The Pixar Theory Timeline: How All Pixar Movies Are Connected [UPDATED for 2022]

The Pixar Theory is a theory that all of the movies and shorts from Pixar Animation Studios and Disney are secretly in one universe. The theory has been around for years, but it was only recently when someone made a timeline to show how all of these films connect as if they were happening simultaneously.

In this blog post, I will go over the timeline and look at each movie individually to see how they fit into place!

What is the Pixar Theory?

The Pixar theory timeline began as a fan theory by Jon Negroni (be sure to check it out). Then it gained significant traction, and I thought it only fitting to spotlight the idea in one of my timelines. Normally I wouldn’t have a chronology for the Pixar films, but Negroni’s theory is too good to pass up.

For the full description of how it all fits together, visit the original post, but for a complete viewing order, read on. The idea behind the Pixar theory is that magic caused creatures or inanimate objects to become sentient (as seen in Brave). These sentient objects eventually take over the world from humans, turning it into a world like Cars.

What’s on the Pixar Theory Timeline?

This timeline includes all of the films from the Pixar Theory, as outlined in Negroni’s theory and beyond.

This timeline also expands Negroni’s theory to include Pixar’s short films where I think they should go. Note that this does not include every short film and TV series, but it does include the major cinematic short films.

All of the Pixar Films in Order

Here is a complete list of the Pixar films as they exist in the Pixar Theory universe, with approximate dates attached for each of them.

We’ll explain why some are sorted where they are in the next section.

  1. The Good Dinosaur (pre-history)
  2. Brave (14th century)
  3. Incredibles (1950-60s)
  4. Incredibles 2 (1950-60s)
  5. Luca (1950-60s)
  6. Toy Story (1995)
  7. Toy Story 2 (1999)
  8. Finding Nemo (2003)
  9. Ratatouille (2007)
  10. Turning Red (2000s)
  11. Toy Story 3 (2010)
  12. Up (2011)
  13. Inside Out (2015)
  14. Finding Dory (2016)
  15. Toy Story 4 (2018)
  16. Coco (2018)
  17. Soul (2020)
  18. Cars (2100s)
  19. Cars 2 (2100s)
  20. Cars 3 (2100s)
  21. Wall-E (2800s)
  22. A Bug’s Life (3000)
  23. Onward (4000s)
  24. Monsters University (4500s)
  25. Monsters Inc. (4500s)

As you can see, the Cars and Monsters films all come far in the future according to the Pixar theory. Why is that? Well, let’s get into the full explanation for the Pixar universe as it stands.

The Order Explained

Where do we start? Of course we’ve got to start chronologically. Technically that would be The Good Dinosaur, but the real meat and potatoes of the Pixar theory starts with Brave, so let’s take a look there first:

The Beginning

Brave is important in the Pixar theory because it explains how magic caused creatures to become sentient.

In the Pixar universe, animals behave like humans sometimes, and Brave explains why that is. The magic in the film makes all of the animals sentient.

We also see this with inanimate objects in the witch’s cottage. These objects are brought to life by the magic in the film, which is why they behave like humans sometimes too.

This can also explain why there are so many talking animals and characters with human-like features in Pixar films – it all started in Brave!

The idea is that, over time, more and more sentient creatures were brought to life by magic. Eventually they outnumbered humans in the Pixar universe, causing them to take over.

The keyword is “sentience”. This is a crucial concept in the Pixar universe.

Due to what begins in Brave, we can understand the spark of why both animals and objects would eventually grow to have more feelings and emotions in modern times. Think of Brave as planting the seeds.

The witch is also a crucial part of this theory, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Early 20th Century

Next, we get the early half of the 20th century.

This is dominated primarily by The Incredibles, and The Incredibles 2, which take place in an alternate 1960s timeframe, according to the director Brad Bird.

In it, we can see the general rise of technology in this time, which has crucial repercussions for the future.

Where does Luca Fit In?

Luca takes place around the 1950s and 60s, but is a relatively isolated story that has little to do with the overall timeline.

However, we can get a glimpse of the more magical realm of the Pixar universe, which is an important connection to Brave, and also to the future film Onward.

Present Times

The present is when most of the Pixar films take place. This is when we really begin to see the evolution of sentience in animals and objects (possibly encouraged by technology like Zero Point Energy from The Incredibles, something that could, in theory, provide the energy needed for inanimate objects to gain sentience).

Chronologically, we see this first with Toy Story, where inanimate objects like Woody and Buzz Lightyear have literally gained consciousness. Not only that, but they experience human emotion as well.

We see the progression of animals in Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, and Up where in each film clock, there are clearly indications the animal life is much more sentient. We even see signs that some animal life is increasing in sentient, much like we see Dory becoming even more smarter as Finding Nemo and Finding Dory progress.

There is also a progression of technology. We see this primarily in the film Up, were artificial intelligence is being used to bridge the gap between the sentience of humans and sentience of animals.

Buy-n-Large (BNL)

A looming antagonist in all of this is the organization known as Buy-n-Large. We see this in a number of different Pixar films, most notably in WALL-E, but we see it earlier in up, when Carl was forced to give his house a way to that corporation.

According to WALL-E, by and large is the Corporation primarily responsible for polluting earth and wiping out all life. It’s no coincidence that we see it in multiple films.

Soul and the Pixar Theory

Soul takes place in the present day, but gives us some key information that supports the Pixar theory.

In Soul we learned that each of the different souls in the Great Before eventually go down to become humans. However, there is evidence to suggest that not all souls are limited to just humanity. It’s entirely possible that these souls travel down to earth, and make up the sentience of various inanimate objects or animals.

This provides a nice little explanation as to why many toys and Toy Story or the animals and Finding Nemo seem to have a soul.

Machines Take Over

During the later Toy Story films, we learned that there is some dissatisfaction among certain toys in their culture. They are obviously not fans of the current status quo.

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that at some point the toys, or the inanimate objects take over. It is likely that this happens after the world has been polluted by the Buy-n-Large corporation.

Either in response to this machine revolt, or prior to it, humans are no longer on the planet. This makes way for the machines to fully take over and develop a culture of their own.

This is where we get all of the Cars films and characters like Lightning McQueen.

In fact, it’s likely that machines completely took human society over, because in WALL-E we see that they are carefully controlling humanity, keeping them placated and dependent on their machines. In other words, they can cause no further problems.

Humans Return

However, that all changes during the events of WALL-E. Eventually humans return to earth, and begin to repopulate.

It is roughly around this time that a bugs life takes place. In fact, one of the fun Easter eggs in WALL-E, is that the plant that grows from the boot grows into a large tree, that bears a striking resemblance to the tree in a bugs life.

We also get no indication that humans are a strong presence in the world during this time. You get the sense that all of this exists in some kind of wasteland.

Life Evolves into Monsters

In the years that follow, a lot of evolution happens. The transitional Pixar film is Onward. Onward shows fantasy creatures living in human like societies.

Perhaps by this time, the magic that first made its appearance in brave, is starting to show itself more and more, either through evolution or through some other magical process.

Whatever the case, humans are no longer around in Onward, but have been replaced by these mythical creatures.

It’s also reasonable to assume that this evolution continued until we get the monsters in Monster University and Monsters Inc.

By this time, technology has evolved enough to for time travel to be a thing, and so the monsters are able to travel back to the present day to harvest the screams (and later laughs) of humans.

Remember that human emotion is a huge part of the Pixar universe in general, so it makes sense that being able to harvest such a thing becomes a source of energy in the future.

Boo in Brave

Then we get Boo.

Boo is one of the more important characters according to the Pixar theory timeline. In Monsters Inc., she learns about the future, and how there are “doors” that are the key to how she found Sully, and a key part of time travel.

It is therefore reasonable to assume, that she may have traveled back in time at some point and became…the witch from Brave.

Now the timeline has come full circle, with Boo, or the witch, once again imbuing objects and animals with sentience. This also explains the way she is able to seemingly vanish by stepping through doors.

Is the Pixar Theory Confirmed?

Pixar has confirmed that there are a lot of connections between the films, and that they might even take place in the same universe. However, it would be a stretch to suggest that their confirmation suggest that this theory, in its overarching plot, is accurate.

Pixar likes to include Easter eggs in all of its films. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the films are in the same universe. But it’s nice to speculate.

I believe that it might be partly true, but not in its entirety. It’s a great way to look at things though!

I certainly think that Pixar does a really good job at keeping their films consistent in theme and tone. What this does is create a series of films that fit well together. It’s easy to find the connections that could explain how these films fit together in a single universe.

That said, I think most of this is just speculation, and Pixar is probably not trying to make sure every film fits into this timeline.

Nevertheless there is a lot that does fit, and it’s very interesting to watch.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. A possible theory about the Pixar shared universe, and how all of its films are connected in some way or another!

Do you think this theory is correct? How many of the connections can you see yourself, and what other links do you think Pixar has hidden in its back pocket to surprise us with later down the line?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Thanks for reading!

Be sure to let me know if one of these films or short films would belong in another area of the timeline better, and why. I love to hear your feedback. You can reach me on my contact page. Additionally, if you liked this timeline, you might like some of our others, including our DC Animated Universe timeline.

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