Understanding The Pixar Theory
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Machines, animals, and humans in a battle royale.
In 2012, a man by the name of Jon Negroni watched a video theorizing that the Pixar movies could all be connected. So, he decided to explore a narrative of how they could all be linked together, far beyond the inclusion of Pizza Planet trucks in all the films.
Negroni theorizes there is a greater story being told; one with humans, robots, and animals living in harmony — or, more often, chaos. And this leads to all the Pixar characters you've come to know existing in the same universe, just at different times. He’s even bolstered his theory by adding in evidence from some of the movies that were released after 2013.
Spoiler alert: this theory contains critical plot points from most Pixar movies
65 Million Years Ago
So let’s begin. In The Good Dinosaur, we see a meteor hurtling towards Earth, and knowing what we know about dinosaurs, we know this will lead to their extinction. But in the film, the meteor misses. If Loki has taught us one thing, it’s that variant timelines exist. Well, the entire Pixar Universe is just that: a branch timeline stemming from an event that wasn’t supposed to happen.
What??? I know, but stick with me.
So, in this universe, dinosaurs are the dominant species but they are struggling to farm and live with the effects of extreme weather. When Arlo gets lost, he meets a baby caveman named Spot, who is quite capable for his small stature and even has wolf senses. This is when Arlo realizes that humans could actually be more powerful than dinosaurs.
10th Century Scotland
In Brave, Merida discovers the magic of the will of the wisps that turns her mother into a bear. This is the first time we see animals acting with human-like qualities. The witch in this film casts spells to get animals to act like humans, and even gives inanimate objects, like a broom, the ability to function on their own. This is the beginning of human experimentation on animals and the deepening conflict between them.
Ratatouille/Finding Nemo/Finding Dory/Up
In Ratatouille, we see that Remy has advanced intelligence and is actually the best chef in Paris. He is capable of feeling remorse, which we see when he runs back to Linguini after he is let out of the jar and could have escaped. But Linguini is threatened by Remy’s success. He is a rat living a human life and this is why he can’t be the face of the restaurant at the end of the film.
In Finding Nemo, we see humans treating fish poorly: polluting the water, capturing them, and shaking them in a bag. Humans continue to antagonize animals and experiment on them. They are belittling their worth and intelligence. In Finding Dory, it is revealed she was raised in captivity, in proximity to humans, which is why she can read and speak multiple languages.
At the same time in Up, Charles Muntz develops technology to harness the power of animal intelligence. This is why we see all his dogs with their robotic collars. This gives them the ability to communicate with humans, and, in turn, fly a blimp, prepare meals, and help execute his evil plans. At this point, tension is growing between humans and animals. The dogs don’t want to serve Muntz anymore. So what do humans do? Start teaming up with machines to overpower animals.
Wall-E/Incredibles/Toy Story Series
In The Incredibles, Syndrome tries to kill all the superheroes by way of an omnidroid, which adapts to get smarter in battle. The robot eventually turns on Syndrome, but why? Humans haven’t done anything to robots like they killed the environment for animals.
Well, in Toy Story, we’re introduced to the concept that humans discard objects and these objects are actually sentient beings who feel the pain of being tossed aside. The toys rise up against the injustices of Sid, and Jessie becomes furious with humans after she loses her owner, Emily. And Lotso? Well he is a full blown dictator with the goal of bringing down the human race. This is when the toys begin to understand that they need humans to be fulfilled.
In Wall-E, we learn that Buy n Large is a massive corporation and manufacturer of all things. This is also hinted at in other movies, such as in Toy Story where Buzz Lightyear’s batteries are Buy n Large brand. So, the world is getting more polluted, and humans are relying more and more on machines to survive. But robots are also starting to realize they need humans to give them purpose like humans fulfill the toys. This is the beginning of robots using humans to accomplish their goals, while the humans believe it’s the other way around.
Humans have temporarily moved to space, until Buy n Large announces that their plan to clean up the earth by burning garbage back-fired and just left it more toxic. So, civilization moves to space permanently while robots are left to clean up the trash for if and when they return.
So, all that’s left is machines, but they don’t have humans to give them purpose. This is where Cars comes into play. They function like humans and create a society like humans lived because that’s who programmed them. I mean come on, there’s even a Pope car!
This also explains Wall-E’s fascination with human culture and his collection of relics. He even befriends a living thing (a cockroach). This sense of purpose drives him to accomplish his goal of helping Eve get people back on Earth.
In the end credits of Wall-E, we see the plant in the boot grow into a tree that looks awfully similar to the tree near the ant colony in A Bug’s Life. The planet is still healing, and we have no idea if more humans came down to Earth or just stayed in space. Insects, however, were strong enough to handle the pollution in the first place, so they thrive once the environment starts to improve. We see the bugs function like humans in the same way cars did: they have a class system, cities, and Flick even invents objects for the sole purpose of benefitting society. This is evolution at its finest, and eventually, they evolve as the stronger species. Humans fall by the wayside, unable to adapt to this environment, as most have lived in space with robot servants for most of their lives.
The Final Phase
At this point, the bugs have evolved into monsters. Monsters, Inc. is just Earth set in the very distant future. We see monsters living in a city that looks like a human one, and they are mimicking their society based on what they saw with humans because it’s all they know. So, they use doors to time travel to the past to get their energy from humans too. That’s right: it’s not a parallel dimension, but a portal to the past. In order to preserve the status quo, monsters pass along the belief that the human world is toxic, so no one learns about time travel and abuses the power.
This is also why they have an energy crisis with scream, just as humans had their energy crisis with gasoline long ago. Eventually, monsters learn that laughter is 10 times more powerful than scream, which plays into Inside Out and Joy’s dominance over Riley. Fear would be more dominant if she grew up in a time of scarring. But Riley didn't have a monster under her bed: she had an imaginary friend that liked to play: Bing Bong. And in a flashback we see that Riley is about the same age that Boo is in Monsters, Inc. So we can safely assume that Riley was a kid, post-energy crisis.
On the other hand, Boo was scared by Randall and monsters in general, until she meets and befriends Sully. When she goes back to her room at the end of the film, we see she is sad to leave and that she checks her closet for Sully, to no avail. Boo experienced such a profound moment as a child, that it fueled her desire to hopefully find a way back to Sully one day. So, she learns magic to travel to different places and times in search of Sully.
And that’s the kicker: Boo is the witch from Brave. And the evidence is pretty solid: the witch has a carving of Sully, she is fascinated with bears — which Sully resembles — and she has random objects around her cabin from different time periods, such as a Renaissance painting and a mini Pizza Planet truck. We also come to learn from her message to Merida that she is attending a Wickerman Music Festival and that’s why she is completely gone, cabin and all. Well, that music festival didn’t start until 2001, the year Monsters, Inc. was released.
Since Boo has the power to time travel and ensure this variant timeline continues, Boo is the timekeeper of the Pixar Cinematic Universe.
Well, if you made it this far, you deserve a gold star. Yes, the Pixar Theory is a bit convoluted, and requires a bit of assumption, but it’s also very fitting. I wouldn’t have made the connections myself, but now seeing it all tied together it’s something I can’t unsee. And the idea that all these movies could be tied together by the conflict between humans, animals, and robots, gives meaning to these heavy films that often seem like they are made more for adults than children.
So what do you think? Is the Pixar Theory real? Or is John Negroni simply a variant?