How Does ‘Elemental’ Fit Into The Pixar Theory?

Pixar launched itself into animation history with the release of Toy Story in 1995, and has built a name for building bold, unique worlds with curious yet deep takes on the real world we live in. Whether it be exploring the ocean in Finding Nemo, where the monsters in our closets live in Monsters Inc., or even a world run by the elements in Elemental, we’re transported to a world beyond our own, even if it doesn’t seem that different.

So it should come as no surprise that the internet has been trying to connect these worlds together for years now. It all starts with a 2013 blog post from theory creator Jon Negroni, where he argues that the Pixar films are all tied together, starting with Brave and ending with Monsters Inc. 13 Pixar films have been released since that initial theory was launched, and while Negroni has moved on from the theory in recent years, many other content creators have come to fill that hole.

As Elemental flows to Disney Plus for its streaming debut, many are wondering where exactly the latest Pixar jaunt fits in with the grand Pixar Theory. Thankfully, YouTube duo SuperCarlinBrothers have an idea of exactly where the fiery film fits.

Love is energy

As explained by J in the above video, the main factor connecting all the Pixar films in energy. This energy is powered by memory and emotions. It’s the reason we have sentient cars, toys, and bugs, the reason we have superheroes, and the reason humans turn into monsters in the Pixar world. However, Elemental shows us that it goes deeper than just emotion and memory creating this powerful energy.

The main plot of Elemental is Wade (Mamoudou Athie) and Ember (Leah Lewis) working together to help prevent Ember’s dad’s shop from being shut down. In the process, the two end up falling in love, and Ember starts to realize that the dream her parents set up for her is not the dream she wants to live. In a lot of ways, Elemental mirrors Inside Out as similar to Joy’s journey, as Ember realizes that she doesn’t have to follow the stereotypes of fire and can be who she wants.

Thus, she and Wade go on a journey of emotions throughout the film as their relationship blossoms. However, when the two get “love tested” by Ember’s mother, the smoke from their “essences” forms what appears to be a DNA chain. As J explains, the “reaction” that occurs when Ember and Wade touch is that pure energy that is the basis for the memories and emotions that power the Pixar universe. Since it’s two different elements reacting to each other, it’s essentially a chemical reaction created by love.

The beginning of time (before dinosaurs)

Photo via Disney

Since Elemental shows us exactly how the energy that powers the Pixar universe is created, it’s clear it’s now the first film in the Pixar theory timeline. Originally, this spot was held by The Good Dinosaur as of course, the film that takes place during the Jurassic Age is the beginning of time. While this would still make that film the second film in the timeline, Elemental is essentially the Big Bang of the Pixar theory timeline, as it shows exactly how the universe we know is created: by elements coming together and forming a reaction.

Some argue that 2020’s Soul is actually the beginning of the timeline, since that film introduces us to Pixar’s version of the afterlife and therefore a potential version of God. But the film never directly addresses how the universe was created, so most Pixar theory fans put that film later in the timeline, closer to films like Toy Story and Turning Red. So thanks Pixar, for finally explaining that the energy that makes toys come to life is just water and fire reacting to each other.



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