In addition to being known for creating films that can make people of all ages weep, Pixar is seen as a master of easter eggs. Whenever a new Pixar film is unveiled in theaters, we have grown accustomed to spotting (or trying to spot, at least) references to other Pixar films. Whether it is the Pizza Planet truck from the Toy Story films, the ball with the star from the Luxo, Jr. short, or a nod to an upcoming project, Pixar loves hiding easter eggs throughout its films. Toy Story 4 will be no different, either.
There is one set within Toy Story 4 that has an incredible number of items – the antique shop. It is where Woody and Forky first meet new characters Gabby Gabby and Benson, who are residents of the store. The shop is packed to the gills with vintage items. As noted by Cinema Blend, at a press conference held at Walt Disney World last weekend, Director Josh Cooley said:
“…If you pause any frame in the story you’ll see something in the background. From every movie Pixar’s ever done, there’s something in the antique store.”
You might think that the Pixar crew was simply trying to be sly in throwing in so many references to its films within one set. That might be true. However, there is another reason why these references were placed around the antique shop. According to the Cinema Blend article, Cooley added the following:
“The technical challenge in this one was the antique store because there’s 10,000 items for the antique store that all had to be built and shaded and set dressed and everything. We didn’t even know if the computers would actually render that.. So then we needed to just make more stuff to go into that antique store so a lot of it was made for this film. There’s a lot of easter eggs in this movie because we just got lazy.”
“Laziness” is likely not the word that came to mind when you thought about easter eggs being inserted for every film Pixar’s ever made. We tend to associate the word “creative” or “clever” when thinking about these easter eggs. While they are often hidden creatively or in clever locations to prevent audiences from being distracted or sucked out of the story, these objects that reference other films have also been previously “built and and shaded and set dressed.” Each object that is created requires resources – when you have 10,000 items in one location, that is an incredible amount of resources that are needed to make these objects look like they belong and are a part of the world. I certainly wouldn’t call “reusing” these objects a form of laziness – I’ll call it a clever solution!
As Cooley hinted, it sounds like you will need to pause the film throughout the antique shop scenes to catch many of these easter eggs. It is insane to think that there will be plenty of these references that will simply never be seen based on where the “camera” is placed within the antique shop set. It is remarkable and I can’t wait to see it for myself.
Toy Story 4 is inching its way toward theaters now – it arrives on June 21st.