The Big Picture

  • Toy Story
    and
    Monsters, Inc.
    have similarities as both feature unlikely friends who find trouble, but the connection between the two franchises is thin.
  • A fan theory suggests that Boo from
    Monsters, Inc.
    grows up to be Andy’s mom in
    Toy Story
    , but there are flaws in this theory.
  • Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar, debunked the theory and explained that the Easter eggs in Pixar movies are not meant to impact the storylines of other films.



It’s widely known that Pixar includes a constant stream of Easter eggs in each one of their films. From the Pizza Planet truck hidden in nearly every movie to sneaky hints for their upcoming projects, Pixar always creates several references to their other works, usually in small, subtle ways. Fans search for these Easter eggs and try to use them to connect otherwise unconnected films. On the surface, beloved Pixar classics Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. have little in common, apart from the fact that both franchises feature a pair of unlikely friends who didn’t get along when they first met and have a habit of getting into trouble. In fact, the two stories occur in entirely different worlds —one with monsters and the other with living toys. However, Monsters, Inc. includes a child from the human world, creating a potential link between the films. This is how fans believe the two franchises may connect, and some even point to evidence from the films.


The Easter eggs began a fan theory that claims Boo (voiced by the young Mary Gibbs) from Monsters, Inc. shows up as a character in Toy Story. By connecting a few points, thistheory suggests that Boo grows up to be Andy’s mom. If it is true, it would be mind-blowing, but first, it must prove itself. Unfortunately for the fans of this idea, the connection is thin, even before Pete Docter weighed in and debunked it entirely. Docter is the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and has been involved with several of the studio’s best films, including Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. The truth is that Pixar’s Easter eggs aren’t meant to impact either film, but that doesn’t stop theories from spreading.

monsters-inc-movie-poster

Monsters Inc.

In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, two monsters realize things may not be what they think.

Release Date
November 1, 2001

Director
Pete Docter , David Silverman , Lee Unkrich

Runtime
92

Writers
Pete Docter , Jill Culton , Jeff Pidgeon , Ralph Eggleston , Andrew Stanton , Daniel Gerson



What Is the ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Monsters, Inc.’ Theory?

Despite being a significant part of Monsters, Inc., little is known about Boo’s life. She barely speaks and, as a human, she serves as both a mystery and a terror to the monsters of Monstropolis. Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) spend a lot of time with her but don’t even know her real name, nicknaming her “Boo” because it’s one of the few things she actually says. Yet the film does show one familiar thing that inspired the fan theory that Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. have a deeper connection. When Sulley returns Boo to her bedroom at the end of the movie, among the toys in her room is a doll that looks like Jessie (Joan Cusack) from Toy Story. This single Easter egg leads fans to believe that Boo was Jessie’s original owner seen in Toy Story 2‘s flashbacks.

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In Toy Story 2, Jessie tells Woody (Tom Hanks) about her life with a little girl named Emily, who grew up and forgot about Jessie, eventually abandoning the doll. As a young girl with a Jessie toy, Boo fits the description of Emily, though the girl’s rooms seen in the films are different. However, the theory assumes the doll seen in Monsters, Inc. and the character in Toy Story are the same when that is not necessarily true. Toy Story 2 shows a toy store aisle filled with Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) toys, so why can there be only one Jessie doll in existence? Boo has a Jessie doll, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same Jessie. Another problem with the theory is that Boo’s name, which is signed on her artwork as Mary, is not Emily. Theoretically, Boo could live in the same world as Toy Story, but that doesn’t require her to be in the film itself.

Is Boo From ‘Monsters, Inc.’ Andy’s Mom in ‘Toy Story’?


However, this fan theory ignores those facts. So, assuming Boo and Emily are somehow the same, the theory goes further to make Boo an even more significant character in the Toy Story films: Mrs. Davis (Laurie Metcalf), aka Andy’s mom. Though Andy’s mom is a driving force for the plot in several of the films, she doesn’t have a large part, meaning there is no information about her life before the franchise begins. One detail, however, has driven speculation that Emily (who is Boo, in this theory at least) grew up to be Andy’s mom.

The Jessie doll has been around long enough for her owner to grow up, but the theory focuses on Andy wearing a red cowboy hat. Despite his favorite toy, Woody, having a brown hat, Andy’s hat looks like Jessie’s. Emily also wears a red hat that matches Jessie’s, leaving people to suspect that Emily grew up and passed her hat down to her son. This, again, ignores the fact that toys are mass-produced. Andy could be wearing his mother’s old hat, but that doesn’t mean it’s Emily’s as well. And it would be strange for her to keep the hat to pass on to her child, but not her favorite doll. The theory does nothing to explain these flaws, though it is a nice thought that Jessie could have made her way back to the same family.


Pixar Executive Pete Docter Debunked This Theory

While it is theoretically possible that Boo, Emily, and Andy’s mom are all the same person in the Pixar universe, the theory was debunked by Pete Docter, who wrote the story for Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Monsters, Inc. If anyone would know the validity of this theory, it’s Docter. When asked if Andy’s mom could be Emily, Docter said that the filmmakers created a different backstory about that, yet didn’t explain further, in case it became important to later films in the series. As far as the crossing over of the two worlds, Docter explained that for each story, they created different worlds with no intention of a connection. He even admitted that the idea of them being the same “breaks my head a little bit, to be honest.”


Nevertheless, Easter eggs do exist. Docter’s explanation here is logical but less exciting. Each object in an animated film takes individual work, so at first, reusing different objects was simply a time saver. But it quickly became a fun tradition that the studio keeps up. These visual references are exciting and provide something for fans to discover even after multiple watches, but they don’t always have to mean something. Sometimes a character doesn’t need a backstory, and a reference to another film is nothing more than a cute addition that saves the studio time. Connections can be fun, but they are often blown out of proportion. The idea that Boo is Andy’s mom is far-fetched and debunked by Docter, but fans can believe it if they choose. However, this theory was never the creators’ intention and shouldn’t be stated as fact.

Monsters, Inc. is available to stream on Disney+ in the U.S.

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