Apart from the last 20 minutes of Toy Story 3, no other Pixar films make me ugly cry more than Up and Inside Out. Up will make you sob over your grandparents' love story, while Inside Out inspires you to feel all the feels about growing up and facing the unpredictability of puberty. Released six years apart, Up and Inside Out both have an emotional intensity that often flies right over little kids' heads, but I definitely have soft spots for them. Thanks to a surprising reveal, we now know that their heaviness isn't the only thing connecting them to each other. Inside Out has an Up crossover moment that you definitely missed, but the subtle Easter egg is worth an Inside Out rewatch to see if you can catch it.
Perhaps setting itself apart as the first Pixar movie primarily for older viewers, 2015's Inside Out introduced the concept that people's memories are categorized in their minds based on the emotion with which a memory is best associated. The memories are also color-coded, with gold meaning a happy time and blue correlating to sad memories. The movie's token human, Riley, is approaching teenagehood, and her emotions are going a little haywire.
Joy and Sadness, dueling forces within Riley's mind, become lost in Riley's long-term memory, where glowing orbs store all of the memories from throughout her life. However, two very discreet, background memories suggest that Riley had quite the inventive imagination. According to BuzzFeed, Reddit user HellotoHorse recently pointed out startling, familiar images within two of Riley's memory orbs in the storage unit.
If you look very closely, you can spot two sad memory orbs that resemble Carl and Ellie's wedding day and longtime home in Up. You might think that this is just another of Pixar's attempts to toss in little subtleties for its devout fans, but in the context of Inside Out, it possibly means so much more.
Every orb in that scene is a memory from Riley's own life, which leaves only two, equally mind-blowing solutions of why these Up scenes appear in her mind. You know, apart from the realistic likelihood that Inside Out animators just wanted to put in a fun Easter egg that didn't involve too much work on their part.
The first explanation is that, despite the elaborate Pixar theory fans crafted about how the films all exist within the same world, Up is only a movie in Riley's own universe. Perhaps she watched it at an early age and Carl and Ellie's beautifully sad life together was her first introduction to heartbreak. I certainly have vivid memories of the first movies that made me noticeably upset.
The other possibility is a little more far-fetched. Did Riley make up the entire story of Up in her mind? The 2009 movie is definitely fantastical enough for an eleven-year-old to create it herself, but believing this theory is like the soul-crushing equivalent of realizing that Dorothy's adventures in Oz were all a dream. Carl and Ellie weren't real within the Pixar universe? Unacceptable.
Fans just noticing this little crossover now only offers more proof of how much Pixar loves its Easter eggs. The studio's most recent movie, Incredibles 2, even apparently has an obscure Toy Story 4 clue hidden somewhere, but people hoping to crack the code are out of luck. Producers insist that the little shoutout probably won't make sense to viewers until Toy Story 4 premieres in 2019. Until then, there are plenty of other clever references to other Pixar films you can find within Incredibles 2.
Now, BRB, it's time for me to watch Inside Out and look out for this Up moment myself.