Nothing More than a Theory
With the minor caveat of having drawn its entire inspiration solely from one of the most unintelligible and idiotic videos I have ever seen, Jon Negroni’s theory that all Pixar movies not only take place within the same world but also serve to establish a connected timeline is nevertheless a very interesting one. Like most conspiracy theories, Jon’s proposition makes use of many seemingly related happenstances and strings them together in to a plausible proposition, which he then offered up as a work-in-progress theory.
Jon’s thesis described the mammalian race’s elevation from dumb beast to near-human intelligence and the associated increase in tension and conflict this rise brought throughout Brave, Ratatouille, and Up, only stayed by the sentient machines’ hostile takeover hinted at in The Incredibles and during the Toy Story series preluding the apocalypse obviously featured in WALL-E. According to Jon, Cars and Cars 2 take place some time after Earth becomes uninhabitable for humans, after Buy-n-Large sends the human race away on the Noah’s Ark-like Axiom, and before WALL-E in the eight hundred years while the machines cleanse the now-polluted planet. During this time the machines achieve their goal of restoring Earth to its previous glory. However, when the humans fail to return, they make a home for themselves, though die out quite some time before WALL-E picks up presumably from lack of fuel, a strong theme in Cars 2. Following WALL-E and the re-colonization of the planet, A Bug’s Life takes place, and Jon’s theory dictates either the gradual fade of the human race, unable to sustain themselves on Earth, or a union of the previously-at-war human and animal species as a last-ditch effort to sustain life, the result of which can be found in Monsters Inc and, by extension, Monsters University.
As if all that did not go far enough, Jon threw another curve ball in to the mix by identifying the witch in Brave as Boo from Monsters Inc traveling through time in search of her friend Sully using not necessarily magic, but the doors of Monsters Inc which, rather than opening in to another dimension filled with humans, actually travels through time to a day when mankind still inhabited the Earth.
Characterizing this theory as anything less than fantastic, in every sense of the word, would fall hopelessly short of conveying its brilliance, even if Jon does have it wrong. I wanted to believe him — I really did. I even started writing this article under the assumption not that he was in any way wrong, because I really love the idea of a connected Pixar universe, but that instead he did not have the whole picture: not only were Pixar’s movies involved in this complex overarching timeline, but Disney’s own films post-Pixar as well. His failure to see this was how I intended to explain the holes in The Pixar Theory. But as I continued thinking about his theory though, the more I tried to prove its validity the more the evidence against it piled higher and higher until I could not, in good conscience, purport to ascribe to his idea any longer.
Even from the onset, I had my doubts: Brave, Ratatouille, and Up all end happily, as does every Pixar movie. In Brave, the Scotts no longer hunt the elusive black bear, and Merida grows closer to her family by the movie’s end; at the end of Ratatouille, Remy has his own restaurant alongside Alfredo Linguini; and Up ends with Carl stepping in for Russell’s absentee father and adopting Doug. None of these movies, as Jon holds in his theory, prelude an eventual war between the human and animal species. The same goes for The Incredibles and the Toy Story trilogy, which allegedly foreshadow an impending mechanical apocalypse: The Incredibles end with Syndrome implicitly — but not explicitly — dead and the robot he created irrecoverably destroyed. And rather than the depressing tale of subjugation, imbalanced reliance, and unrequited love Jon spins Toy Story as, the series is nothing more complex than a story about kids growing up and moving on. In neither movie, The Incredibles nor Toy Story, can the discontent Jon describes as the motivator behind the dystopian mechanical future seen in WALL-E be found.
And then there was Finding Nemo, a movie about fish almost entirely set in the ocean. Other than serving to further the notion of equality between animals and fish supposedly present in Brave, Ratatouille, and Up, I can see no purpose for this movie in the grand Pixar timeline.
Like most conspiracy theories, where the base idea contains at least one kernel of truth amidst each bushel of misconstrued coincidences giving apparent credence to the government’s latest exploit, Jon found and cited enough evidence to make his theory appear not only credible, but obvious almost. But also like the great majority of conspiracy theories, the evidence seemingly pointing unequivocally toward its factual nature is in actuality nothing more than a series of convenient coincidences that, when looked at from just the right angle, give the impression of certainty. Jon’s Pixar theory is nothing more than a happy accident, and a very interesting coincidence.