The Pixar universe

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The Pixar universe or Pixar Theory is a theoretical "shared universe" in which every film that is created by Pixar takes place, sharing characteristics and an internal logic. Media discussion about a "Pixar Universe" has existed since at least 2003,[1] and has been referred to in disparate sources such as SlashFilm,[2] Washington Times,[3] Reno Gazette-Journal, and MTV News.[4]

Pixar employee Jay Ward (not to be confused with cartoonist Jay Ward) denied that the films take place in the same universe, saying: "It's almost like the 9/11 conspiracy theories... it's like, really? No, the movies were sort of made in a different order by different directors in different times, in different places. It's cool that it all worked out that way, but it probably was not intentional."[5]

In To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios, the companion book to documentary The Pixar Story, Karen Paik states that there are many internal references between various films in The Pixar Universe.[6] In 2009, CityNews Toronto made comparisons between nine "Pixar Universe" films.[7]

In his 2013 thesis entitled "The Pixar Theory," Jon Negroni wrote that every character created by Pixar lives within a single fictional universe. He acknowledges that the concepts behind his thesis were derived from an episode of the video series After Hours, written by Daniel O'Brien.[8] In his post, Negroni discusses all of the films and how they relate in a timeline of events.

The character of Boo from the latter film, meanwhile, is said to create a time loop, and consequently is the same character as the Witch in the former film. He had already fit the Cars spin-off series, Planes, into the theory, even though it was not made by Pixar.[9][10][11] On June 11, 2015, Negroni published an article on explaining how Inside Out fits into his theory. io9 wrote Negroni's work is "a crazy read, one that Negroni has been annotating as readers point to corrections or flaws in his theory. But even as a tinfoil hat theory, it makes some clever connections—and, of course, contains plenty of Pizza Planet trucks."[12]

At the 2015 D23 Expo, during the "Pixar Secrets Revealed" panel, director Mark Andrews reiterated previous denial of the theory, saying: "It's not true—come on!" At the same panel, Inside Out co-director Ronnie del Carmen said: "Do you know what kinds of meetings we'd have to have to make sure all our movies line up?!"[13]

Fictional theorized plot[edit]

Jon Negroni proposes in his website that the Pixar universe is an alternative version of our universe where magic made animals intelligent and lately rebellious against humans, while some of humans were also born with superpowers. This, however, prompts conflicts between these two groups, and lately human-made intelligent objects, like machines and toys. Machines and humans later unite and defeat the animals. But due to manipulation by machines, the Earth gradually became more and more polluted, to the point of human uninhabitability. Humans begin to live in the space where they are controlled by machines for centuries. Humans eventually return to Earth, but are wiped out due to the pollution. But the animals survive, and because of the effects of radioactive pollution, they evolve into mutated creatures known as monsters. Monsters form a far advanced society capable of time-travelling, but their technology depends on energy obtained from the emotions of humans from the past.[14]


The Good Dinosaur (prehistory)[edit]

According to Negroni, the much longer time dinosaurs had to evolve allowed the development of the intelligence seen in the movie, as they have a language and practice farming and animal husbandry. At the time the movie takes place, millions of years after their non-occurring extinction, the dominant dinosaurs are obsessed with survival due to scarce food and hostile environments, while mammals (including humans) are beginning to thrive.

Even though dinosaurs still die out, this longstanding evolution causes many weird-looking creatures to emerge, like the dreaded cluckers, those seen in Thunderclap's gang, the anglerfish in Finding Nemo, and those from Paradise Falls in Up. Magic, a result of this alternative evolution, would be discovered and secretely handled by some humans in the future. This includes the witch in Brave, Charles Muntz in Up (who uses it in his inventions to live an exceeding long and healthy life and make dogs talk), and the government experimentations to produce supers in The Incredibles. Magic would also make animals gradually intelligent.

The scarcity of fossil fuels, another effect of the dinosaur initial survival, prompts humanity to look for alternative fuels much before they would in our timeline. This is alluded in the Cars franchise, in which an oil crisis related to "dead dinosaurs" is mentioned, and Dinoco's logo is a living dinosaur. Being much more quickly concerned with this crisis makes humanity develop technology faster, and this would explain the advanced technology seen in The Incredibles, which takes place in the 1950s and '60s, and the survival of humans much after cars. The zero-point energy discovered by Syndrome would be the "human energy" so important in this universe.[15]

Brave (14th and 15th centuries)[edit]

Early in the Middle Ages, objects and animals are seen behaving like humans due to magic handled by a witch apparently related to mysterious blue lights known as will-o'-the-wisps, which appear in the woods. The witch would have experimented on various animals, which acquired intelligence and personality and interbred, eventually expanding their population.

The Incredibles (1950s and '60s)[edit]

Brad Bird, the director of the film, confirmed that it takes place in an alternate version of the 1960s, thus placing the prologue at the 1950s. Both the superpowers and the zero-point energy mastered by Syndrome could be results of the same magic seen in Brave. Toys would eventually absorb the zero-point energy, which can travel through wavelengths, eventually acquiring their powers. Negroni also states that one of the signs of the artifical intellligence rebellion against humans in this chronology is seen when the Omnidroid v.10, a highly improved AI machine, turns back on Syndrome, its own creator and starts attacking random people. He also suggests that the superheroes' deaths because of their capes stuck on inanimate objects, such as Stratogale who died because her cape got stuck on an airplane turbine, were not accidental.

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (1997–99)[edit]

An inanimate-object organized society is first shown, with toys living under their own code of rules, in secrecy of humans. They further find out that human love can be an energy source, and learn that being abandoned by humans is dangerous, thus questioning their purpose of life. It seen with Jessie resentful towards her former owner, Emily, abandoning her.

Finding Nemo, with Finding Dory as a subplot (2003–04)[edit]

The first known intelligent animals are seen. Fish form a fairly advanced society, with schools and network systems, and birds are also shown to be intelligent. This would be a result of experimentation with the same mysterious energy handled by the witch, and that gave supers their powers. Dory's short-term memory loss would mean that fish are evolving very fast, with the intelligence failing to fully or properly develop in some of them. Even though they do not communicate with humans yet, fish show resent towards humans because they pollute the environment and cage them. The dentist's aquarium fish devise elaborate plans which eventually allow them to flee their captivity.

Ratatouille (2007)[edit]

Communication between humans and animals is first seen, with Remy mimicking to Linguini and controlling his movements, and later his entire rat colony working in Gusteau's kitchen. Remy has outstanding abilities in cooking, better than any human seen, perhaps even Gusteau; he also walk on two paws, clean his hands and reads. It is shown that his colony, especially his father, sees humans as enemies, prompting a negative sentiment in animals towards humans. Negroni suggests that after the events of the movie, the main villain, Chef Skinner, spread the rumour that animals, or at least some of them, were intelligent and capable of even outperform humans.

Toy Story 3 (2010)[edit]

Carl and Ellie write to Andy telling him to get rid of his toys because they know the animosity between toys and humans coming ahead, and that's why they are planning on living in solitude.

Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear shows a strong animosity towards humans after his owner Daisy replaced him. Moved by hatred, he starts to lead a toy population and believe that every toy will be soon or late discarded by the humans who own them. This provides another reason for why human-made objects are motivated to take over.

Up (2011–16)[edit]

After a judicial decision, Carl has to give up his old house to a corporation that is expanding in the city, while in WALL-E, a megacorporation called Buy n Large (BnL) is the cause for polluting the earth and wiping out life in the distant future, as a result of technology overreach. Negroni proposes that the two movies refer to the same corporation. Charles Muntz invents collars capable of make dogs express verbally. This would be another use of the old magic. Furthermore, Negroni concludes that Up may take place after Toy Story 3, because an easter egg in the latter shows a postcard from Ellie and Carl.

Inside Out (2015)[edit]

Inside Out is thought to take place in the same year it was released, due to the use of contemporaneous technology like smartphones and Skype. It is shown that a child's joy is much more powerful and active than the other emotions, while in an adult, sadness, fear, anger and disgust seem to co-operate with relatively the same level of importance. Negroni sees this as a connection to find in Monsters, Inc. that laughter (joy) contains much more energy than scream (fear), thus being more effective to sustain the monster society. Also, Riley's imaginary friend in the film, Bing Bong, is described as her perception of a monster from the future, who occasionally visited her and tried to make her laugh in order to obtain her energy.[16]

Cars and Cars 2 (2100–2200)[edit]

In WALL-E, BnL had to send the remaining humans off into space on a ship called the Axiom in the early 22nd century. Negroni suggests that the Cars franchise takes place after these events, when the Earth was dominated by the machines (cars). While it is clearly set on Earth, no humans or animals are seen, what suggests it may take place on a different time period, possibly after they were wiped out.

In Cars 2, an oil crisis is mentioned. A corporation named Allinol pretends to sell biofuels, while its plans actually consist of preventing cars of using alternative energy sources. Allinol may have been run by BnL (or be just another name of BnL itself), which ended up intoxicating the entire earth with oil. The world then becomes uninhabitable by humans, leading to the events of WALL-E.

WALL-E (2800–2900)[edit]

Centuries thereafter, the world is highly polluted, with the only seen inhabitants being WALL-E and a cockroach he befriends, suggesting a survival of insects among this apocalyptical environment. Humans are extremely dependent on machines, which made them ignorant about their past and purporse. The Axiom's autopilot is an example of authoritary machine fighting to maintain the current order where humans are dumb and ignorant. The tree that grows at the end of the movie is described as the same tree near the ant colony in A Bug's Life.

A Bug's Life (2898–3000)[edit]

Ants form the most complex non-human society so far, with cities, cloth-wearing and even their own machines. This would be a result of an advanced evolution. Humans are not seen and barely mentioned, meaning they are either abscent or uncommon. This same trailer from Monsters Inc. is seen, but the vegetation is dead and in much smaller amount, suggesting the more polluted environment around.

Monsters University and Monsters, Inc. (4500–5000)[edit]

The animals who lived on Earth gradually mutate due to the radioactive pollution. They evolve into the monsters seen in the Monsters, Inc. franchise. The monsters eventually become the most advanced society in the timeline, with human-like cities, companies and universities clearly seen. But they are even more advanced than humans, since the "dimension" to where monsters travel to obtain the energy required to power up is actually the past, where humans existed, and the doors are time machines built for that purpose. By the end of Monsters, Inc., the last movie in the chronology so far, monsters find out that laughter contains far more energy than fear, thus changing their main fuel.


It is proposed that Boo is the same character as the witch seen in Brave. After the events of Monsters, Inc., Boo becomes upset for never seeing Sulley again. Through her life, she tries to find a way to return to the monster world and find Sulley. Remembering that wardrobe doors could lead to him, she eventually learns about their time travel properties and begins to use them. However, unable to determine to what time period she would travel, she visits several ones. Wood carvings of Sulley and the Pizza Planet truck, a recurring easter egg in the Pixar films, are seen the witch's cottage in Brave. They would mean that the witch is connected to Sulley and knows about future technologies (cars), thus identifying her as Boo. It could have been Boo who left easter eggs throughout the Pixar films.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grimm, Bob (June 5, 2003). "Find the Fish". Reno News & Review. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ Lussier, Germain (July 17, 2013). "Theory: All Pixar Movies Exist in the Same Universe". /Film. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ Szadkowski, Joseph (June 24, 2010). "Toy Story 3: The Video Game review". Washington Times. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ Carroll, Larry (December 12, 2005). "Should Buzz Lightyear Really Be Hanging With Van Gogh? MOMA Thinks So". MTV News. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ Torchinsky, Jason (July 18, 2013). "Pixar's Jay Ward Responds To The Unified Pixar Movie Theory". Jalopnik. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ Paik, Karen (2007). To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios. Chronicle Books. p. 73. ISBN 0811850129. 
  7. ^ Brian McKechnie and Suzanne Ellis (May 29, 2009). "His Take/Her Take: Up". CityNews. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ Negroni, Jon (July 12, 2013). "The Pixar Theory: Every Character Lives in the Same Universe". Mashable. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  9. ^ Dunn, Gaby (July 12, 2013). ""Pixar Theory" connects all your favorite movies in 1 universe". The Daily Dot. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ Whitney, Erin (July 12, 2013). "The (Mind-Blowing) Pixar Theory: Are All the Films Connected?". Moviefone. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ McFarland, Kevin (July 12, 2013). "Read This: A grand unified theory connects all Pixar films in one timeline". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ Davis, Lauren (July 13, 2013). "How all Pixar films fit into a single universe". io9. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ "10 Things We Learned from the 'Pixar Secrets Revealed' Panel". Oh My Disney. August 16, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ The Pixar Theory - Jon Negroni Accessed on October 7, 2016.
  15. ^ The Pixar Theory, Part 3: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ - Jon Negroni. Accessed on October 8, 2016.
  16. ^ The Pixar Theory, Part 2: ‘Inside Out’. Accessed on October 8, 2016.

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