

Chapter 1 of The Pixar Detective will be released on April 8th, 2014. New chapters (and artwork!) will be added every two weeks.

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.

Do We Really Need A Sequel For The Incredibles?

Disney CEO Bob Iger recently made it public that Pixar is working on The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3, an announcement that is likely to divide Pixar fans right down the middle.

Why? Because they essentially combined “probably good news” with “bad news.” Cars may make tons of money in merchandising and box office totals, but it’s still Pixar’s weakest link in terms of audience reception.

In other words, most of us don’t really care about Cars. We just don’t.

But The Incredibles is a vastly different story. Considered to be one of the top-tier Pixar films, this movie could actually be akin to Toy Story 2, rather than Cars 2.

Unfortunately, my best guess is that we’re getting another Monsters University, a decent, even good, movie that lives up to the original, but doesn’t come close to surpassing it.

Pixar sequels are tricky business. Toy Story is really one of the few franchises in film history that actually improved with each sequel, so it makes sense that the executives at Disney have faith in milking their Pixar properties during the coming decade. Even the best studios need time to rest, after all.

So I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about The Incredibles 2, if only because the great Brad Bird is once again behind the film, and I have faith in his ability to evolve simple concepts into fantastic narratives (see The Iron Giant, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille and oh, the first Incredibles).

If you recall, the world of The Incredibles is rich and ready to be further explored. The film excellently combined vastly different aesthetics: the retro-future technology in an alternate 1960s mixed with superheroes and even James Bond references.

And it would be great to see what happens to the Parr family as a superhero team, a dynamic we actually didn’t see until the third act of the movie. There’s plenty to see here, so a sequel really does make a lot of sense.

What do you think? Will The Incredibles 2 break the Pixar sequel “curse,” or do we have another excellent Pixar trilogy on our hands?

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.

Indisputable Proof That ‘Frozen’ And ‘Tangled’ Exist In The Same Universe

I say “indisputable,” but what I really mean is “really difficult to disprove because the evidence is compelling” (and who has time for that long of a headline?)

Frozen and Tangled are two animated Disney films that exist in the post-Disney Renaissance slew of films that ended with The Princess & The Frog. They are among the first high-profile Disney films, aside from Pixar, to use computer animation as a means to retelling classic “fairy tale” stories.

tangled frozen
Fan art – Colby Entertainment

Tangled, which premiered in 2010, features the story of Rapunzel. The movie was a huge success, mostly because it brought a new kind of enjoyable movie experience to both children and adults akin to the Disney Renaissance films of the 1990s.

As you may recall, the films between The Little Mermaid (you can also count The Brave Little Toaster) and Treasure Planet were animated films that took old classic icons and modernized them for a new audience.

tangled frozen
The “Disney Renaissance” films according to The Norman Nerd.

Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King (which modernized Hamlet), Pocahontas, Hercules, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Tarzan, Emperor’s New Groove, Atlantis and Treasure Planet all featured established stories with cutting-edge animation.

Then Lilo & Stitch happened—a Disney film that while successful, signaled a departure from the old format. Disney was going for original stories.

tangled frozen
Meet The Robinson’s

For the next few years, Disney would continue experimenting with both CGI and 2D animation, but they would only cover new stories (probably due to the success of Pixar’s original stories).

Valiant, The Wild, Home on the Range, Meet the Robinson’s and Bolt were mitigated successes that ended up being mere shadows of how captivating Disney movies really could be.

Tangled frozen
The Princess & The Frog

This culminated with the release of The Princess and the Frog, an obvious attempt at cashing in on the old formula (revitalizing an old story).The movie was well-received, but it still didn’t have the cultural impact that Disney was looking for—and they knew this a mile away.

That’s why in 2010, Disney threw a hail mary with Tangled, the first post-renaissance film to combine both strategies of the previous generations: computer animation and established storytelling.

tangled frozen

Tangled wasn’t an immediate hit culturally, but it would eventually become a mainstream staple upon DVD releases and the onslaught of meme-generation online. It was a good first start.

But Disney didn’t figure out why Tangled worked before they would make a colossal mistake in 2011, which saw the release of Mars Needs Moms—one of the biggest box office disasters in movie history.

That same year was also when they brought back Winnie the Pooh and figured out that 2D animation just wouldn’t cut it anymore—not because it doesn’t look amazing, but because the tastes of the new generation have changed.

tangled frozen
Wreck-It Ralph

Disney’s next experiment would come in 2012 with the release of Wreck-It-Ralph, an odd case study about a movie where video games come to life. The makers of the film clearly wanted to find a new groove for these movies without having to rip off old properties by featuring…well old properties from video games.

Wreck-It Ralph drew in viewers because it was a fantastic homage to dozens of iconic video game characters, even though it featured an original story and computer animation.

So, does Wreck-It Ralph exist in the same universe as Tangled and Frozen? Well, there’s actually more evidence that they take place in the same universe as The Fairly OddParents

tangled frozen
The Fairly OddParents

Hold on, let’s zoom in a little bit:

tangled frozen

Of course, it’s probably too good to be true.

By 2013, Disney had figured out that original stories coming out under their umbrella need to have something familiar for audiences to grab on to in order to gain momentum in the box office.

And then everything changed when Frozen came along.

tangled frozen
Frozen

One of the most successful animated films of all time (especially our time), Frozen finally got the Disney recipe right. Based on The Snow Queen, the movie was a familiar, but fresh take on a classic fairy tale.

Of course, it was still successful without having to be instantly familiar to children. Thanks to a viral soundtrack, fun storytelling and memorable characters, Frozen has essentially marked the beginning of a new era of Disney movies, and what is a Disney movie without some universe sharing?

Yes, Tangled and Frozen exist in the same universe for plenty of reasons, but the most important being that the two movies are of a significant recipe that is uniquely different from every other Disney film. Also, I have evidence:

tangled frozen

See that couple in the bottom-left corner of the image? That’s Flynn and Rapunzel (after her hair changes color and length) from Tangled showing up to Elsa’s coronation in Frozen.

It’s clear that the animation style is seamless enough for these characters to show up in the movie without looking out of place, and you can even see that their wardrobe has subtly shifted.

Another persistent theory you may buy into was proposed by this redditor who claims that Flynn and Rapunzel were at the coronation because Elsa and Anna’s parents died while traveling to their wedding 3 years before the events of Frozen.

He also claims that Flynn actually refers to Arendelle as “being nice this time of year,” but I’ve yet to find the actual clip of him saying that in Tangled or Tangled Ever After.

tangled frozen
Corona

Another interesting piece of evidence is how similar the settings are conceptually. Tangled is loosely based on the fairy tale about Rapunzel, which takes place in Germany. In the movie, however, their adventures take place in the fictional kingdom of Corona, rather than any real settings.

tangled frozen
Arendelle

In similar fashion, Frozen is based on a Norwegian tale, but it takes place in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle. The idea here is that Disney is trying to build new fictional kingdoms to go along with their adaptations, so you can expect to see more of this in future Disney CGI films.

Going forward, 2014’s big animated movie is Big Hero 6, which is an animated adaptation more similar to Wreck-It-Ralph than Tangled and Frozen due to its ties with “geek” culture (the movie is based on a graphic novel and features fighting robots).

tangled frozen

2015 will be even stranger, with the release of The Descendants, a Disney Channel Original Movie that calls back to the 90s era with the offspring of the protagonists from those films. If you needed more evidence that the Disney Renaissance movies shared a universe, then that should settle the discussion.

Other than that, however, there are no announced projects on the horizon that will continue the post-renaissance film sharing that has begun with Tangled and Frozen…for now.

[UPDATE]

Some clever commenters pointed out that The Little Mermaid may exist within this universe as well. The theory (which has now been propagated by Tumblr users and promoted by Buzzfeed) is that the sunken ship in The Little Mermaid is the same one that Elsa and Anna’s parents died on when it was lost at sea.

One piece of evidence has to do with the location of each movie. Tangled takes place in Germany, Frozen takes place in Norway and The Little Mermaid takes place in Denmark. In order for Elsa’s parents to travel from Norway to Germany via boat, they would have passed by Denmark. See below:

tangled frozen

I have to admit that this definitely solid evidence (and kudos to you readers who pointed it out in the comments, including my roommate who pointed out the same thing). Of course, the biggest piece of evidence is the fact that both The Little Mermaid and Frozen are based on fairy tales written by the same person: Hans Christian Andersen.

If this is all true, then that would mean Frozen and Tangled exist within the same universe as the Disney Renaissance films, albeit with some new twists to their conceptual design and settings.

Another update: a lot of people like to argue that this is somehow connected to Tarzan and/or Beauty and the Beast. Guys, it’s not. It’s just not.


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

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

The True Identity of Andy’s Mom In ‘Toy Story’ May Blow Your Mind

Andy's Mom

It all started with a hat.

Several months ago, one of my anonymous Pixar Theory Interns (that’s a thing on a resume) came to me with a crazy proposition: Andy’s mom is Emily, Jessie’s previous owner.

I laughed. I then agreed.

For some time, I compiled all of the evidence and found some incredible support for this theory. For one thing, take a close look at Andy’s cowboy hat he frequently wears in the movies:

Andy's Hat

Here’s another close look:

Andy's Hat

As you can see, Andy’s hat is noticeably different from Woody’s. Why is this? Why wouldn’t Andy want to wear a hat that closely resembles the one worn by his favorite toy?

It’s no secret that Andy has a close connection with Woody. In Toy Story 2, his mom (who we only know as Ms. Davis) mentions that Woody is an old family toy.

Remember that Woody doesn’t even recall that he is a collector’s item – a toy made in the 1950s. This is a deviation from other toys who know full well where they come from. It’s possible that Woody doesn’t know because he’s been in Andy’s family for a long time, possibly belonging to his father.

But we need more evidence. Take a close look at Jessie’s hat:

Andy's Hat

Ah, this hat looks familiar. It’s the same red hat with white lace that Andy wears. The only difference is that Jessie’s hat has a white lace around the center. But look at Andy’s hat again.

Andy's Hat

There’s a faded mark where the white lace should be. Why do you think that is? And what does Jessie have to do with this?

(Bob Saget’s voice) Kids, you remember the story of Jessie. Her owner Emily grew up with her, much the same way as Andy. She was incredibly loved, but Emily eventually gave her away when she grew older. Jessie ended up in storage for a long time, as confirmed by her in the movie when she has a literal panic attack over having to go back.

Now, take a close look at what’s on this bed in Emily’s room:

Andy's Hat

That is a hat that looks extremely similar to, you guessed it, Andy’s. The room is also pretty old-fashioned, leaving room for this to take place years before Andy was born.

In fact, you can clearly tell that this isn’t modern day with shots like these:

Andy's Hat

The only difference between the hat that Emily wears throughout this sequence and Andy’s hat is an extra white lace around the center, which is visibly missing from Andy’s hat. Otherwise, the hats are identical.

Also, in the donation box that Emily puts Jessie in, we don’t see the hat. We do see other remnants of her connection with Jessie, but the hat is noticeably absent. The box isn’t even big enough to hold it. So Emily held onto that hat…and maybe passed it on to her child, who would grow to also love a cowboy doll.

We never get a closeup of Emily’s face, but we do see that she has light, auburn hair as a teenager. Also, it is very short.

Compared to:

500full

The middle picture is closest to the strawberry blonde color we see when Emily is young. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that her hair lightened as she aged, which is clearly the case in these photos (or she could have dyed it).

Here’s what we know for sure:

We don’t know the first name of Andy’s mom. We don’t know Emily’s last name. We know that Andy’s hat and Emily’s hat are the same. We know that Emily is old enough to be Andy’s mom. We definitely know that Pixar is perfectly capable of sneaking this in without being overt about it.

You may be wondering how the two characters could be the same if Emily was willing to give Jessie up so easily, while Andy was far more hesitant.

Actually, the scenarios are quite similar. Andy forgot about Woody as he grew up too, despite their strong connection. Andy even gave Woody away, albeit in a different manner than Emily.

In the end, it makes perfect sense that these two concurrent stories are so similar because they’re related by blood. It’s also a freak of destiny that Jessie would one day belong to her owner’s son, though we never get to see the mom’s reaction to seeing Jessie again.

She was probably indifferent and believed it to be a different version of the same toy. How would you respond if you saw your child with a toy that looked like one that you had as a kid? Your first assumption probably wouldn’t be that they’re the exact same toy.

What do you think? Do you believe that the two characters are the same and that Andy’s mom/Emily found redemption through the love her son had for the toy she left behind? Or, do you hate fun, love, and destiny? Let me know.


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

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

All images courtesy of Disney/Pixar

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