Since its “Big Bang” moment with Toy Story in 1995, the vibrant digital universe of animated film studio Pixar has expanded at a meteoric rate – kind of like the actual universe. In that time, though, there have been many examples of crossovers between their movies – with characters, objects and mysterious numbers popping up where you don’t expect them. Here, then, are 20 Pixar “Easter eggs” that tie the universe together…
20. The Toy Story wallpaper in Monsters, Inc.
Many kids in the 1990s wanted that iconic cloud-covered wallpaper from Andy’s room in Toy Story, perhaps in the vague hope that it’d make their toys come to life. And the iconic print reappears in Monsters, Inc., when the villainous Randall uses it as a backdrop to show off his camouflage skills.
19. Sid in Toy Story 3
Sid was the Dr. Frankenstein of Toy Story, mutilating his poor toys in his dark lab of a room. In what’s probably karmic justice, we find out by way of his skull T-shirt in Toy Story 3 that he becomes the local trash collector. Not that he seems too unhappy about it…
18. Totoro in Toy Story 3
Pixar Easter eggs rarely venture beyond the Pixar-verse, but it’s a testament to the influence of Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki that the big bunny-thing Totoro from the 1988 animation My Neighbor Totoro makes a cameo in Toy Story 3. Indeed, as Pixar’s John Lasseter told MTV in 2010, he wanted “to let Studio Ghibli know how much they mean to us” through the Totoro appearance. Awww.
17. Mike Wazowski in Finding Nemo
If you really love a movie, you should stay to the very end to acknowledge the hard work of everyone involved – from the costume designers to the janitor’s pet chinchilla. Stick around at the end of Finding Nemo, though, and you get rewarded with Mike from Monsters, Inc. taking a swim.
16. A113 in every Pixar movie
The cryptic number A113 appears in every Pixar movie. Contrary to what many a crackpot would think, though, it’s not an Illuminati code or the new “number of the Beast,” but the room number of the classroom at the California Institute of the Arts where the original Pixar crew met and studied.
15. Monstro from Pinocchio in Monsters, Inc.
Pixar is such a phenomenon that you could easily forget it’s part of Disney, but this most secret of secrets in Monsters, Inc. is here to remind us. Specifically, Pixar pays tribute to the biggest Disney beast of all on the wall of a cafe in Monstropolis – that is, Monstro the whale from the classic Pinocchio.
14. Luigi from Cars in Finding Nemo
The cars of Cars fame have a tendency to pop up across Pixar movies, albeit without their iconic windscreen eyes. For example, if you’re super-vigilant you can spot Luigi, a 1950s Fiat 500, drive past the window in Finding Nemo.
13. The books of Pixar shorts in Toy Story 2
For the average person, Pixar may as well not even have existed before Toy Story landed on our screens in 1995. But the company had actually been honing its computer animation art since 1986, making a whole bunch of short movies leading up to its big-screen debut. Want to know their names? Well, just check out the bookshelf in Toy Story 2…
12. The Pixar lamp constellation in Toy Story 2
The “Luxo” lamp is an early mascot of Pixar, and it’s made cameos in plenty of their movies since it first appeared in the short film Luxo Jr. in 1986. And while you’ve probably seen it around, you will still need to have an astronomer’s eye to spot it in the stars in Toy Story 2.
11. Lots-O-Huggin Bear in Up
As well as paying tribute to its classic characters, Pixar also likes its foreshadowing. The fuchsia-coloured Toy Story 3 villain Lotso, for example, actually made his debut a year earlier in a cameo: see if you can spot him chilling in the corner of the room in Up when the balloons float past the window.
10. Merida in Cars 2
In another act of foreshadowing, Pixar decided to tease Merida, the red-haired hero of their 2012 fantasy tale Brave, during a car chase sequence in Cars 2. The catch is that Merida – alongside her family – appears on a tapestry in car form and so isn’t so easy to spot.
9. Heimlich from A Bug’s Life in Toy Story 2
When Buzz Lightyear’s chopping his way through the undergrowth in Toy Story 2, there’s pretty much no way you’d spot Heimlich, the fat German caterpillar from A Bug’s Life, crawling on a branch. Thankfully, though, the blooper reel during the credits gives a big hint to when you can spot him.
8. The Pizza Planet truck in almost every Pixar movie
Many of Pixar’s homages and Easter eggs call back to the original Toy Story. Take the Pizza Planet truck, for example: it made its debut in that classic film but has appeared in every single Pixar movie since. The only one it’s missed is The Incredibles, but it nevertheless appeared in the 2004 movie’s accompanying video game as recompense.
7. Rex from Toy Story in WALL-E
The cleanup robot WALL-E is fond of collecting junk, seeing as that’s pretty much the only thing left to collect on the ruined Earth depicted in the 2008 movie that bears his name. But one of his best finds has to be Rex from Toy Story, who you can see sheepishly hanging out between a pair of bowling pins.
6. Dug from Up in Ratatouille
Dug, the likeable but sadly obese Labrador from Up, somehow managed to end up in the hands of French owners: his sagging silhouette appears in Ratatouille when Remy is running through Paris. Not that you’d have known if you watched it in theaters, however, because Ratatouille came out two years before Up.
5. The Luxo ball in most Pixar movies
A ball with a red star first appeared in Luxo Jr. in 1986, and it has been rolling with their movies every since. Indeed, it’s in most Pixar flicks to date. However, one of the ball’s more disputed appearances is in Brave, where fans have claimed that it appears as a wooden carving in the witch’s hut. What do you think?
4. Boo from Monsters Inc in Toy Story 3
This one’s up for dispute, but hear it out. There’s a girl called Bonnie in the day care center of Toy Story 3 who looks like a slightly older version of Boo from Monsters, Inc. Not convinced? Well, she also plays with a blue cat toy, and Boo called big, blue monster Sully “Kitty.” What’s more, Bonnie even says the word “Boo!” at one point. The signs are all there…
3. The Sulley wood carving in Brave
The witch’s hut in Brave is a cornucopia of Easter eggs. There’s the Luxo ball mentioned earlier, a Pizza Planet truck (of course), and this wood carving of what’s clearly Sulley from Monsters, Inc. Or maybe it’s one of his ancestors, proving that monsters have been scaring kids at least for several centuries.
2. The Bug’s Life book in Toy Story 2
People don’t talk about A Bug’s Life as much as other Pixar movies, but at least it still gets some love from its makers. In Toy Story 2, for example, we see Mrs. Potato Head reading A Bug’s Life to the Toddle Tots.
1. The letter to Andy in Toy Story 3
In Toy Story 3, you’ll find proof that all Pixar movies exist in the same dimension. That’s because on Andy’s pinboard we glimpse a postcard sent from Up’s Carl and Ellie. And if the same dimension theory is indeed true, the world in Pixar is sadly doomed to end up as a junkyard, as charted in WALL-E. Maybe Carl and Ellie were trying to warn Andy? We’ll probably never know…