There’s a certain type of moviegoer who, challenged with locating a meticulously hidden Easter egg buried within a bountifully detailed cinematic shot, is simply in fanboy heaven. If you’re that moviegoer, Toy Story 4 will bring you to nirvana.
According to director Josh Cooley, the Disney/Pixar sequel’s central set piece Second Chance Antiques may be the highly-concentrated location of Easter eggs in any Pixar film, which is already an estimable superlative considering that the studio is among the most well-known planters of said buried movie baubles.
Cooley tells EW, “I wanted [the antique store] to feel almost like a jungle to these toys so that they can get lost just within this one world, and we did a bunch of tests early on to see, can we even render the amount of stuff that’s just in this store? And now it’s one of those things that I think people will take for granted watching it — and they should, because they shouldn’t be thinking about the technology — but behind the scenes, it’s mind-blowing. We were able to hide so many Pixar-specific Easter eggs inside there that it’s just gotta be a record.”
Every Pixar movie ever made is represented, Cooley says, and viewers will notice “some things that are very obvious” — a neon sign illuminating Dinoco (the gas company from both Toy Story and Cars), a painting of Charles Muntz playing poker with his pack of dogs (a nod to Up), the famous Toy Story Pizza Planet truck (although the ubiquitous Pixar staple is tattooed on a carnival worker’s body this time). “There are also some that are a little less obvious,” Cooley continues, “and then there are some that you’ll actually need to freeze-frame and zoom in to see. Really, really random deep cuts that you’re not going to notice unless you physically stop and actually look at the frame.”
For instance, throughout the shelves of the store, signs call out to TripleDent Gum from Inside Out, PJ’s Pop from A Bug’s Life, the Pixar short The Adventures of Andre & Wally B., and filmmakers Ralph “Eggman” Eggleston and Pixar founder Ed Catmull. A sculpture of Catmull’s hand, one of the first computer-generated images, is for sale. A pin-up photo of Geri from Geri’s Game proudly rests behind the cash register.
In the shop’s pulsating speakeasy hidden inside a pinball machine, there are toys whose faces you know (a bobblehead of Oakland A’s player Rickey Henderson) and toys whose names you don’t (that drinking bird thing!). In between, there are toys like Tinny, the star of Pixar’s seminal 1988 short Tin Toy which inspired the entirety of Toy Story in the first place.
Elsewhere, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, famously represented in the first Toy Story film with carpeting in Sid’s house, gets another homage in an antique record player that plays the ever-creepy song “Midnight, the Stars and You.” There are “awards cases from Gusteau’s office from Ratatouille, furniture from The Incredibles, [and] props from Coco,” reports THR, all pulled from a “backlot” of already-rendered objects that have previously appeared in Pixar films. (And speaking of furniture from The Incredibles, fans can now rewatch Incredibles 2 to find Canadian daredevil Duke Caboom was hiding out in Jack-Jack’s crib all along.)
There are at least a hundred more Easter eggs just waiting to be discovered — and in fact, the sheer quantity meant that at least a few spelled surprise even for the director: “We always knew we’d fill this whole store and make it Easter egg central, and it is chock full of stuff, but they gave me over 10 pages of a document of all of the things that are in the store and there was stuff I didn’t even know was buried in there — and I’ve been looking at these shots for years.”
So what are you waiting for, Sherlocks? Get antiquing!