The Pixar Theory is the facinating idea that all animated films by Pixar Animation Studios are actually interconnected and contained within the same universe. The theory claims that together, the films tell a story about the ‘history’ of the earth. While this theory is not new, and is quite well-developed, I thought it would be interesting to do a brief overview of the theory.
The films currently released by Pixar are, in order of production:
- Toy Story
- A Bug’s Life
- Toy Story 2
- Monsters, Inc.
- Finding Nemo
- The Incredibles
- Toy Story 3
- Cars 2
- Monsters University
- Inside Out
- The Good Dinosaur
- Finding Dory
The basic premise of the theory is that the world is made up of three different types of creatures, all evolving and trying to accomplish goals of their own. These three are humans, machines, and animals.
Humans are the dominant group for much of the ‘Pixar Theory Universe’. As a matter of fact they and their imaginations are considered to be a powerful source of energy. For example, the toys in Toy Story are powered by humans who play with them. The monsters in Monsters, Inc. harvest energy from human children by terrifying them, or alternately making them laugh.
Animals are for the most part the weakest of the groups. However, as time passes they have slowly been gaining intelligence and eventually become the dominant species.
The most interesting group, at least for me, is the machines. From the toys in Toy Story to the futuristic Autopilot in WALL-E, machines have been secretly living in the shadows off human energy.
During the events of The Good Dinosaur the animal kingdom, and dinosaurs particularly, have been ruling the earth for millions of years. Humans, however, are beginning to evolve and make a place for themselves at the top of the food chain, while the greatest of the animals are dying off, since their living conditions no longer suit their physiology.
Fast forward thousands of years. Brave happens. Animals are mostly creatures of low intelligence. However, the world is a magical place also, with will-o-wisps and witches. Some interesting things to be noted are brooms that work by themselves and a witch who has been experimenting with bears and uses doors to disappear. This movie seems to demonstrate a magical connection to the intelligence being gained by both animals and machines.
Now enter The Incredibles, about a thousand years or so later. Superheroes, possibly government experiments, work to protect the world from criminals. Then a young man, intelligent but a little insane, tries to work with Mr. Incredible, but ends up ruining an operation and getting pushed away. He vows to rid the world of superpowers, and sets about to do so, using machines powered by what he calls ‘zero-point energy’. His machine proceeds to go rogue, but is taken down by the Incredible family.
The theory postulates that at this time zero-point energy is expelled from the scene and begins waking up inanimate objects like toys. These new intelligences at first look up to humans as gods and friends, but become continually more disillusioned with them over time, bitter about the way humans can just throw them aside so easily.
At the same time humans, having covered the world, begin to pollute it. During further films in the chronology trash can be seen piling up in different places, like the sea floor. A corporation, BNL (Buy n Large) gains prominence, eventually taking over the entire world’s industry. Animals suffer at the hands of this pollution more than anything, eventually all but dying out. The earth is also far too toxic for humans, who also leave earth in a large spaceship, the Axiom. They leave machines to clean up the mess so they can return home.
However, after they leave, the machines they left behind are free to function as they wish. Forming their own communities, vehicles live lives completely human-free, as can be seen in the Cars series. However, in the absense of humans machines begin to run low on energy, and must take what they can from what remains of the earth’s oil reserves. At last even they run down and are gone, leaving only the cleanup machines who robotically fulfill their assigned tasks until they rust away. All but one, that is.
Wall-E, the last remaining of the Wall-E line of cleanup bots, continues his work by himself, accompanied by a single insect with an unnaturally long lifespan. Through his efforts and a complicated course of events he is able to convince humans to return to earth and begin to rebuild it. During this time, humans are quite few in number, and the only major inhabitants of earth are the insects, who have developed an incredible intelligence level in addition to their dramatically increased lifespans. A sample of this ‘civilization’ can be seen in A Bug’s Life.
Fast forward again, this time into the distant future. Humans are extinct, and have been replaced yet again by the last remaining animals, now known as Monsters. These monsters still require the energy absorbed from human beings to power their technology, but without humans in the present they must travel back to the heyday of humanity, around the year 2000 or so, using ‘magical’ wooden doors. They use the strength of human emotions as an energy source, first using fear, then switching to joy when it is proven joy is a stronger power source.
One of these monsters can be postulated to have traveled back to young Riley as a toddler, posing as her imaginary friend Bing-Bong. Other connections can be made between films, but I find none as interesting as the theory of the true identity of the witch in Brave.
This witch walks through doors and disappears, without allowing others to follow. She is obsessed with bears, but has a carving of Sully from Monsters, Inc. in her cabin. She also has a carving of the Pizza Zone truck from the future. Put together, most believers in the Pixar Theory conclude that the witch is none other than Boo, searching for her lost ‘kitty’, using a similar system of doors to that which she traveled to the future in. Of course, she may be unaware that the doors take her through time. She may conclude she is entering alternate universes.
This is but a very short overview of the theory. Some places you could try if you are interested in learning more are www.pixartheory.com , jonnegroni.com/2013/07/11/the-pixar-theory/ , or www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0OTZo3-K5s.
If you have any comments about this theory, perhaps different connections you see between the films, or alternately reasons you think the movies are definitely not connected, please comment below. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. Good luck, and enjoy your movies.