Easter eggs to some may bring up images of chocolate, but to cinephiles around the world easter eggs will mean one thing in particular – hidden pop culture references in movies.
Now one unexpected film franchise that is reaching MCU-levels of Easter eggs is Pixar, which has been sneaking in animated in-jokes and messages ever since Toy Story all the way back in 1995.
So it seems the studio aren’t just the masters of heart-wrenching animation – here are their best Easter eggs over the years.
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The longest-running and most obscure Pixar easter egg is the phrase A113, an in-joke referring to the university classroom used by Pixar alum John Lasseter, Tim Burton and Brad Bird. It has appeared in every Pixar film to date apart from Monster’s Inc, from the licence plate on Andy’s mum’s car in Toy Story all the way to a line on the radio in Onward. The Easter egg has cropped up in other animated media too – director Brad Bird has snuck into several Simpsons episodes.
Pixar’s newest long-running easter egg is the food container Manny uses during his circus act in A Bug’s Life (or the “Chinese Cabinet of Metamorphosis” as Manny calls it. The exact same takeout box has started reappearing in recent Pixar movies – both Rileys family and the Parrs use it in dinner scenes in Inside Out and The Incredibles 2, and in Toy Story 4 in Margaret’s fridge while Ducky and Bunny plan their “Plush Rush”.
Incredibles in Land of the Dead
The Land of the Dead was a stunning technical achievement for Pixar, so it’s no wonder they snuck a few Easter eggs in there. The biggest is the appearance of The Incredibles themselves – they appear on a poster while a mascot sets off a firework while Miguel and Hector head to the talent show (worryingly, the superheroes are seen in undead form).
Once Hector and Miguel get to the talent show, one of the performers has the same skull T-shirt as Sid in the first Toy Story film – is no Pixar character safe from death?
Pizza Planet truck
Another of Pixar’s long-running Easter eggs is the Pizza Planet truck from the first Toy Story popping up in all their films (minus The Incredibles). They even snuck it into the medieval-set Brave – the witch who turns Elinor into a bear has a wood carving of it in her workshop.
The Pizza Planet truck isn’t the only Pixar reference the witch has managed to make – if you look closely at the back of her workshop there is also a wood carving of James P. Sullivan himself.
Triple Dent Gum
The fictional chewing gum brand – with *that* advert jingle from Inside Out – reappears in Cars 3, as the sponsor for two of the Piston Cup racers. Never one to forget an Easter egg, Pixar also placed Triple Dent Gum into the petrol station attacked by pixies in Onward.
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
When Imagination Land is being destroyed, the wrecking ball demolishes a castle that looks an awful lot like the one from 1959’s Sleeping Beauty – now better known as the central castle at Disney theme parks.
You’ve probably seen this one – the small yellow ball with a red star has seemingly appeared in several Pixar films. It was the focus of early Pixar short Luxo Jr., and features most prominently in the Toy Story films – Buzz bounces off the ball when he proves he can “fly” in the original, and also appears in the trailer for Al’s Toy Barn in Toy Story 2.
Toy Story was the first fully computer-animated feature film, yet despite this technical challenge the animators still managed to sneak in references to Stanley Kubrick’s less child-friendly The Shining. In a reference which becomes obvious – and eerie – once you realise, the carpet in Sid’s house is identical to that of the Overlook Hotel.
The Dogs From Up
Pixar even sneaked an Easter egg into the poster of Toy Story 4 – look closely in the top left and you can see Muntz and his dogs playing poker, which itself is a parody of the paintings by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge.
Remember that lamp that jumps on the I in the Pixar logo? The Pixar mascot has actually appeared in some form in every film from the animation studio – though it is most notable in Wall-E, as the right arm of the junk model of Eve that the robotic trash compactor builds.
Pixar address on the scare card
Now this as an obscure one – the address on mature student Don’s business card is 1200 Dark Avenue, a play on the address of Pixar’s Emeryville campus: 1200 Park Avenue.
Fraternity House is Director’s Address
The fraternity house address also has a real-life inspiration:
#MonstersU Fun Fact: the address of the OK fraternity house is the same address as the house where director Dan Scanlon grew up.
— Pixar (@Pixar) June 29, 2013
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