‘Inside Out’: 7 Pixar Easter eggs to look out for

Wyatt Ong
‘Inside Out’: 7 Pixar Easter eggs to look out for
A cameo from the characters of 'Up', 'The Good Dinosaur', 'Ratatouille', and more. Plus, 10 things you might not know about 'Inside Out'.

MANILA, Philippines – With Inside Out, the coming-of-age film about emotions and how they help you adapt to life’s big changes, Pixar has done it again.

The movie is both a critical and box office hit, crossing the $600-million mark worldwide with a 98% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, too. (READ: Movie reviews: What critics are saying about ‘Inside Out’

Aside from the beautiful, vivid visuals and compelling story, many viewers often look forward to spotting those Pixar Easter eggs – nods to other Pixar movies hidden among the film’s many, many set pieces. And there is a lot to take in, in Inside Out, from the “real” world Riley lives in to the rich inner workings of the mind, from Headquarters to the various personality islands, to Dream Productions, to Riley’s subconscious. 

HEADQUARTER. Concept Art featuring Headquarters by Ralph Eggleston (Production Designer). Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
FINISHED PRODUCT. Headquarters, a still from 'Inside Out.' Photo courtesy of Disney Pixar

Let’s take a look at just a few of them that Pixar (and director Pete Docter himself) helpfully pointed out to us – as well as a few we’ve seen being pointed out by fans online. 


You should note that if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to see any spoilers, you should read no further. 


A113 is the classroom at the California Institute of the Arts where many Pixar alumni studied. It’s often worked into many of the older movies – on the door of the lecture hall where Mike and Sulley study in Monsters University, or on a computer screen in The Incredibles, for example. 

In Inside Out, it appears as graffiti behind Riley, spotted just as Riley gets a call from her parents later in the movie. 

Check out this video to see where else it appears in the Pixar movies:


Pizza Planet truck 

The Pizza Planet truck that was prominently featured in Toy Story has made a number of appearances in most of the Pixar films. We’ve seen it as a wood carving on the Witch’s table in Brave, as part of a heap of junk in Wall-E, next to a trailer in A Bug’s Life.

Take a look at this video:


Pete would only say that the Pizza Planet truck can be spotted on 3 separate occasions and that it’s “super hard to find.” But according to fans online and a Wikia entry, it can be found in one of the yellow memory orbs as Joy is chasing Bing Bong.

Colette makes an appearance

Colette, the wonderful young cook from Ratatouille who helps Linguini, makes an appearance on the cover of a magazine in Riley’s home, says Pete. 

“….For example, in Riley’s house, there’s a magazine lying around, well, something has to be on the cover, and you can’t take a picture of like, Time magazine or something because, copyright and all that. So they [art department] grabbed Colette from Ratatouille,” Pete told me. 

Carl and Ellie 


Who can forget that tear-jerking, emotional “Married Life” sequence in Up, showing Carl and Ellie as a young couple in love? According to a release from Pixar, some of the memories in the different colored orbs inside and outside headquarters are filled with scenes from “Married Life.”  


ARLO. The dinosaur is the focus of Pixar's next release, 'The Good Dinosaur.' Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar

In the movie, Riley gamely recalls a funny moment occurring on the drive from Minnesota to San Francisco, where the car crashes into a giant dinosaur figure – one who closely resembles Arlo, the lead in the upcoming The Good Dinosaur. 

The globe


There are a number of nods to Toy Story, too. The globe in Riley’s classroom (and in the teacher’s mind, as it seems) appears in all 3 Toy Story films. And in the same classroom scene (middle, near the left side), one of Riley’s new classmates is wearing a T-shirt with a camo pattern shaped like Toy Story characters. 

The “Tri-County” area 

Here’s where it gets interesting – and where the speculation starts. As Riley’s playing hockey, you can see a banner right behind the rink with the words “Tri-County Youth Division.” Tri-County – as in the same Tri-County area in California where Toy Story is set? In Toy Story 3, you can see the garbage truck labeled “Tri-County Sanitation while Woody looks at a map of the “Tri-County Area” while looking for Andy’s house from Bonnie’s room. 


Could this mean that Toy Story and Inside Out are set in the same universe? Or is it all just a coincidence? 

But the fact that these Easter eggs appear in the films has often led fans to question whether these are just inside jokes – or if they were actually little clues left by Pixar hinting that all the characters could be fundamentally related in some way. 

That’s led to a number of complex theories about how the worlds of Pixar could be related – most prominent among them, John Negroni’s theory of a conflict between man, animals, and machines spanning thousands of years. 

Pete Docter and Inside Out co-director Ronnie del Carmen were recently asked about whether or not the characters were related – click here to read what they had to say. (WATCH: ‘Inside Out’ directors Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen on mind-blowing Pixar fan theory)

There are many, many more Easter eggs in the film – including a nod to Nemo, a reference to the Disney Haunted Mansion, and some to Pixar short films like La Luna and Partly Cloudy, too. Have fun looking out for them in the film! 

Fun facts

Aside from the Easter eggs, here are a few more fun facts you shouldn’t miss:

Celebrity voices. Amy Poehler voices Joy – and her Parks and Recreation co-star Rashida Jones also has a small role as Cool Girl, one of Riley’s classmates. Rashida is one of the writers of the upcoming Toy Story 4.


Another celebrity voice: Michael Peter Balzary, or “Flea” of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is the voice of Mind Worker Cop Jake. 

Singer and YouTube star Nick Pitera, famous for singing all kinds of songs in all kinds of voices, has a small uncredited part as the singer of the Triple Dent Gum jingle that Riley just can’t get out of her head. Nick also works at Pixar.

Ad-libs. The emotions are voiced by top-notch comedians, so it’s no surprise that there would be some additional lines ad-libbed by the actors. 

TEAMWORK. Director Pete Docter, script supervisor Emily Zulauf, co-director Ronnie Del Carmen, Story Supervisor Josh Cooley and Producer Jonas Rivera with Bill Hader during a story meeting at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. Photo by Deborah Coleman/Pixar

In fact, Amy Poehler and Bill Hader, who plays Fear, are credited with “additional dialogue,” along with Bob Peterson. 

Pete gave me one example: “Simple things, like, they’re lost down in Long Term Memory and Bing Bong says, ‘You’re Joy? What are you doing down here?’ And Joy answers, ‘That’s a good question! You want to answer that, Sadness?’ That was just Amy making that up,” he said. 

Pete is Dad’s Anger. Director Pete Docter also voices Dad’s Anger, who’s firmly in control in Dad’s mind.

Skip to the :18 mark to hear Pete: 


Other Pixar directors have also voiced characters in their own movies – Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton was the voice of the super cool sea turtle Crush, while The Incredibles director Brad Bird was the voice of chic Edna Mode. 

5 years. It took about 5 years for Inside Out to be completed, with the team figuring out the most minute details of every character. Joy’s skin, for example, isn’t like human skins – it’s made up of tiny, fizzy particles, giving off this exuberant, glowy energy that shines from within. About 177,000 sketches later, we have the film as we now fondly know it. 

Let’s take a look at an example of how a sketch develops into the final product:

PROGRESSION. This storyboard was drawn by 'Inside Out' Story Supervisor Josh Cooley. Storyboards are drawn by story artists for the purpose of pre-visualizing the film. They are placed side by side in sequence, so that they convey scenes and deliver a rough sense of how the story unfolds. This storyboard is one of approximately 177,096 drawn. Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar
ANIMATION AND SIMULATION. When Layout is complete, the primary and secondary characters are animated and brought to life by the Animation department. Animators create the personality and 'acting' of the characters. The secondary motion of the hair and garments is added by the Simulation department and this simulation allows the hair and garments to move naturally to complement the acting. Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar
LIGHTING AND FINAL IMAGE. The lighting department is responsible for integrating all of the elements – characters, sets, cloth and hair, and effects – into a final image. The lighting process involves placing virtual light sources into the scene to illuminate the characters and the set. Technical directors set up the lighting to draw the audience's eye to story points and to create the correct mood. The images are then rendered at high resolution. 24 lit images, of over 2 million pixels each, are created for each second of the movie. Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar

More emotions. Pixar filmmakers consulted a number of experts about the different emotions in Riley’s head before settling on the final 5. Who didn’t make the cut? Early candidates included Hope, Surprise, Envy, Schadenfreude, and Guilt. 

“Disgust was going to be Envy and that slot for the Disgust character sort of shifted and changed for a bit,” character art director Albert Lozano told me. 

“I remember for Guilt, I just made it really simple, almost like a sponge character that wouldn’t ever wanna look you in the eye. When you’re guilty…I remember taking that approach for guilt.”

What else didn’t make it? Tons of concepts were tossed around by the team – including some they loved, but couldn’t fit into the film.

Here are just a few: a literal Stream of Consciousness, a Brain Storm (a hurricane of ideas), an entire cast of imaginary friends (Bing Bong was the only one who made it into the final cut), an operator named Frank who would order the emotions around, a war between the Names and Faces department. At one point they even thought about allowing Riley herself to be a character inside her own mind.

BING BONG. There were originally several imaginary friends thought up by the Pixar team, but only Bing Bong made the final cut. Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar

That imaginary boyfriend. One of the film’s major scene-stealers – Riley’s imaginary boyfriend, who helps Joy in one of the film’s most delightful surprises. The floppy hair, the tight jeans…was there a specific inspiration for this character?

“We just thought of all the tropes. We had our staff buy all the teeny-bop magazines that we could and just try design the character that fit all of what we saw. We saw a recurring hairstyle…a certain look,” said Albert. 

Joy and Fear. In the movie, Joy and Sadness go through a long journey, and Joy comes to realize that Sadness has an important role to play when it comes to taking care of Riley. But for a while, the movie was headed toward a different direction – a focus on Joy and Fear. 

FEAR. Concept Art featuring FEAR by Tony Fucile (Story Artist). Fear and Joy were at one point the focus of the story while it was in development, before shifting to Sadness and Joy. Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar

“One of the biggest changes I think, for about a year of the 5-year process, the movie was starting to be about Joy and Fear…we were steering away from Sadness for a while and she wasn’t as important, but it became hard to pay that off at the end of the film and to have a resolve that everybody felt good about in terms of Joy learning the value of Fear,” associate producer Mark Nielsen told me in an interview. 

“So Pete, on Father’s Day, he actually went out, took a hike in the woods, just really thinking about the theme of the movie…and he realized that Sadness was actually a stronger memory and was part of the original concept of the film. And we needed to kind of steer the film back toward it becoming about Joy and Sadness.”

BUDDIES. Concept Art featuring Joy and Sadness by Tony Fucile (Story Artist). Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar

A note on outfits. It took a while before the filmmakers decided on which outfits would be worn by the different emotions. Fear and Anger are in preppy work clothes, but for a while Disgust looked very different – she had long hair and no scarf – while Joy was originally envisioned to be wearing a romper and Sadness, a pajama set. 

JOY. Concept Art featuring JOY by Albert Lozano (Character Art Director). In this iteration, Joy is still wearing the initial outfit peg – a playful type of romper. It was later changed to a dress. Photo courtesy of Disney Pixar

EARLY JOY. Concept Art featuring JOY by Ralph Eggleston (Production Designer). Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar

Finally, they decided on a breezy dress for Joy, which she could still move in, and an oversized, comfortable sweater for Sadness. 

LAVA. A beautiful short film always plays ahead of every Pixar feature film. Lava, about a lovestruck volcano, plays ahead of Inside Out and was directed by James Murphy.

LAVA. Pictured: Uku. Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, 'LAVA' is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years. Photo courtesy of Disney-Pixar

James gave reporters some info about how pitching a short film works – one must pitch not one, but 3 complete ideas to the Pixar leadership team, and if you win, you get a budget and a team to help you put the short together.

James pitched his short film by performing the song you’ll hear in Lava

Have you seen Inside Out? What did you think of the movie? Let us know in the comments below. – Rappler.com


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