There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love all things Disney and liars. But after watching the movies over and over again, you may find yourself looking elsewhere to get your Disney fix. Cue: epically-detailed fan theories. They lurk on Reddit, Tumblr, the group chat, everywhere!
While most fan theories never get confirmed, or even debunked — they just exist— it’s still fun to come up with new ideas for how all these classic and modern animated films are connected. TBH, many of these theories are totally plausible. Heck, Disney itself even basically confirmed the in-depth Pixar theory with which the internet is obsessed. Things can’t get more canon than that, right?
So if you’re done taking our ultimate Disney trivia quiz, learning which Disney “facts” aren’t actually true, and reading all about upcoming Disney movies, check out these mind-blowing fan theories.
1. Lilo and Nani’s parents from Lilo & Stitch were in the CIA WALT DISNEY PICTURES
Though Mr. and Mrs. Pelekai die before the events in the movie take place, one fan theory believes they led secret lives — and Cobra Bubbles holds the key. We’re supposed to assume a former CIA agent left the business to become a social worker? Highly unlikely. What’s more likely is Cobra worked with either one or both of Lilo and Nani’s parents in the CIA, which would explain why he hasn’t already yanked Lilo out from under Nani’s care. Furthermore, the theory suggests Lilo’s love of photography and unusual taste in books are due in part to her parents’ CIA influence. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
2. Wheezy from Toy Story 2 was secretly a villain WALT DISNEY PICTURES; PIXAR
Wheezy the penguin, who Woody saves at the beginning of the movie, seems like a sweet guy, but is he really? According to one theory, Wheezy, forgotten on a shelf, probably became jealous watching Andy play with Woody, Buzz, and the gang all the time. So when it came time for the yard sale, Wheezy wasn’t even trying to save himself, and knew Woody would attempt to rescue him, possibly getting sold in the process — which is exactly what happened. With Woody out of the picture, Wheezy would have a better chance of getting attention from Andy. Plus, remember how Wheezy didn’t say anything when Woody fell off of Buster the dog? He did nothing to save his “friend” after his friend saved him.
3. The book Belle describes at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast is another famous Disney movie WALT DISNEY PICTURES
During the song “Belle,” aka the tune the townspeople all sing about how weird Belle is, Belle describes her favorite book: “Far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!” To one fan, this sounded like Aladdin, but another claimed it was Sleeping Beauty. For starters, Aladdin is disguised as a prince, not the other way around. Prince Phillip, however, is a prince in disguise when Princess Aurora meets him — mostly because she doesn’t know he’s a prince. Plus, we get a glimpse of the book when Belle reads it while sitting among the sheep, and it looks more like Sleeping Beauty than Aladdin. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
4. Boo from Monsters, Inc. is the witch from Brave WALT DISNEY PICTURES; PIXAR
This one treads some sci-fi turf, but bear with us. (Get it? Bear? Brave? Anyway.) The witch from Brave magically disappears when she goes through doorways — something the scarers from Monsters, Inc. can do, too. Is it possible Boo learned a trick or two from her bestie Sulley? Of course, Brave takes place hundreds of years before Monsters, Inc. — but if Boo can teleport through doors, it would make sense that she can also move through time a bit. Before you dismiss this theory, check out the carvings in the witch’s workshop — there’s a carving of Sulley in there, even though he won’t exist for a few more centuries. (There’s a separate theory that Boo is really Bonnie from Toy Story, but don’t be fooled. Her name is the same as the actress who voices her: Mary.)
5. Emily from Toy Story 2 is actually Andy’s mom WALT DISNEY PICTURES; PIXAR
You may remember Jessie’s owner, Emily, from Toy Story 2 — and probably bawled when she dumped Jessie in the donation bin — but is it possible she grew up to be Andy’s mom? When Andy is playing with Woody in the original Toy Story, he’s actually wearing a Jessie hat, not a Woody hat. Did he inherit that hat from his mom? And does he own those vintage toys because Emily’s reliving her childhood via the Roundup gang? Also, Emily’s childhood room décor was 1960s flower-power, and Toy Story came out in 1995 — which would make Emily in her 30s. Perfect age to have a 6-year-old kid, just sayin’. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
6. Tarzan’s Jane is descended from Princess Belle WALT DISNEY PICTURES
Not only do they look alike and love the color yellow, but consider this: In a scene in Tarzan, Terk is drumming on a tea set. The pot looks suspiciously like Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast, and one of the teacups even appears to have a small chip. Some have speculated that could mean it was an heirloom passed down from great-great-great-grandma Belle. That might also explain why Jane knows how to connect with ~wild~ guys.
7. Elsa and Anna are Rapunzel’s cousins WALT DISNEY PICTURES
This one’s hard to argue with. Rapunzel and Eugene are clearly seen arriving at Elsa’s coronation, and considering they don’t live in Arendelle — Tangled is set in Germany — they must be on the VIP invite list. There are also a few family similarities. Both Rapunzel and Elsa are blonde, and both have powers that look pretty but are kind of weird. (Glowing magic hair? Snowmaker hands?) That would explain why the King was such a jerk about Elsa’s powers — if his niece was kidnapped for her magic hair, it would make sense he’d want to conceal his own daughter’s powers. In other words, maybe he’s not the worst after all. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
8. The King and Queen of Arendelle died on the way to Rapunzel’s wedding WALT DISNEY PICTURES
Speaking of VIP invite lists, what fancy affair were the King and Queen attending when their ship capsized? During a Reddit AMA, Frozen director Jennifer Lee said the king and queen were headed to a wedding. Was it Rapunzel’s wedding to Eugene? The timing is right, since Rapunzel still looks pretty much the same at the coronation. And the trip was supposed to be two weeks, which would be a reasonable amount of time to travel about 1,600 miles round trip by sea and land. Oh, and speaking of the shipwreck…
9. Ariel may have found the sunken ship of the King and Queen of Arendelle WALT DISNEY PICTURES
If they capsized halfway there, that would be right around Atlantica. And their ship does look suspiciously like the one Ariel pillaged — er, explored — in The Little Mermaid. Check out the whole I-N-S-A-N-E theory that connects Frozen, Tarzan, and The Little Mermaid here.
10. The King and Queen survived the wreck — and became Tarzan’s parents WALT DISNEY PICTURES ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
During the same Reddit AMA, Lee said, “According to Chris [Buck, co-director], they didn’t die on the boat. They got washed up on shore in a jungle island. The queen gave birth to a baby boy. They build a treehouse. They get eaten by a leopard.” She was joking, of course…we think. Check out the full explanation here.
Of course, this would then make Tarzan the little brother of Anna and Elsa. Tarzan was raised by gorillas, but he’s definitely a human.
11. Aladdin takes place in the far-off future WALT DISNEY PICTURES
The genie complains that “10,000 years will give you such a crick in the neck!” But then he makes a bunch of modern-day, pop culture references, including impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Nicholson. So unless the magic lamp has been sitting in front of a TV in the Cave of Wonders, we have to assume Aladdin takes place 10,000 years from now. Of course, there’s one other possibility…
12. Aladdin never happened at all WALT DISNEY PICTURES
There’s always the possibility that the entire story was completely fabricated by that salesman in the opening scene, so you’d buy the lamp. (Gasp!)
13. Carl dies at the beginning of Up WALT DISNEY PICTURES; PIXAR ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
The first few minutes of Up are a harsh dose of reality — we need a box of tissues just thinking about it — so it’s weird the rest of the movie is filled with magical elements like flying houses and talking dogs. One possible explanation: Carl actually passed away the night before he was going to be taken to Shady Oaks, and the movie follows his journey into the afterlife. As if it wasn’t sad enough already!
14. In The Incredibles, Violet and Dash were once super-newborns WALT DISNEY PICTURES; PIXAR
The family doesn’t realize Jack-Jack has powers until (spoiler alert) he turns into a tiny human fireball at the end. (Things get really hectic in Incredibles 2!) But if the family assumed he was normal, that means the other kids must have had their powers evident at birth. And how crazy would it be to see a newborn baby with super-speed or the power of invisibility?
15. Ariel’s mom was in Peter Pan and was murdered by Captain Hook WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS
Disney is no stranger to easter eggs, and this one seems to be more than 30 years in the making. The mermaids in Peter Pan may not be super memorable, but there is one mermaid who sticks out more than the rest, a young redhead who bares a striking resemblance to another famous Disney mermaid. While we never meet Ariel’s mother in The Little Mermaid, in Ariel’s Beginning we learn her name is Athena. The mermaid in Peter Pan is never named, meaning her name could be Athena. It is also revealed Athena was killed by pirates, and the mermaids in Peter Pan have a less than cordial relationship with Captain Hook and his pirates. Could it be that Hook killed Ariel’s mom? ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
16. The Little Mermaid’s Ariel and Hercules are cousins WALT DISNEY PICTURES
Anyone who’s studied Greek mythology will quickly realize how these two Disney characters are totally related. In The Little Mermaid, Ariel’s father is King Triton, who in Greek mythology is the son of Poseidon, God of the Sea. This makes Poseidon Ariel’s grandfather. Greek mythology also dictates Poseidon is Zeus’s brother, who in Greek mythology and Hercules, is Hercules father. This means King Triton and Hercules are first cousins, making Ariel and Hercules first cousins once removed.
17. Nemo didn’t survive the attack that killed his mother and siblings WALT DISNEY PICTURES; PIXAR
Finding Nemo opens to arguably one of the saddest Disney scenes of all time. Marlon’s wife, Coral, and all of their eggs are attacked by a ferocious fish, leaving Nemo and Marlon the only survivors. However, some fans believe Nemo never survived the attack, and the movie is just an allegory of Marlon dealing with the stages of grief. The evidence? Let’s start with the fact that in Latin “Nemo” means “nothing,” hinting to Nemo being nothing more than a figment of Marlon’s imagination. Secondly, the five stages of grief are easily mapped out in the movie. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
DENIAL: not wanting Nemo to go to school
ANGER: yelling at Nemo when he swims out too far
BARGAINING: journeying across the ocean
DESPAIR: seeing Nemo flushed down the drain
ACCEPTANCE: learning to finally let go of the past
18. Sven’s mom was killed by ice harvesters, and Kristoff is wearing her pelt WALT DISNEY PICTURES
At the beginning of Frozen, viewers are introduced to a young Kristoff and baby Sven, and when you eventually meet the duo later in the film, it is clear they have been friends for as long as they can remember. At first, their friendship seems innocent: Kristoff needed a way to get around the cold tundra, and a furry reindeer is the perfect companion, but it turns out their friendship has a much darker connection. Baby Sven is never seen with a mother reindeer, leaving many to believe she’s been slain by the other ice harvesters, and her pelt was given to baby Kristoff to keep warm. Meaning Kristoff has been wearing the fur from his best friend’s mother his whole life.
19. A scene in The Emperor’s New Groove is actually one of a brutal human murder WALT DISNEY PICTURES
Disney movies aren’t afraid to get dark, but for the most part The Emperor’s New Groove is just a fun movie — right? It turns out The Emperor’s New Groove has a really dark side, one you saw and totally missed! Remember that fly Kuzco saw get eaten while he was walking through the scary jungle? That fly wasn’t just a fly; it was a human who had been turned into a fly. Only animals who have once been human are able to speak in the movie, so the fly would have had to have once been a human for Kuzco to have heard his screams. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
20. Inside Out’s Bing Bong is really a monster from Monsters, Inc. WALT DISNEY PICTURES; PIXAR
Inside Out may have given the illusion of being nothing but laughs, but anyone who’s seen it knows it’s a total heartbreaker. The saddest part of the movie is easily when Bing Bong sacrificed himself so Joy can save Riley, and even though it was completely necessary, a little piece of you died inside. But if this theory is believed, that gut-wrenching moment isn’t as sad as it seemed. Many fans theorize Bing Bong is actually a monster from the Monsters, Inc. world who used to visit Riley when she was younger, much like Sully visited Boo. If this is true, that means just the memory of Bing Bong died — not Bing Bong himself.
P.S. If you’re wondering why we didn’t mention the “Pixar Theory”…
Most Disney fanatics are familiar with the intricate theory that attempts to connect every movie in the Pixar universe. But there’s one problem: It claims Carsis set in the future, when animals no longer exist due to pollution. But Cars takes place shortly after the construction of Interstate 40, which bypassed Route 66 a few decades ago. As shown in flashbacks, most of the Cars characters were in Radiator Springs during its heyday. Most cars don’t last 20 years, so it’s unlikely they’d survive from the mid-20th century all the way into a dystopian future. RELATED STORY The Ultimate Disney Quiz & Trivia Game RELATED STORY Disney Movie Myths Everyone Still Believes
KARA WAHLGRENKara Wahlgren is a New Jersey-based freelance writer specializing in health, entertainment, and personal finance. STACEY GRANT Snapchat EditorStacey Grant is the Seventeen Snapchat Editor who also covers entertainment topics specializing in nostalgia, such as classic ’90s and ’00s Disney Channel and Nickelodeon content