‘Inside Out 2’: All the Easter Eggs and Hidden References You Might Have Missed Including a Nod to Pixar’s Next Feature, ‘Elio’
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‘Inside Out 2’: All the Easter Eggs and Hidden References You Might Have Missed Including a Nod to Pixar’s Next Feature, ‘Elio’

SPOILER WARNINGThis story mentions major spoilers for “Inside Out 2,” now playing in theaters.

Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” continues to bring joy to audiences around the world, dominating the global box office. The sequel to 2015’s “Inside Out” picks up with Riley, now a teenager about to go to hockey camp when puberty hits. Enter a range of emotions that include Ennui, Embarrassment and Anxiety.

Speaking with Variety, production designer Jason Deamer reveals there is no shortage of easter eggs in the sequel. Eagle-eyed viewers should be on the lookout for nods to characters from the past such as Bing Bong, and a hard-to-spot teaser of the upcoming “Elio” is also planted in the film.

The longstanding tradition of hiding easter eggs began years ago. “We have to entertain ourselves when we work. We wanted to have a digital backlot from all the movies we’ve ever built, just like you would on a live-action set or backlot. And that’s where it came from. It just snowballed into what it is today,” Deamer added, “We just find anywhere we can to hide stuff because it’s a super fun thing to do.”

Below are all the hidden nods you might have missed.

Elio

PIXAR

Pixar’s “Elio,” about a boy who is chosen to become Earth’s ambassador to other galaxies, is set to be released in 2025. As with previous films, the company likes to hint at its next film, and “Inside Out 2” does not disappoint.

It’s a hard one to spot, but Deamer acknowledges there’s a well hidden easter egg. Look closely at the memory spheres during the sarcasm sequence. “There’s one of ‘Elio,’” says Deamer.

Luxo Ball

Deamer acknowledges the yellow Luxo ball, hidden in many Pixar films, is hidden in the background. When the emotions are inside Riley’s mind, they come across a parade of careers — all the possible jobs she could hold in the future, and yes, she tinkers with the idea of being a Supreme Court judge.

4*Town

Disney Pixar

Riley loves her boy bands, and one of her favorites is 4*Town, once the biggest boy band on the planet. They first appeared in 2022’s “Turning Red.”

Riley has a poster above her bed. “It’s actually the 4*Town reunion tour poster,” Deamer says. “It’s the aging boy band returns. I was the character director on that film. But someone made a joke and said that she was super into the band, so we jammed that one in there.”

Bing Bong

Bing Bong’s return seemed inevitable after Riley’s imaginary friend disappeared during “Inside Out.”

The last time audiences saw the elephant, he was left fading as he tells Joy to “take her to the moon.” But Riley wasn’t the only one who had feelings for the beloved character — so did all the animators. “Everyone wanted to bring back Bing Bong,” says Deamer. So they found a way.

Bing Bong’s return happens early on in the film. After Riley wins an ice hockey game, she falls asleep. Joy’s bunk has a Bing Bong figure on the shelf. Says Deamer, “Joy hasn’t forgotten Bing Bong, so Bing Bong is in Joy’s cube, done in origami.”

Lance Slashblade

Disney Pixar

“Inside Out 2” embraces mixed animation styles.

Inside Riley’s mind, cartoon characters from Riley’s childhood Bloofy and Pouchy appear, hidden deep in Riley’s vault of secrets.

For that, the team embraced various styles including 2D. At the film’s premiere director Kelsey Mann said, “We love animation, all styles, and we’re so excited that we’re able to do multiple things in this movie.”

Neilsen explained that Lance SlashBlade, from a game Riley used to play that recalls “Final Fantasy,” is portrayed in the style of an early-2000s video game, “Lance SlashBlade, I think is a standout for all the gamers out there and for people that know gamers.”

Lance’s sword also hides another nod, this one to hockey. “In the center of it, there are the sharpened blade edges of the sword and then in the darker section of the sword, there’s a hockey stick,” he reveals.

In animating Lance, Deamer says, “We were asked to do a digitally simple thing. We had more meetings about that character and how much pixelation was too much.” He adds, “There were about 14 people in the room for about 12 weeks wondering ‘What do we mean by not as good-looking quality? and where do we land?’”

Ralph Eggleston

Pixar animator Ralph Eggleston, who worked on “Toy Story,” “Monsters Inc” and the first “Inside Out” died in 2022. This easter egg is perhaps Deamer’s most personal homage, and a favorite. “He was a friend and mentor to me,” says Deamer, who says that viewers will see that “he’s the mind worker in the projections area. He’s the first one to go with Joy’s character.”

Eggleston, Deamer used to work in pastels and would always have the colors all over his hands. “He’d put his art around him, and he collected DVDs and laserdiscs, so that detail is in there. You’ll see his art in that moment.”

A113 and Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’

Teen Riley has dark secrets in her mind. What they are has yet to be revealed.

The vault holds a classic Pixar easter egg. Above the door to the right, the numbers are etched in Roman numerals. It’s in reference to the character animation classroom at Cal Arts, the school many Pixar animators attended, a number which has appeared in several films.

When the group of emotions are about to enter the vault for the first time, there is a shot of a seal of Riley on the floor. “That is an ode to the Terry Gilliam film ‘Brazil,’” says Deamer.

Big Bird’s Puppeteer Caroll Spinney

Nielsen wanted a nod to someone very special to him. “Caroll Spinney is the puppeteer who played Big Bird and Oscar. He sadly passed away, but I still wanted to give a little nod to him in the film.”

After Riley and her friends win a hockey game, they hang out and eat pizza. The pizza boxes say Spinney’s Pizza.

Angelique Jackson and Jack Dunn contributed to this story.