Since the release of Snow White, the world’s first full-length animated film, back in 1937, Disney has had a stranglehold on children’s entertainment. Throughout the last 80 years, the company has largely been responsible for the rise and popularity of children’s films, and their box office hauls since their inception is nearly unrivaled. Each year, the company cranks up the heat on their competition, and their films gross unfathomable amounts of cash while receiving rave reviews. It is rare that the company has a misfire, and even when they have a bad run of films, they also bounce back and become bigger than ever. Just look at the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. Disney had released a string of duds in the 1980s, and towards the end of the decade, their film The Little Mermaid changed everything. From there, films like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King followed, and the company was back on top once again.
Because of their incredible success and longevity, fans have had plenty of time to dissect each film, finding new and interesting clues about possible underlying themes and stories. The Internet is the hub of conspiracy theories, and when these people made these insane discoveries, it didn’t take long for them to post them online. The conspiracies found on this list cover both Disney and Pixar films, and can get pretty dark. While we are sure that these theories are nothing more than speculation, we can’t help but wonder if there is some truth to these outrageous notions.
15. Up Is About Carl’s Memories While Dying
Let’s be real for a second here: Up is legitimately one of the most depressing films in the Disney canon, and the beginning sequence of the film makes it almost unwatchable. Watching the love story of our lead character Carl unfold and then end in such tragic fashion is pretty hard to swallow, and seeing the old, bitter man that he has become makes a little bit of sense after experiencing such a tragedy. The film itself was released to much critical acclaim, and its box office haul of $735 million made the film another smash hit for Disney.
Fans had speculated that there was more than meets the eye about the film, and one theory suggests that our beloved Carl is well on his way out throughout the movie. In fact, many believe that Carl is dying, and that his life flashed before his eyes. His adventure in the film is merely his way of reaching his wife in the afterlife. Excuse us while we go and cry over this film again.
14. Peter Pan Is The Angel Of Death
Hey, kids, want to watch a movie about a little boy who kidnaps children and takes them to an island where almost everything can kill them? Looking at it with a cynical eye, the film Peter Pan is an incredibly odd movie, but good God did we love it as kids. Seeing them using pixie dust and thinking a happy thought to fly made us wish that we could do the same. Neverland seemed like such a cool place to be, as it was full of mermaid lagoons, swashbuckling pirates, and virtually no rules at all. Of course, this lifestyle wears thin on the children who finally decide that heading home is for the best. The film remains a true classic in the Disney canon, and is one of the most beloved stories of all-time.
Having said that, many people have a really dark theory about our favorite kid who never grew up. The theory states that Peter Pan is in fact the Angel of Death who is sent to take the souls of children after they have passed. It would explain why they never grow up, and it makes this story exponentially creepier.
13. Captain Hook Killed Ariel’s Mother
Despite Peter Pan being the star of the film, antagonist Captain Hook continues to be one of Disney’s most popular villains, and his attempts to take out Pan and the Lost Boys is an entertaining part of the film. Nevermind the fact that this grown man is legitimately trying to murder a group of children all while plotting to take out an entire tribe of Indians. I’m sure that he means well, but my goodness, this guy has some major problems. But, if Peter Pan is the Angel of Death, then is Hook the bad guy? Yeah, he’s still kind of a douche. Children are an annoyance, but resorting to murder is just crazy.
If this theory is to be believed, then Hook is no stranger to murdering kids, especially young women. During the scene where we are taken to the mermaid lagoon, we see a young mermaid who bears a striking resemblance to Ariel from Little Mermaid. Some feel that Hook is responsible for killing her mother, which is why you never see her in The Little Mermaid.
12. Aladdin Takes Place After The Apocalypse
It is hard to imagine what would have become of Disney had they not had their fortuitous renaissance in the 1990s, and Aladdin was instrumental in saving the company during that time. The legendary story of a downtrodden beggar who finds a magic lamp to get what he wants stretches back centuries ago, and Disney, who is no stranger to adapting famous stories, seized an opportunity to tell the famous story. Released in 1992, Aladdin would go on to make $541 million at the box office, and the film’s soundtrack was a massive hit as well.
Now, keep in mind that this theory actually has some weight to it, but, then again, anything is possible with some Disney magic. One theory suggests that Aladdin actually takes place in a post-apocalyptic future instead of being buried deep in the past. This theory holds weight because the Genie does impressions of actors who were popular in the 20th century, meaning that he had to have had seen the films previously. He also talks about the third century, and claims that he has been locked away for 10,000 years. Do the math, folks.
11. Alice In Wonderland Is About A Psychedelic Trip
There may not be a cartoon that is more heavily-related to a psychedelic experience than Alice in Wonderland, and it is typically a stoner’s choice of cartoon to watch. Released in 1951, Alice in Wonderland is based on the famous stories by Lewis Carroll, and it has since become one of the most popular films in Disney’s history, and it even has several rides in Disney parks. The film’s popularity has also led to spin-off projects from Disney, and their live-action remake, directed by Tim Burton, was a massive financial success. The live-action remake made $1 billion at the box office, though its sequel was a colossal disappointment.
In reality, this theory should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, but alas, some seemed shocked by it. Many people believe that Alice in Wonderland is all about the young Alice taking a psychedelic trip thanks to some special substances that helped alter her reality. Couple that with the constant innuendo throughout the film, and this theory doesn’t seem too far off.
10. Belle Had The Hots For Aladdin
Oh, what a crazy story this is. In reality, this morbid tale is nothing more than a young woman suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, but, hey, it’s all good because it’s Disney. This story, of course, is based on the novel of the same name that was written back in 1740, though Disney went ahead and put their own spin on things. It makes sense given that many older fairy tales have some darker elements that will make people squirm while they are reading it. Beauty and the Beast was released to theaters in 1991, and the film’s $425 million haul was a massive achievement for Disney, and the film has since become one of the most beloved in recent memory.
This theory would obviously throw a wrench into our previous post about Aladdin, but it is still fun to speculate. Many fans have pointed out that the story that Belle describes reading in the book bears a similarity to the story of Aladdin. The film adaptation for Aladdin came out the following year, meaning that it could have just been the directors foreshadowing Disney’s next project.
9. The Beast Had An Illegitimate Son
Continuing with our favorite tale of Stockholm Syndrome, Beauty and the Beast appears to have hidden something right under people’s noses, and some Internet detectives think that they have figured things out. As we know, an enchantment was put on the Beast and his staff, making him hideous, and making them animated objects. They must find Beast a true love before the last, yada yada yada, you know the rest. Now, because it’s Disney, everything works out in the end, and the Beast and his staff get to become humans once again, and this is where things get interesting. We are led to believe that Chip is the son of Mrs. Potts, but this is all a lie.
Given her old age and his resemblance to the now human Beast, many believe that Chip is actually the Beast’s illegitimate son, and that Mrs. Potts has taken the child as her own to help conceal the secret. We already know that the Beast is a terrible person, and this theory could in fact be true.
8. Jane Is Belle’s Great-Granddaughter
Who doesn’t love a great crossover theory? Released at the tail-end of the 1990s, Tarzan was one of the last awesome Disney films that was released before the company decided to abandon making great films in favor of some awful ones (Home on the Range, anyone?). Tarzan, of course, is one of history’s most famous stories, and Disney did an excellent job in bringing the story to life. The film was a massive hit for the studio, and its $448 million box office haul was fantastic. Toss in a soundtrack that was anchored by the legendary Phil Collins, and you have yourself one of the most memorable cartoons of the 1990s.
This could all boil down to the directors having some fun with Easter Eggs, but it is always fun to speculate. In a scene at her base camp, we see a tea set that is identical to the animated ones found in Beauty and the Beast. Toss in her yellow attire, and many believe that Jane is in fact the great-granddaughter of Belle.
7. A Bug’s Life Is After The Apocalypse
Disney’s decision to team up with Pixar proved to be one of the most profitable moves by the company, and their string of success since the 1990s is nearly unrivaled by any other studio. A Bug’s Life was the second film in the Disney and Pixar relationship, and the film was a success for the studio. Of course, when compared to its predecessor, Toy Story, A Bug’s Life seems like a disappointment. But, given the fact that is generated $363 million at the box office and even has an entire theme park dedicated to it, we would have to say that A Bug’s Life is far more successful than people remember. The film was funny, interesting, and boasted an incredibly talented voice cast.
Of course, this film is not without a good conspiracy theory surrounding it, and this one has to do with the apocalypse. Many believe that A Bug’s Life takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Their argument is that the bugs have evolved and developed into a more advanced species, as indicated by them having functioning businesses and circus attractions.
6. Boo Becomes The Witch In Brave
As the fourth movie released by the Disney and Pixar collaboration, Monsters, Inc. was a film that took the world by storm upon its release, and it remains one of the more popular films in their history. The story takes a look at the monsters that hide in your closet, focusing on them simply performing a job for the betterment of their society. Of course, when a human comes into the world of monsters, all hell breaks loose, and we have ourselves a touching story of friendship. Utilizing an amazing voice cast, Monsters, Inc. received a ton of praise from critics upon its release, and the film hauled in $577 million during its theatrical run. The film’s success also gave way to a prequel, Monsters University, which was released in 2013.
Many wondered what happened to the character Boo over the years, and one theory involves her time-traveling and becoming a witch. Yeah, it is as confusing as it sounds. There is a Pixar theory that involves their entire catalogue and time travel, and that is where this stems from. A carving of the character Sully can be seen in the movie Brave, leading many to believe that Boo spent her life trying to find her old friend.
5. Bing Bong Was Once A Monster’s, Inc. Employee
Oh, Bing Bong, why did you have to be such a tragic character? Pixar has done an incredible job of exploring different themes in their films, though many wondered how a movie about feelings that have feelings could work. In 2015, Pixar would release the film Inside Out, and $857 million later, Disney and Pixar had themselves another smash hit. As it turns out, you can tell a compelling story about feelings, and the introduction and disappearance of the character Bing Bong was heart-wrenching. Bing Bong was an imaginary friend of the young girl whose feelings we focus on, and his story is rife with tragedy.
Tying into the film Monsters, Inc., many people think that Bing Bong was actually a monster that worked for the company once upon a time. People have speculated that Reilly saw Bing Bong when she was young, and the image of the monster is what she used to create her imaginary friend. Considering that Bing Bong has a unique look, this theory might not be that far off.
4. Mother Gothel Is The Evil Queen
After some years where things began to look rough for Disney, they started releasing one hit after another, and Tangled was a huge success for the company. The Rapunzel adaptation was released in 2010, and the film made $591 million at the box office. Featuring a brilliant voice cast that included Mandy Moore, Tangled was a massive achievement for Disney, and it is a part of Disney’s recent resurgence.
Out of all of the theories on this list, this one may seem like the least likely to be possible, but it is still interesting to look at. There is a theory that says Mother Gothel is actually that Evil Witch from Snow White. The two are both incredibly vain, and care more about themselves than others. Also, there is a dagger in a box that both women have, leading many to believe that they are the same. Toss in their similarity in looks when they are old, and you have yourself a woman that is both evil and nearly immortal.
3. Toy Story 3 Is About The Holocaust
In what has become one of the most beloved trilogies of all-time, the Toy Story films are among the most popular movies in recent history. The final film in the trilogy, Toy Story 3, came out years after the second film, and it was a heart-wrenching story about growing up and moving on. For those of us who grew up with the original film, it was the official moment that our childhood ended. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and it generated over $1 billion at the box office.
Talk about a truly dark theory! Many believe that the animated film Toy Story 3 is actually a film that deals with the Holocaust, and there is some evidence to back this up. At one point, the toys, who are left to fend for themselves, come up with a plan to hide in the attic, which is reminiscent of the story of Anne Frank. Their arrival to the daycare center where they are in a constant state of torture and distress is alleged to be a concentration camp, and the incinerator, well, I’m sure you can figure that one out. It’s dark, cynical, and actually holds some weight.
2. Andy’s Dad Is Dead
In 1995, Toy Story was released to theaters, and the impact that it would have on future animated features is truly incredible. The film was a complete game changer, as it was the world’s first ever feature-length computer-animated film. From here, the world of animation would take a giant step forward, and it is all thanks to Toy Story. The film made $373 million at the box office, and it was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
This theory stretches all the way back to the first Toy Story film, and it provides some insight to the whereabouts of one missing character. There is no scene in any Toy Story movie that shows Andy’s father, and many think they know why. There is another theory that Andy’s parents are divorced, but this one seems to be more plausible and tragic. Andy’s father died shortly before the events of the first Toy Story film, and the family’s move is about them starting their new life with him. Woody once belonged to Andy’s dad, and he gave it to Andy, which explains why he loves the dated toy so much. Go ahead, it’s okay to cry.
1. Andy’s Mom Abandoned Jessie
Why did they do this to us? Toy Story 2 was the sequel to Toy Story, and the film was excellent. We got to see our favorite toys back in action, and we were even introduced to some news characters that fit perfectly into the Toy Story universe. It was an amazing rescue story that saw everyone work together to bring back Woody, and while Woody is away with Jessie and Bullseye, we are forced to watch one of the most depressing movie scenes of all-time. We learn that Jessie was once abandoned by her human, and thanks to Sarah McLachlan, many tears were shed everywhere. But, what if we told you that there was more to the story?
People believe that Andy’s mom is the person responsible for abandoning Jessie, and honestly, it kind of makes sense. Andy’s cowboy hat that he loves to wear is the same one that Jessie wears, and not the one that Woody does. This means that a young girl once had that hat, and given the theory about Andy’s dad giving him Woody, we suspect that his mom gave him the hat, and his parents found love and common ground in the show Woody’s Roundup.
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