The Pixar Theory: How every Pixar animated movie is connected.

The Luxo ball and Pixar lap are the main symbols of Pixar Studios. Pixar Studios have created 24 movies all connected by a very long timeline called the “Pixar Theory.”

Wikimedia Commons

The Pixar Theory: How every Pixar animated movie is connected.

Debra Garcia, Features Editor/Business Manager

   Believe it or not, there is reason to think that all 24 Pixar movies are connected. Like the MCU, or Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Pixar Universe connects all Pixar movies in a very long convoluted timeline. 

   This “Pixar Theory” was developed back in 2013 by Jon Negroni, who saw the connections between the first 14 movies. Ever since the theory has evolved tremendously. The best way to describe the theory is by making a timeline, explaining the evolution of humans, animals, artificial intelligence and monsters. So let’s get right into it. Spoilers ahead for every Pixar movie.

The Good Dinosaur (2015) 

   This timeline starts off in the dino ages, in an alternate history when the meteor that killed the dinosaurs never hit the Earth. This leads to the dinosaurs advancing to a close-to-human level, which foreshadows the abilities of animals for the future. So keep that in mind. 


   Next up, we then skip till millions of years after “The Good Dinosaur” in medieval Scotland. When Princess Merida wants to change her fate, she follows the  Will O’ the Wisps. They lead her into a cabin in the woods, owned by a witch. In the said cabin, many carvings are seen of bears, one in particular looks like Sully from “Monsters Inc.” Pay attention to that detail, it will come in handy later. 

The Incredibles(2004) and Incredibles 2 (2018)

   About a thousand or so years later, we jump into the 1950s, the age of Superheroes. What is important here is the development of AI(Artificial Intelligence) created by Syndrome. We also see the first mention of Buy-In-Large or BML, a super-corporation. They will be making many appearances throughout the Pixar Theory. 

Toy Story(1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999)

   Decades after the Incredibles 2, the first two “Toy Story” movies show how children’s toys can come to life. It is also shown that in order to come alive, toys and other objects are powered by human memories. For example, in “Toy Story 2” when the penguin, Wheezy, is being forgotten by Andy, he becomes very slow and squeaky. Toys that do not come to life are toys not remembered by any humans. 

In addition, many mentions of BNL are seen, demonstrating how much this corporation is growing. 

Finding Nemo (2003) and Finding Dory (2016)

   These two movies happen right after “Toy Story” and its first sequel. These films show how intelligent animals, such as fish, have become. They seem to be on a similar intelligence level as the toys. The fish even have their own mini-society. After her adventure in “Finding Dory”, Dory comes to the conclusion the closer in proximity to humans fish are, the smarter they can become. This is very similar to the theory that toys only come to life because of human memories. 

Ratatouille (2007)

   A couple of years after “Finding Dory,” we take a trip to France. This film basically supports Dory’s conclusion, as a rat named Remy, who is always near humans, becomes very intelligent. Even to the point where he can cook just like a human.  

Toy Story 3 (2010) and Toy Story 4 (2019)

   “Toy Story 3” takes place 11 years after the first sequel. Many details and easter eggs from other Pixar movies are seen in this movie. This includes Darla from “Finding Nemo”, a postcard to Andy from Carl from “Up” and Boo from “Monsters Inc.” Most importantly, Buzz is powered by BNL batteries, connecting the toys and the corporation. In “Toy Story 4,” many questions about how toys come to life are answered. When a piece of trash is given eyes and is played with by Bonnie, he comes to life. This cements the theory that toys are alive because of the presence of humans. 

Up (2009)

   “Up” is about an old man named Carl trying to fulfill his and his dead wife’s dream of living in Paradise falls, only to learn that life with her was an adventure all along. This film shows the beginning of pollution on Earth, which will soon drive animals to turn against humans, only for machines to take over the world, but more on that later. The intelligence of the talking dogs signifies two things. One, that animals are becoming more advanced. Two, technology is growing and BNL is becoming stronger and stronger. 

Inside Out (2015)

   Set in the modern-day, “Inside Out” explores the concept of emotions in everyone’s head. The point of this movie is to show the power of memory and how it can affect one’s emotions. There is a chance that Riley’s imaginary friend, Bing Bong, is based on Riley’s monster, creating a connection to “Monsters Inc.” 

Coco (2017)

   Also set in the modern-day, “Coco” still explores the power of memory in the PCU(Pixar Cinematic Universe). The basic concept is when memory is forgotten, they disappear. This was seen in “Inside Out” with the character Bing Bong. The main focus of “Coco” is the world of the dead. When someone dies, they will re-awake in the world of the dead to live another life.  So in this case, if one can not be remembered in the living world, one would disappear in the “Land of the Dead. 

Soul (2020)

   Once again being set in the modern-day, “Soul” builds the concept of life before life. How, before people are born, they are shapeless blobs until they are allowed to have a life on Earth. Life is not limited to humans though, it can be any living thing. This explains why certain animals, toys and cars can be very intelligent and human-like. 

Cars (2006), Cars 2 (2011) and Cars 3 (2017)

   Now, skip a century to the future. The animals rebelled against humans but both went extinct due to pollution and now the world is ruled by cars. All caught up? Good. Now is when Buy-In-Large is very very important. All the cars, planes and machines are powered by BNL and AI technology developed by Syndrome. The machines are powered by fuel, but are still organic, as we can see a car can die. There is also mention of craps in “Cars 3” so there are still some non-machines living on Earth. 

Wall-E (2008)

   Wall-E takes place in 2800, 700 years after all the humans left on a spaceship due to Earth being too polluted to live on. Before the humans left, BNL ruled the entire world during the 21st century but after they polluted Earth so badly, they moved all humans on the “Axium” to live peacefully in space. The “Axium” is completely controlled by machines and over the span of 700 years, humans have become nothing but useless blobs being controlled by machines. With the help of Wall-E, the humans venture back to Earth, which is now showing signs of life once again. 

A Bug’s Life (1998)

   “A Bugs Life” occurs soon after the humans have returned at the end of “Wall-E.” As shown by a roach in “Wall-E”, bugs and insects survived the mass pollution, explaining why they do not fear humans. 

Onward (2020)

   Although it may seem like “Onward” may not fit the “Pixar Theory”, due to magical spells and creatures being a prominent plot point, not to fear.The theory goes that this film does not occur on Earth. Remember, this is the Pixar universe, world. 

Monsters University (2013) and Monsters Inc (2001)

   At long last, we have made it to the end of the Pixar timeline, but hold on as these last couple of movies are very crucial to the Pixar Theory. Taking place in the year 5000, the Earth is now ruled by monsters, who have evolved from the humans in “Wall-E” due to chemicals in the air. We are introduced to the concept of monsters traveling through doors to scare children, as their screams power the city. This for the final time supports the theory that human memories power everything. The big question is, how are the monsters scaring human children if all the humans are dead? Easy, they are time traveling. Each door is a portal to a time and place on Earth. In “Monsters Inc”, Sully befriends a little girl, who he named “Boo”. Now, the big twist of the Pixar Theory is that Boo is actually the witch from, you guessed it, “Brave”. The theory goes that after meeting Sully, Boo became obsessed with trying to find him again. So she spent her life trying to discover the magic behind the doors. That is why in “Brave” the witch has a magic door and a carving of Sully(told you that would be important). 

   So there it is. The complete up-to-date Pixar Theory. Although it may be long and sometimes confusing, it is great to think about. This just excellently shows the brilliant storytelling by Pixar Studios.