If there's one thing we know about every fandom ever, it's that they love coming up with theories about their favorite TV shows and movies. Some of their ideas are implausible and outlandish; others are definitely within the realms of possibility. In some rare cases, the theories are actually confirmed to be correct! Can you imagine the feeling of satisfaction those fans must have gotten? Life goals right there...
Of course, the Disney/Pixar universe is so extensive that it's spawned hundreds (if not thousands) of fan theories over the years. It doesn't help that a lot of things in these movies are left deliberately ambiguous! Plot holes only invite further speculation. Plus, with the advent of the hugely connected Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans are keener than ever to spot links between their favorite Disney flicks. A Walt Disney/Pixar Extended Universe? Sign me up for that!
In truth, the majority of the Internet's Disney fan theories will probably remain unconfirmed forever. There's just too many of them for them all to get individually addressed! However, some of them have... and the resulting confirmed information is pretty fascinating for every Disney fan out there. Are you ready to learn some stunning revelations about your favorite childhood (or even adulthood, we don't judge) movies? Prepare to have your mind blown, and then some. There are more obscure connections between characters here than in a Game of Thrones episode, and that's saying something...
25 Finding Riley
Everyone knows that Pixar loves to include little Easter eggs in all of its films. There might be a reference to another movie subtly hidden in the background, or sometimes a more obvious crossover... think Flik and Heimlich from A Bug's Life showing up at the end of Toy Story 2! Eagle-eyed fans try their hardest to spot these links as soon as each new film is released.
When Finding Dory hit our cinema screens back in 2016, most of us were too excited to see what would happen to the forgetful fish to notice any hidden Pixar secrets. However, hardcore fans quickly theorized that Riley (the protagonist from 2015's Inside Out) was one of the schoolchildren that are visiting the aquarium that Dory is trapped in. This remained pure speculation until Disney confirmed the link in a video posted to the official Toy Story Facebook page. Nice!
24 Boo, Is That You?
I know what you're thinking: how can a witch from medieval Scotland be the same person as a child from a futuristic society? Well, quite easily in the Pixar Universe! The claim that Boo and the witch from Brave are one and the same person first appeared in the famous Pixar theory. A Disney superfan named Jon Negroni theorized that every single Pixar movie takes place in the same universe.
What's more, the plot of every Pixar film is linked in some way.
In the case of Brave and Monsters, Inc., the link is Boo. Negroni believes that young Boo missed her monster BFF Sully so much that as an adult, she decided to travel through space and time to find him. During her search, she ended up in medieval Scotland! In a scene from Brave, a carving of Sully can even be seen in the witch's home. Since Disney themselves emphasized this connection in their Pixar Easter Egg video, fans have taken the theory to be basically confirmed.
23 The Little Brother Of Two Surprising Princesses
For ages, the idea that Tarzan is Elsa and Anna from Frozen's brother just seemed like another unrealistic fan theory. Sure, Elsa and Anna's parents could have been shipwrecked when their boat got into trouble. Maybe they somehow ended up in the jungle and had a son somewhere on the journey. But since there's no reference to this tale in either Frozen or Tarzan, it can't be the truth... Can it?
Well, apparently it can! In an interview with MTV, Frozen director James Buck confirmed that Tarzan, Anna, and Elsa are siblings. He'd always imagined that Anna and Elsa's parents didn't perish in that shipwreck, and the plot of Tarzan just seemed to neatly fit his idea. It's a shame that the King and Queen ended up getting eaten by leopards. That poor couple couldn't catch a break.
22 The Genie In Disguise
Everyone Disney fan knows who the bright blue, wise-cracking Genie is... he was possibly the most popular character in Aladdin! The Peddler, however, is more mysterious. He sings the movie's opening number, "Arabian Nights," and introduces the story of a magic lamp that houses a huge secret. But how does he know so much about the lamp and its provenance?
The answer: because the Peddler is actually the Genie in disguise.
The evidence? Both characters have the same voice actor and similar personalities. The Peddler's robe is the same color as the Genie's body. Finally, the two both only have four fingers on their hands. Pretty convincing, right? While this started out as nothing but a fan theory, Aladdin's directors later confirmed that it's correct. They had to cut the big reveal out of the final film, but the Genie and the Peddler are definitely the same guy.
21 Frozen Has A Hidden Political Meaning
Most people watch Disney's Frozen and assume it's just an innocent little story. However, pretty soon after the movie was released, rumors began to spread that it actually had a hidden political meaning! Apparently, people thought that kids would be more likely to act against climate change if they could see just how pretty the colder areas of the planet are. That's right, guys: if we don't lower our carbon dioxide emissions, poor Olaf will melt forever, just like the polar ice caps!
Incredibly, the main promoter of the Frozen/climate change theory was the U.S. government!
They essentially confirmed that this hidden political motive existed in the film when they tried to use Frozen's characters in their environmental campaigns. However, Disney got a bit annoyed about their brand being used for political purposes, and the idea was shelved. You might say that the Obama administration... Let It Go. I'll show myself out.
20 It Was All A Dream
People love to speculate that the events of TV shows and films take place in their lead character's mind. What if it's all a dream or all a figment of their imagination? Disney Channel's former flagship show Hannah Montana was no exception. For years, fans theorized that Miley Stewart's alter ego was either a dream or a crazy fantasy. Maybe she was just another kid whose ambition was to become a famous pop star? Was Miley secretly suffering from some kind of split personality disorder? The conspiracy theories were endless.
While all of these theories were pretty fun to read, nobody actually expected them to be true. However, Disney Channel decided to surprise us all in the DVD extras of Hannah Montana's final season. An alternate ending was included in which the events of the show were actually Miley Cyrus' childhood fantasies. She desperately wanted to become a pop star... and as we know, that dream came true! How heartwarming!
19 Hercules And Ariel Are Definitely Related
Now, Hercules and Ariel might not seem like two Disney characters who are likely to be related. For one, Hercules is set in Ancient Greece while The Little Mermaid takes place literally thousands of years later! However, numerous Disney fans have noted that this pair both descend from mythical gods and thus must be family on some level.
You only have to look at Greek mythology to confirm this theory!
As we know, Hercules is the son of Zeus. Turns out Zeus shares much more than just excellent facial hair with Ariel's father, Triton! Triton is the son of Poseidon, who is the brother of Zeus... Meaning Herc and Ariel are first cousins, once removed. Red hair clearly runs in the family... as does a taste for adventure!
18 Alice Has Fun In Wonderland
Everyone knows that Alice in Wonderland is one of the strangest Disney movies out there, behind only Fantasia! It's pretty faithful to Lewis Carroll's original book, meaning it's full of weird and wonderful characters. There's the Cheshire Cat with his huge, creepy smile, and the appropriately named Mad Hatter. Even the scenery in the film is bright, colorful, and positively trippy at times. But was Wonderland actually that weird, or was Alice under the influence of some interesting things during her trip there?
This is a debate that has been raging on for decades. Some fans are convinced that the smoke that Alice encounters in the film were less than innocent. Others are adamant that fans are reading too much into the movie. However, the clues are pretty definitive. I mean, Alice even eats a questionable looking mushroom at one point! What other interpretation is there?!
17 Aladdin Is Actually A Futuristic Tale
When it comes to the setting of Aladdin, a lot of things are left pretty ambiguous. For one, nobody's quite sure what time period it takes place in! The Genie makes a lot of pop culture references relating to the 1990s, but the characters' style of dress and the design of their city is more at home in the 800s! So which is it: 21st century, or 9th? Well, neither, according to some fans! The real setting?
A post-apocalyptic future society!
Okay, hear me out here. When the Genie is released from his lamp, he says he's been stuck in there for 10,000 years. However, he's clearly aware of life in the 1990s, judging by his jokes. So, the film must take place 10,000 years after the present day! Plus, the official Aladdin video game featured modern-day STOP signs and explosives just hanging around in Agrabah. The remnants of a past society, perhaps? It makes sense...
16 A Story Of Human Destruction
Have you ever wondered where all the humans are in the Cars universe? Like, Lightning McQueen and his friends clearly live on our planet. Cities like London and Tokyo are featured... But where have all of their human inhabitants gone? Are we in an alternate universe where they never existed at all or did the sentient vehicles of the movie... Get rid of them somehow? Fans speculated about this for years, but could never come to a conclusion that wasn't slightly sinister.
Well, it turns out that they were right on the mark with the creepy theories. Pixar Creative Director Jay Ward confirmed in an interview with ScreenCrush that the cars did in fact "get rid of" every single human on the planet. After the vehicles became sentient, they decided that having people around just wasn't necessary anymore! Lightning... Mater... Why?!
15 The Reason Ariel's Mom Is No Longer Around
Just like many Disney heroes and heroines over the years, Ariel (aka, the protagonist of The Little Mermaid) is missing one of her parents. In the third movie in the series, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, it's revealed that Queen Athena was slain by pirates when her daughter was still very young. But which pirate exactly, I hear you ask? Could it be another famous Disney character: Captain Hook?
A lot of Disney fans seem to think so, and Queen Athena's physical appearance in Ariel's Beginning seems to confirm it. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that she looks pretty much identical to a mermaid featured in Peter Pan. Same hair color, same face shape, same tail... everything! It's too well-planned to be a coincidence. It's a tragic fan theory for sure, but one that's sadly basically been confirmed. Poor Athena!
14 Andy From Toy Story Has An Absent Father
As any Toy Story fan will have noticed, Andy (the owner of Woody, Buzz and the gang) seems to have an absent dad. In the very first film, there's not even a whiff of a father figure in Andy's life. His mom shows up a lot, but that's it! Was this simply an accidental move by the animators, or was there something more to it? Fans obviously assumed the latter.
This is Pixar, after all; everything has a hidden meaning!
By the time Toy Story 3 came out, it was basically confirmed that Andy's father definitely wasn't around anymore and that it was a deliberate choice by the series' writers. For example, Andy's graduation photos only feature his mom and his sister. While it's not clear if his parents are divorced or if his father has passed on, he's definitely not a part of Andy's life.
13 Nala Got Banished From The Pride Lands By Scar
Have you ever wondered how exactly Nala manages to find Simba in The Lion King? Like, it's made very clear that Simba is hiding out in a jungle very far from the Pride Lands. Maybe Nala was out searching for food... But even then, it's a long way for her to stray! Would Scar really permit his captive lionesses to stray so far? Lion King fans did come up with one theory: maybe Scar banished Nala? As Simba's closest friend, she was unlikely to have taken his "end" and Scar's rule very well. It's possible that she was sent away after causing trouble one too many times!
For a while, this theory was mere speculation... Until The Lion King musical premiered on Broadway! A new song, "The Madness of King Scar", confirmed that Simba's evil uncle banished Nala. It was a bad move from him... it eventually led to his downfall!
12 A Good Reason For Hating Humans
One of the principal plot points in Pixar's Monsters, Inc. is the fact that the monsters hate and are terrified of humans. But why is this the case? This is one question that's not actually answered in the movie. Fans were left to speculate about the cause of this rift between the species. Was there some kind of war we aren't told about in the film, or is there a more harmless reason behind the animosity?
Sadly, the true explanation is incredibly tragic.
On the Monsters, Inc. DVD, it's revealed that the monsters once lived alongside humans in harmony. However, men eventually drove the monsters away due to their ugly and terrifying appearance. Man, why do human beings suck even in fictional universes? It's no wonder the monsters hate us when we treated them like that!
11 The Enchantress Was In Love With The Beast
We all know the basic premise of Disney's Beauty and The Beast. A selfish and cruel prince is transformed into a hideous monster after he refuses help to an enchantress disguised as an old hag. Still, this always seemed like a bit of an overreaction to us. Wouldn't there have been a simpler way to teach him a lesson? Did the punishment really fit the crime... Or was there another reason for The Enchantress' hatred of the Beast?
Maybe the Enchantress was the Beast's scorned lover?
Many fans thought this made more sense than the usual "I'm going to teach this spoiled brat a lesson" reasoning behind the Enchantress' actions. The official Disney tie-in novel The Beast Within actually confirmed this theory! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned... Especially when she's a witch!
10 The Incredibles Takes Place In An Alternate Universe
Upon first viewing, it's easy to assume that The Incredibles is just set in our world... But with superheroes. However, when you actually take a look at its setting, things start to get confusing. On the one hand, the world seems to have way more advanced technology than we do right now... So it must be set in the future, right? But no; the film's buildings, clothes, and general aesthetic all look like they're out of the 1950s and 1960s! How can it take place in both the future and the past?! What's going on?!
The only explanation that fans could come up with is that The Incredibles takes place in an alternate universe where it's still the 1960s, but humans have created new technologies at a faster rate than in the real world. Turns out they were right! The movie's producer, John Walker, confirmed that this was creator Brad Bird's vision. Spot on, superfans!
9 Elsa Gets Her Magic From A Surprising Source
While Frozen is undeniably a pretty great film, there's one important plot point that's totally glossed over. Where exactly does Elsa get her magic from? It's never explained! It's like she just wakes up one day and BOOM: she can do ice magic! Instead of trying to work out why this has happened, Elsa's parents simply suppress her abilities as much as possible... And we all know how that turned out. Nevertheless, some pretty wild fan theories sprung up about how Elsa got her magic.
Could the planets be to blame?
Apparently so, according to some Disney buffs... and the movie's producers! In Frozen's first draft, Pabbie (aka, the leader of the weird stone trolls) was supposed to explain that Elsa got her powers due to an alignment between Earth and Saturn. However, that sequence was eventually cut, and viewers were left in the dark. Until now, that is!
8 Zootopia Features A Different Couple
When the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast was released, much fanfare was made about the fact it featured Disney's first ever overtly gay couple. LeFou and a random guy were seen dancing together in a romantic way, and the world lost their minds; mostly positively, but with the occasional criticism thrown in. While this was a great step forward in LGBTQ+ representation, it wasn't actually supposed to be the first gay Disney pairing!
Zootopia was supposed to have that honor.
Eagle-eyed fans noticed that the 2016 animated hit featured two male antelopes who are living together, and are presumably involved romantically! Disney later confirmed that the characters were supposed to be a married couple, but censors worried that this wouldn't get past various rating boards. Well, at least SOME progress is being made in this area... LeFou and That Random Guy prove that!
7 Rapunzel, Elsa, And Anna Are Related
So, remember how we said that Tarzan is actually Elsa and Anna's little brother? Well, turns out that he's not the only character from another Disney movie that these princesses are related to! Pretty much as soon as Frozen was released, fans started to wonder whether there was a connection between the royal family of Arendelle and Tangled's Rapunzel. Could the three princesses be cousins?
Well, the evidence is pretty convincing. For one, they do look incredibly similar facially. They could plausibly be related just going by that! Then there's the fact that Anna rushes out to meet Eugene and Rapunzel at Elsa's coronation... Because she already knows them! They're family! It all makes sense. Since Frozen's creators have previously supported the links fans have made between their movie and other Disney flicks, this theory is basically confirmed. Now... Can we have a crossover movie, please?
6 The Reason Why The Vehicles In Cars All Have Different Accents
Have you ever wondered why all of the vehicles in Cars have different accents? Like, they're ultimately just machines: you'd think that they'd all have similar (if not the same) voices! The cynics among you may say that it's just because the film's voice actors had different accents... But what if there's a deeper explanation? Are they assigned vocal styles based on the type of vehicle they are?
Again, this Cars theory has a pretty sinister solution.
Remember how Jay Ward confirmed that the cars "got rid" of all humans when they no longer needed them? Well, in the same interview he explained that the vehicles got their accents from the last person who drove them. Essentially, their voice is now a constant reminder of the owner they, er, dispatched. That's not creepy AT ALL, Jay. Thanks for giving us all nightmares.
5 The Same Tree From A Bug's Life
Here we have another aspect of The Pixar Theory that was seemingly confirmed by Disney through the video on their Toy Story Facebook page. This theory has so many strands, and they all make so much sense! This particular connection links two very different films: Wall-E and A Bug's Life. One is about a robot who manages to save the human race; the other follows an ant colony in their struggles against bullying grasshoppers. However, one thing does definitely connect them.
That thing is a tree.
At the end of Wall-E, the eponymous robot plants a small sapling that he found in a boot. This shoot grows into a huge and impressive tree that strongly resembles the one next to the ant colony in A Bug's Life. The same tree actually appears in Up! Seriously, Pixar. This level of connection between your movies is insane!
4 Problems In Multiple Pixar Movies
Okay, we're almost done with The Pixar Theory here... but not quite. Another major link that can be found in quite a few of the studio's movies is the existence of the BnL corporation - otherwise known as "Buy and Large." In Wall-E, it's noted that this huge, AI-run business has taken over the government of what remains of the human race. However, this is just one aspect of BnL's schemes. They were around for a long time before Wall-E's era...
BnL is featured in various capacities in Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3. It seems to start off as a "harmless" corporation that produces commodities like batteries: the energy source that powered Buzz Lightyear, for example. However, they later become a controlling and domineering force that uses technology to control humans, as shown in Wall-E. Be careful, folks; if Pixar's universe is anything to go by, our technology could be the end of us!
3 Ariel Investigates The Shipwreck Of Elsa And Anna's Parents
Seriously, Frozen is becoming as complex as the entire Pixar Theory with all of these links to other movies! So, you know how its creators loved including little links to other Disney tales in the film, like the Tarzan/Rapunzel/Elsa/Anna family tree? The Little Mermaid's Ariel becomes a part of this web of connections too! Don't worry, though: she's not another of Elsa's long-lost relatives.
In fact, fans quickly picked up on the fact that Ariel explores a shipwreck that could well be the one that the king and queen of Arendelle "perished" in. Of course, we know that they survived, reached the jungle, and went on to have Tarzan... but that's beside the point! Their ship still ended up on the ocean floor somewhere near Norway, where Frozen is set. Guess what country is near Norway? Denmark, the setting of The Little Mermaid! It makes too much sense to be a coincidence, right?
2 Jane Is Belle's Distant Descendant
My word. Is there any character in the Disney universe who isn't somehow related to someone from a totally different film? This time, it's Tarzan's Jane whose family background has to be analyzed. Fans quickly noted that Jane seems to closely resemble Belle, the heroine of Beauty and the Beast. Their facial features are similar, their hair is identical, and they both have a penchant for wearing yellow. While this makes the theory plausible, at least, there's one thing that totally confirms it.
Did you spot Mrs. Potts and Chip in Tarzan?
They're right there in the scene when Terk the gorilla plays the drums on a tea set! How would Jane come to own this famous chinaware? As a family heirloom from her distant ancestor, of course! That's got to be one tough teapot to survive all of those centuries, mind...
1 The Animals In The Pixar World Are Intelligent For A Reason
One of the best features of the Pixar Universe is its wealth of intelligent, talking animal characters. Dory, Nemo, Dug the Dog, Flik... Some of the studio's best-loved protagonists have been far from human! However, have you ever wondered exactly how these animals got so darn smart? Since everything has an explanation in this cinematic universe, it's unsurprising that the Pixar Theory solves this particular conundrum.
To answer this question, we have to go all the way back to Brave. We know that the witch, aka Boo from Monsters Inc., experiments on animals with her magic. She turns Merida's mom into an intelligent bear, for starters! Well, the theory goes that all of the animals that the witch cast spells on started to breed, creating a new line of super-intelligent critters. Their capabilities grew over time, eventually reaching the point we see in our favorite Pixar movies. MIND. BLOWN.