11 Recurring Easter Eggs Found in Pixar Movies
Starting in 1995 with Toy Story, Pixar has managed to consistently push the envelope of animation and wow audiences with their movies, often filled to the brim with Easter eggs and references to other films. This large amount of Easter eggs has led to the birth of the Pixar Theory, which posits that all of the Pixar movies actually share the same universe.
5-Minute Crafts has prepared a list containing the Easter eggs that have made their way into multiple Pixar movies, as well as other remarkable motifs which prove that Pixar is second to none at rewarding their audience with Easter eggs.
1. The Pizza Planet truck
After appearing as part of the plot the first Toy Story, the delivery truck from Pizza Planet has become one of the most iconic Easter eggs from Pixar, making an appearance in every single one of their movies, with the exception of the first The Incredibles, where it hasn’t been found yet.
2. The Luxo ball and lamp
Another way that Pixar pays tribute to its origins is by constantly including callbacks to Luxo Jr., the studio’s first animated project. The animated short is about 2 lamps who interact with the now iconic ball that can be found in several movies, like Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Up, and Turning Red. The junior lamp, on the other hand, ended up becoming Pixar’s mascot, and can now be seen at the start of every movie.
3. The meaning behind A113
A staple of Pixar Easter eggs is the combination of symbols “A113,” which has been found in every Pixar movie, with the exception of Monsters, Inc.. The reason behind it is that multiple Pixar executives, as well as other important figures in the field of animated media, got their start in the animation classroom at the California Institute of the Arts, which had that number. The A113 Easter egg actually transcends Pixar movies, making its way into video games, television series, and Marvel movies.
4. The Chinese food box
In A Bug’s Life, Manny the praying mantis uses a discarded Chinese food takeout box in his circus performance as his “Chinese Cabinet of Metamorphosis.” Since then, the same box has returned for brief appearances in multiple Pixar movies, including Toy Story 2, Incredibles 2, and Soul.
5. TripleDent gum
This Easter egg has thus far appeared in only 4 Pixar titles, but its origin is much more recent than some of the more iconic Easter eggs from the animation studio. It first appeared in 2015’s Inside Out as a chewing gum brand whose commercial had a catchy theme song that played randomly in Riley’s head. Then, 2 years later in 2017, TripleDent was featured as a sponsor of Cars 3’s Piston Cup and as the namesake for one of the film’s racing teams. It also had brief cameos in Onward, Toy Story 4, and Turning Red.
6. Tributes to Apple Inc and Steve Jobs
The relationship between Pixar and Apple stems from the critical role that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs had in the studio’s formation—funding the company in 1986 after buying Computer Graphics Group (CGG) from Lucasfilms. Pixar has paid tribute to Jobs’s legacy by sneaking Apple-related Easter eggs into over 10 movies, most of which are the inclusion of the Apple logo or the cameo of different devices manufactured by Apple.
7. Lightyear’s (2022) callbacks to the original Toy Story (1995)
The Toy Story spin-off tells the story of astronaut Buzz Lightyear as an actual astronaut rather than his toy self, honoring the legacy of his previous movies at multiple turns. Among the multiple parallelisms that Lightyear features, we can find many quotes that come from the original movie, including most of Buzz’s dialog from when he first arrives in Andy’s room in Toy Story. More impressively, the movie also manages to pay homage to scenes from the original series, like the shot of Buzz examining Andy’s room from his point of view in Toy Story, and Buzz’s battle against Zurg from Toy Story 2, both of which are faithfully reenacted in Lightyear.
8. Foreshadowing a future movie
Most Easter eggs from Pixar make reference to a movie or a character that already exists in the Pixar universe, but the studio has also always had the tradition of including an Easter egg that foreshadows an upcoming film.
9. Tributes to classic movies
Pixar movies not only include references to other Pixar projects—they’re full of Easter eggs to other movies as well. Among the most recurrent Easter eggs are the constant references to Jurassic Park and the work of Stanley Kubric. What’s more, there are particular movies that constantly pay homage to the same classic movie franchise, as is the case of Toy Story 2 and The Incredibles with their references to Star Wars and James Bond movies, respectively.
10. Turning Red (2022) and its references to the early 2000s
Turning Red is the coming-of-age story of a Chinese-Canadian teenager, set in the year 2002. As such, the movie is full of references to what was popular at the time. The essence of the early 2000s can be seen in more significant storytelling devices, like virtual pets and the inclusion of boy bands, as well as more minute details that go over most viewers’ heads, like the sicker earrings that Mei sports in the movie—a trend at the time.
11. Historical figures in Soul (2021)
Soul has Easter eggs that connect the movie to the real world in a way that no other Pixar movie does. During the early portion of the movie, it is revealed that 22—the soul that protagonist Joe Gardner is assigned to train—has had multiple mentors throughout history, many of which happen to be important historical figures. We get to see glimpses of people like Muhammed Ali and Mother Teresa in their soul form as they try to train 22, but at a later point, we also get to briefly see the name tags of all the people who tried mentoring her. The scene features a plethora of name tags, some of them belong to:
- Vincent Van Gogh, a painter
- Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist
- Aretha Franklin, a soul singer-songwriter
- Jack Kirby, an influential comic book artist
- Albert Einstein, another renowned physicist
- Johnny Cash, a country music singer-songwriter