Pixar does not make movies. Saying that Pixar makes movies is a wild understatement. They are actually purveyors of pure emotion. The films they make transcend age and genre. Adults and children alike find themselves sitting in silent awe among one another when a Pixar movie is playing on-screen in a darkened theater.
Pixar takes us on wild rides to places we would never get to go. They show us sides of ourselves we sometimes pretend don’t even exist. They remind the adults that we still have parts as children inside of us, and they remind children to hang on to that part of themselves forever because life gets hard. Those are incredible life lessons, and we get to learn them and relearn them by watching Pixar movies. But there is much more to Pixar movies than just what we see on the surface.
Though the term Easter egg has become more popular in the last ten years because of this exact company, there are still people unfamiliar with what they are. An Easter egg is when a movie, game, book, or show hides a reference to something else that only the most keen and astute viewers can pick up on. Pixar is well known for its Easter eggs, and as you will see from this list, have a few classic “eggs” they like to fall back on, time and again. They also love to make nods to past and future movies within their films as well.
Here are twelve of the most memorable Pixar Easter eggs out there.
12. The Good Dinosaur Hidden in Inside Out
One of the tricks Pixar loves to pull on its fans is making references to movies that haven’t yet come out in movies that have been released. For example, there is a scene in Inside Out when Riley is remembering a road trip with her family; at one point, they get out and take a picture next to a big, stone dinosaur.
That same dinosaur can now be seen in The Good Dinosaur ad, covered in birds. Just a smart little foreshadowing by a company known for its subtle genius.
11. Buzz Lightyear in Finding Nemo
Another little trick Pixar animators love doing is making references in their new films to some of their older, more beloved characters. It is with this thinking that they decided to make a Toy Story homage in Finding Nemo.
In the scene in the dentist’s office, when Nemo looks around, you can spot a Buzz Lightyear toy on the ground. The thing is… is it a toy? In that universe, it might just be the man himself.
10. Lotso, The Evil Bear from Toy Story 3, Can Be Seen in Up
Anyone who loves Pixar knows Lotso might just be their scariest villain ever, which says a lot when it’s a pink stuffed bear. But we get a glimpse of the pink, evil jerk when we see Carl’s house flying up in the air for the first time in Up.
There is one shot in particular where we see Carl’s floating house from the inside of a girl’s room as she is playing. Not only do we see a certain ball I will bring up later down on the list, but we also see Lotso bear, lying right next to her bed.
Someone needs to warn that little girl that Lotso is the Hitler of stuffed toys.
9. A Bug’s Life in Toy Story 2
There is a point in Toy Story 2 when you can see Mrs. Potato head reading a book. If you look closely at the pictures and even the story, it is clear she is reading an adaptation of the other amazing Pixar movie at the time: A Bug’s Life.
So wait, these movies have stories within them about other movies in their universe? Wow, that is very Inception of them. You also see the favor returned when Woody actually makes a cameo in the blooper reel for A Bug’s Life.
8. Brave in Cars 2
There is a scene in Cars 2 (possibly the least lovable of all of Pixar’s franchises) where the cars crash through the outer wall of a pub. When they smash into it and come to a stop, if you look at the wall across the room, it has a tapestry of Merida and her family from Brave.
It is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but that is what makes some of Pixar’s Easter eggs so awesome. You really got to keep your eyes out for them – it makes watching the movies even more fun.
7. Sid’s Downfall
This is more of a career arc then a straight Easter egg, but considering MANY miss it completely, it made the list. You remember Sid from Toy Story, yes? He was the kid that would melt his toys together and blow them up – a real douche. Well, if you pay attention, by the third Toy Story film, he was a trash man.
Honestly, this is kind of a jerk move on Pixar’s part, though. I mean, the kid has a decent, far better paying job than most assume. This kind of implied it is a dead end job, but at least you don’t see Sid in jail or homeless.
At least he has a LITTLE drive.
6. Dug the Dog from Up and Ratatouille
Dug from Up is definitely one of people’s most beloved Pixar chara… SQUIRREL!
*runs off for 15 minutes*
What was I saying?
Oh yeah, Dug is awesome, and if you pay close attention to a certain scene in the movie about a talking Rat named Remy (ironically, my Dad used to call me Remy the Rat growing up so this hit home for me), you will see Dug’s shadow.
You see Remy sneaking, and you see the shadow of a menacing dog. Well, not really menacing once you see Up. It’s just Dug. He just doesn’t have his voice modulator yet. So really, it is a shadow Easter egg but still a really cool way to connect the whole Pixar universe.
5. The Witch’s Wood Carvings in Brave
So the witch in Brave might be the most Easter egg-y character in any Pixar movie. Not only does she hold up a carving of a Pixar movie that never came to be (this is when she holds up the lizard carving, which was a reference to their never-made Newt movie). She is also seen with wooden carvings of Sully from Monsters Inc. as well as a few other recognizable Pixar faves.
There may even be a carving of a certain kind of truck I will be bringing up very shortly, too – a PIZZA truck, if I may be so bold.
4. Hidden City Cafe
You can see this little coffee pastry shop in many Pixar classics (Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. to name a few) and there is a very special reason for this. This was a real cafe in California where many Pixar films were born out of creative meetings over lunch and coffee. Sadly, it no longer exists but it lives on in Pixar films, and always will.
Originally located in Richmond, California, they’d go grab a bite at the cafe and would spit ideas back and forth. That place helped inspire some of the greatest animated movies of all time. So to say thank you, they keep the memory alive on film.
3. The Luxo Ball
There was once a Pixar short called Luxo Jr. about a small yellow ball with a blue stripe and red star. Because of the team’s love for it, they have managed to include the luxo ball in most of their movies. You have seen the luxo ball so many times and you didn’t even know it. Remember when Buzz Lightyear wanted to show Woody he could fly, and at one point he bounces off a ball, making it actually look like he was flying?
That was the luxo ball. Now have fun spotting it in Monsters, Inc. and Up, among MANY other Pixar classics.
2. Pizza Planet
This one places so high on the list because it is a constant Easter egg. What we mean by that is, it is an Easter egg placed in almost all of the Pixar movies (not sure how they will get one into The Good Dinosaur, but they are smart and they pulled it off with Brave, so they will certainly do the same here). Pizza Planet is from Pixar’s first Toy Story, and ever since then, they have put it in every flick in some manner or another.
Why it places so high is it is one of the strongest elements in the “every Pixar movie takes place in one, shared universe” theory. Meaning the reason we see Pizza Planet trucks in all these movies is because that is the big pizza chain that exists in Pixar’s world – a world clearly shared by all characters.
Speaking of an Easter egg from all the movies, time for the biggie…
Ah, the famous A113 that has been seen in pretty much every Pixar film to date. What is it? Is it a codex that when you break it you get a job at Pixar? Is it some part of the Fibonacci sequence (look that one up)? If you translate it from letters to numbers and numbers to letters, does it reveal the secret to mankind’s happiness?
It is the classroom in the California Institute of Arts where almost all of the Pixar lead animators learned their craft and honed their ability, ultimately becoming the sort of “little league” for future Pixar animators. For all they learned there, they always make a shout out to it in every film. Look them all up now. Just the A113 references alone could have made their own list. From license plates to envelopes and ingredients, good luck spending the next year of your life spotting them all.