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Headscratchers / Coco

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     Ernesto on Dia de los Muertos 
  • Ernesto seems perfectly happy performing for the dead on Dio de Los Muertos, rather than traveling to the land of the living. He's a beloved musician whose photo must be on hundreds of ofrendas; if he wanted to leave, he could have his pick of probably anywhere in Mexico, if not the world. Is he so confident of being remembered forever that he no longer bothers to cross the bridge every year? Is there no one he particularly cares for enough to visit, or are there so many fans that he knows he couldn't possibly visit them all? Or is the implication more that he doesn't really give a toss about his living fans so long as they continue to give him power and prestige in the afterlife?
    • Frida wasn’t out visiting ofrendas in the Land of the Living, so it couldn’t have been that Ernesto didn’t care to visit his ofrendas, especially since he has to dedicate an entire room to storing his offerings. The living fans have dead family of their own, so it could be that the dead family members retrieve celebrities’ offerings, which are then brought to the celebrities to whom they were offered.
     Non-Mexican skeletons 
  • So what happens to people outside of Mexico when they die? Do they never get to leave the Land of the Dead because their families don't do ofrendas? Do they get forgotten quicker because passing down the memories isn't as important to other cultures? Or do the same rules apply to them at all?
    • I just assume that it's something like All Myths Are True — if you're Mexican, have an ofrenda, and/or celebrate Dia de los Muertos, then the Land of the Dead is your afterlife and your soul works according to all the rules in place there. Whereas if you abide by another culture or tradition, then your afterlife works according to the customs of that culture. With that said, the Day of the Dead isn't strictly a Mexican thing — the Italians have a holiday with a similar concept and on the same date, with deceased family members coming to visit you in the world of the living.
      • A variation of this is that all national days of the Death counts if you have a sufficient number of family members who remembers you. A Japanese skeleton could possibly travel during the Bon Festival provided they appear in a Butsudan.
     Passing of memories 
  • Héctor specifically says that the memories must be passed on by a living person in order for him not to be forgotten. But aren't his memories already passed on? Even though they are bad memories, Miguel does know about his great-great-grandfather. That he loved music, that he left his family for example.
    • I think they have to be memories shared by a living person that knew him in life.
    • So? Wouldn't then the memories be from Mama Imelda?
      • Héctor mentioned that someone needs to be remembered "as they were". Imelda remembered Héctor as an irresponsible bum who chose his legacy over his family, but Coco and Ernesto were the ones who knew Héctor as he truly was: as a man who loved using music to make others happy, especially his family. It had to be Coco's memories that kept him alive, because that is what Héctor truly was in life instead of what they thought he was.
      • Well that just causes a different headscratcher, since no one remembers the real Ernesto, just his carefully crafted lie.
      • To be fair, Ernesto is a great singer and a very charismatic man, he didn't lie about that. He's just not a songwriter and he's not a good person. It's possible that the reason why not even the bad memories counted for Héctor was because even the bad memories were so few. Imelda didn't pass down stories about Héctor; she tried to erase every trace of him from the family. The two examples you listed (that he ran out on his family and that he was a musician) are in fact the only things Miguel knows about him, to the point that literally any Mexican musician from that era could have been his great-great grandfather. To be remembered, perhaps someone needs to remember something unique to you—like how Coco finally passed down the story of the letters and the song Héctor wrote for her.
      • To add on to the above-person response, I have to emphasize one part: Miguel didn't even know Héctor's name. Not even an initial or family name. They know about him in relation to Imelda, but not as his own person. In story terms he's "man in flashback", not a person in his own story with his own life.
      • It's possible that one's true personality can exist in the afterlife if it's possible to deduce what it's most likely to be based on clues that exist in the living world, even if by means of Sherlock Scan. Imelda is reputed as a music hater by her living family, but she was an ex-musician who tried to stop another generation of her family from experiencing the same heartbreak as she did. The fact that the family picture includes Héctor prominently displaying the guitar stolen by Ernesto lends weight to that conclusion. Héctor was believed to be a drifter who didn't deserve to be remembered, when in fact he was on a quest for inspiration and was murdered by his ambitious friend. This, in addition to Ernesto's true nature, is alluded to by the fact that Coco remembers the songs her father wrote (even if vaguely), as well as by the poisoned toast scene in a film starring Ernesto; this is very likely the only true creativity in de la Cruz's screenwriting, hinting that a) he completely lacks creative talent, and b) the scene was based on a true story.
      • It's also possible that there needs to be at least some minimum level of Intent associated with the act of remembering someone. You have to not only remember or pass down stories about the person, you have to desire that those memories and stories keep them alive.
    • Adding to all this, the few things Miguel does know about Héctor are all lies or fabrications that Elena told the rest of the family. For example, in the opening, Miguel tells the mariachi that Héctor heedlessly left his family to pursue a dream of playing music for the world, and that Imelda started the shoe business after he left as a means of providing for Coco. But in reality, the shoe shop was already in business before Héctor left, and Héctor was a loving father who sought to support his family by doing what he loved, which is why he went off to travel. Whether this was the original story Imelda told Elena or if Elena twisted it around to enforce the intended moral, it meant that any future members of the family who remembered it weren't really "remembering" anything at all. She may as well have told them Héctor was a trapeze artist who ran off to join the circus, and it wouldn't have made any difference.
    • My guess is that Héctor wouldn't have completely disappeared once Coco forgot her memories of him; the single memory Miguel and his relatives were told about him would be enough to keep him remembered, but it's such a simple, barebones memory and has such little truth to it that Héctor would be left the way he was when Miguel left the Land of the Dead: too weak to stand, constantly on the verge of falling apart and disappearing.
     Skeleton mortality 
  • Are people in the afterlife just as vulnerable as a living person? Can they survive events that would be fatal to a living person?
    • They'd probably survive. It seems the only real danger they face is losing bits of themselves, since they are skeletons. However, several skeletons have shown the ability to pull themselves together, so even that might not be a huge issue.
    • We've seen that fall damage doesn't hurt them nor does dismemberment. There's no bathrooms so presumably food is just for taste. There's no proof Ernesto had a final death when the bell fell on him so it's unknown if they're vulnerable to fall damage. People have jobs though, like the TSA style security and bodyguards, though it's unknown what they do with the money. Or if there even is money - maybe those people were TSA workers in life and work simply out of boredom.
      • Since there's apparently no such thing as necessities in the land of the dead, it's entirely possible that any currency is used to purchase luxuries for your afterlife. Like, say, tickets to the Sunrise Spectacular (not to mention food at the concession stand). After all, it would be a boring death if all you ever did was stand around being remembered.
    • Pretty sure that when Ernesto was about to throw Miguel to his doom, someone yelled "No, he's a living boy!" suggesting he would have survived if he were a skeleton.
      • That was Héctor who said that, but it was more in response to Ernesto not letting Miguel go home to the Land of the Living, since he will die if he doesn't get back before sunrise.
     Getting away with murder 
  • How did Ernesto manage to avoid being caught for murdering Héctor?
    • He hid the body, it seems. No one in Héctor's living or dead family knew exactly how he died. To them, he just ran off. Heck, Héctor didn't even piece together that he was murdered until Miguel pointed out the toast.
    • In real life, people who died from even more obvious cases of foul play haven't had proper autopsies. So it's entirely possible that Ernesto just reported the body and pretended it was a case of food poisoning like Héctor himself believed.
    • It was 1930's Mexico. The last vestiges of the Old West. They were on the road in a town where no one knew their names. If Ernesto just took the next train out of town, he'd be an unknown bloke who died in the middle of the street, buried in an unmarked grave by the city.
    • Okay, first of all, rules of rural Mexico aren't the same as the old west. Second of all, there wasn't any technology yet that could detect that Héctor was poisoned with... poison, not with chorizo. It was actually the late years of the 1910's to the early years of the 1920's (the sign of the Rivera's workshop says "shoemakers since 1921").
    • Still, Mexico was in the middle of a war for half the 1920s (the Cristero War of religion) infamous for people being forced to join either side of the war so people disappearing wouldn't be that unusual.
      • Except the Cristero War spanned from 1926 to 1929—five years after Héctor was poisoned.
    • He could have just passed on the food poisoning story or simply state he collapsed and most people would have probably believed it. Even ignoring Mexico's states of affairs at the time, a man traveling through a rural part of anywhere and becoming deathly ill weren't terribly unexpected for the time. You also have to consider that it was generally accepted that only the weak or women would even consider using poison, so a strapping apparently strong man like Ernesto would be beneath suspicion in a poisoning.
    • For the sake of accuracy: it was not 1930's Mexico, but 1921. The only part of Mexico that can correspond with the old west is the north, and Héctor was murdered in central Mexico, more specifically Mexico City. Which means it's also not rural Mexico; Mexico City was and is still the largest metropolitan area. The Cristero War happened in the latter half of the 1920s, so Héctor would have been dead for a few years by then; however, 1921 is the year after the end of The Mexican Revolution and five years before the Cristero War, which means it can still be assumed as a period of tension and likely with unstable law and security enforcement, as it would happen in a country rebuilding itself after a decade of war.
      • It is never specified where Héctor dies, and by looking at that scene it does not look anything like Mexico City did back in the day. He was most probably in a town in Michoacan, or maybe in the State of Mexico.
  • Yeah, I get puzzled as to how the heck Hector's family didn't know the real reason why Hector isn't coming back. Isn't there missing persons report in the 1920s or something? If a relative of mine unexpectedly vanished without trace, I would just alert the police and file the missing person's report which brings me to another question: how come Imelda didn't think of calling the police and file a missing persons report?
    • In the 1920s, they didn't have the record-keeping to keep track of anyone (especially travelers) and, back then, when people came up missing or dead, you'd shrug, mourn, and keep it moving, after all, if your loved ones disappeared that was just the end of it. On that subject, even if you did report your relatives missing, the police probably wouldn't have been able to do much of an investigation anyway.
     Catching up with Imelda 
  • After Mama Imelda died, why didn’t Héctor meet up with her and tell her how he meant to come home all those years ago, but couldn’t because he was dead?
    • Considering Héctor's nervousness around her and Imelda giving him the cold shoulder up to the end of the movie, it's possible he did try to tell her, but she refused to listen and kicked him out before he could explain.
      • In the movie, Land of the Dead Imelda does mention turning Héctor away when he tried to talk to her. He probably wasn't even able to get a word in.
    • Plus, so far as he knows, he died from eating some bad food on the road - something that wouldn't have happened if he'd stayed home with his wife and daughter. Have to imagine there'd be some guilt about that.
    • They probably have restraining orders in the Land of the Dead, though Imelda would not even need that with Pepita at her side. Just tell her grab Héctor and dump him miles away whenever he comes near and he'd give up pretty fast.
    • Imelda isn't just angry that Héctor didn't come home. Even after it's revealed to her that he died before he could make it back, she's still angry with him, though she does seem softened by his apology. By the looks of it, she never wanted him to leave in the first place— in opening sequence, when they show him actually leaving, both Imelda and Coco are standing in front of him, implying that they tried to persuade him to stay. Admittedly, this is Miguel's description of events, and so the story has been filtered through four generations, but later on Imelda tells Miguel that she stopped performing because she thought Coco was more important than music, suggesting that she sees Héctor's leaving as proof that he felt differently. The fact that Héctor died before he could come home isn't enough for her to forgive him, because she's actually blaming him for betraying her and Coco by leaving in the first place.
    • My guess is that Héctor tried telling her what had happened, but she found it too much of a coincidence that he only happened to die of food poisoning just as he was on his way to the station to come home, and so she didn't believe him. (Especially since we see a lot of characters joking that he just choked on a chorizo instead.) But with Miguel to vouch for him being murdered, going so far as to provide a motive for Ernesto to have done so that hinges entirely on Héctor trying to go home, she sees him as having more reason to be forgiven.
    • I was also under the impression that part of the reason Imelda turned Héctor away was because she felt bad about causing him to not be able to cross the bridge or be remembered by his kin, and she didn't want to be reminded of that by looking at him every day. She might've believed more of his story than she let on, but it only made her feel worse about what she'd done.
    • It is also important to look at this from Imelda’s perspective — it’s not like she disowned Héctor, died a few days later, and then met up with him in the afterlife immediately. He “ran off” when they were both about 20, and she didn’t see or hear from him again for 50 years (give or take). How do you think you would feel if you unceremoniously ran into your deadbeat husband from 50 years ago who is just now telling you it was some trivial, stupid thing that kept him from coming back?
     Work hours 
  • When do the dead who are working on Dia de Los Muertos get to visit their families? (i.e. the clerks, the security officers, etc) Do they take shifts? Are they only visiting every other year?
    • It sounds like they work in shifts. The officer who catches Héctor when he tries to escape lets him go so that he (the officer) can get to his own family.
    • Also, some cannot stand their families, sometimes mutually, to the point of removing them from ofrendas. They may staff the office with such people.
     Coco honoring Héctor 
  • Why didn't Coco start honoring Héctor after she was an adult? She clearly loved him as a child and kept all the letters and even a torn photo. Or even do it once Imelda died?
    • The prologue reveals that Mama Imelda passed on her hatred of music and Héctor even to her grandchildren, not that Coco passed them on to her own kids directly. I think we can assume it was so embedded into the family by the point Mama Imelda had passed that Coco didn't feel she could go against Imelda's wishes even though she was now the eldest living member of the family.
    • It's also quite possible that Coco harbored negative feelings toward Héctor during her younger years which only began to soften as she got older.
      • Alternatively, when she saw how her mother was able to turn the rest of the family against the music that she once loved, Coco felt ashamed that she didn't share the sentiment even as she squirreled away all the keepsakes from her missing father. After all, she didn't bring them out again, didn't even hint as to their existence, until she heard proof that her family had once again allowed music into their lives in the form of Miguel singing her papa's old lullaby.
    • Imelda was born in 1899 and died in the 1970s. Coco was born around 1918 and would have been in her 50s by then, which likely means her children were already grown. It's unlikely they would have shifted the whole paradigm they had grown up with without a reason, when it had worked out for them all their lives. And, going back to before Imelda's death, the novelization also makes it seem as though more than hating music, Imelda is afraid of it, as it brings back painful memories. Coco chooses to follow along the ban in public for her mother's sake, while still dancing in secret. Years later, after having a dance related injury that scares her daughters, she chooses to leave music as it had hurt her own family as well.
    • Maybe Coco's dementia had already set in by the time Imelda had died, and she wasn't cognitive enough to remember to put up Héctor's photo.
      • The novel touches upon this, as Coco wanted to put her father's picture up and did secretly rebel against Imelda's ban on music (this is actually how she meets her husband Julio) but, when she hurts her ankle after dancing in secret, she sees her daughters crying, thus she probably didn't put his picture up for fear of hurting them again, coupled with Imelda's ban.
    • Not sure if this was suggested already, but maybe once she grew out of her childhood innocence (which is when she compiled the letters and torn photo), Coco didn't remember Héctor as fondly as is being suggested. Maybe she let Imelda's manipulation get to her so that she thought her father actually had abandoned them — her subconscious memories of him could've been there in the meantime, but she didn't choose to act on them or tell anyone until Miguel told her that, yes, her father loved her a very great deal. And she was so happy to hear his lullaby again that she lapsed into telling everyone his stories.
     Héctor's murder 
  • It's a good thing that Héctor's music is revealed for the living world, but could people eventually find out that he was murdered by De La Cruz? Not that it would matter now, but still.
    • I thought that was implied by the "forget you" sign tacked up on his tomb. While there wouldn't be any direct evidence, the fact that he built his entire career entirely on the songs and even the danged guitar of his late partner, who just sorta disappeared, without even a single word of credit being given. Or returning that guitar/other possessions to his partner's family. Or breaking off some of the riches made from songs he didn't write to the writer's widow and small child. So no direct evidence of foul play...but golly there does seem to be a lot of smoke there.
      • Especially since Héctor's flashback implies Ernesto spread the lie that he died from food poisoning. That story might seem innocent on its own, but it's bound to cast even more suspicion on Ernesto by proving he knew about his friend's untimely death and tried to brush it aside, all while continuing to play songs the public now knows were stolen.
    • It's possible that they did have Héctor's remains exhumed and tested.
  • There’s another thing that has always bothered me, however, and that is why it was even necessary for Ernesto to kill Héctor at all. Mexico has hundreds, thousands of songwriters, any of whom would dream to be paired up with a man as charismatic and vocally talented as Ernesto De La Cruz. Why kill Héctor, and not just buy the rights to perform his songs? And when those run out, he could hire another songwriter and probably be just as successful as he was before. Then Héctor would have enough money to support his family, as he would continue earning royalties from the songs, and Ernesto would get the fame he always wanted without having blood on his hands. All of this could have been resolved rather easily if both Ernesto and Héctor had stopped to think it through.
    • In Héctor's defense, he isn't obligated to put any more thought into it; if he doesn't want Ernesto to play his songs, he's well within his rights to say so. But beyond that, the film only works when certain characters act in contrived or unrealistic ways in service to the plot — Ernesto has to be a complete sociopath who's in line with murdering his best friend over every other conceivable option, just like Imelda has to assume her well-meaning husband willingly abandoned her, and her descendants have to be willing to carry on an irrational hatred of music because of her misjudgment.
     Destroying the photo 
  • Is there any reason why Ernesto didn't just destroy the photo? The whole conflict in the third act is because they need to take it back from him. Why didn't he just immediately rip it up instead of keeping it in his pocket?
    • Maybe he didn't find it necessary. The only one who could bring it back to the living world is Miguel, and he is trapped in a pit and is about to become a skeleton himself.
    • He's extremely cowardly and doesn't like to do anything directly. His murder of a man half his size was via poison. Any violence he performs in the movie is via his security guards.
    • He's proud of himself for being ruthless enough to "seize his moment". He was keeping the photo as a trophy.
      • Supported by the fact that Ernesto made a movie with a scene based on his murder of Héctor, meaning that he wasn't at all ashamed of what he had done.
    • Besides, torn photos still counts (as we know for the ending). Unless he made it into very tiny pieces, even if the photo is torn in half or four will still count. So he would have to keep the pieces, thus he can keep the whole photo for that matter...
    • I'm not trying to defend any of Ernesto's horrid qualities when I say this, but in addition to all that's suggested above, I think that deep down, he did still harbor some endearment toward Héctor. Take note of how dismayed he is when he sees that his old friend is on the verge of being forgotten and that he takes his time thinking over his request for help, instead of having Héctor thrown out immediately. He still chose to protect his fame and noteriety over honoring their friendship, but that doesn't mean he didn't value that friendship at all. As far as Ernesto knows, Héctor's photo is one of the last signs that he ever existed - mayhaps he just doesn't have the heart to get rid of it, even if he won't go so far as to share it with the rest of the world.
  • How did Ernesto get the poison for Héctor so easily? Seems like a strange thing to conveniently have on a small table.
    • Unless, of course, he'd been planning it for a while, in case Héctor decided to go back to his family earlier than expected, as we know he eventually did.
      • It's likely that Héctor's discontent and desire to return home has been building for some time, with Ernesto managing to talk him out of it until now... while making contingency plans (including having the poison on hand) to kill him if he insisted on leaving.
    • There are lots of substances that people carry around or are perfectly legal to buy (cleaning products, detergent, nail polish, etc.) that are toxic if swallowed. Ernesto might have improvised with something he had on hand while on the road.
      • Héctor would have tasted it if he had; there's no mistaking nail polish for even the crappiest tequila. Ernesto having planned this for a while makes the most sense.
    • The Fridge page suggests that he used arsenic, which was easy enough to obtain, difficult enough to determine as a cause of death, and caused symptoms similar to those Héctor claimed to experience before dying.
      • To really add to this, if my memory is correct (from watching a bunch of crime dramas), arsenic either tastes sweet or it's tasteless, thus Héctor really wouldn't have thought anything wrong.
    • ^Your memory is half-correct. Arsenic is tasteless and so was much preferred.
     Stealing from the Dead 
  • Why did Miguel not get sent back to the Land of the Dead at the end?
    • The guitar was no longer stolen from the dead which Ernesto actually did; it originally belonged to Héctor, who turned out to be a relative. As such, that makes the guitar a family heirloom, back in the hands of a family member.. So no consequences for Miguel touching it the third and last time.
    • Adding to this, the third time Miguel touches the guitar was right after he returned to the Land of the Living with Imelda and Héctor's blessings. Héctor was the original owner of the guitar and just gave Miguel his blessing, so Miguel taking the guitar wouldn't count as "stealing", but as "passing down" a family heirloom instead.
    • Also, when sunrise occurred, Dia de Los Muertos was technically over, so the Land of the Dead got closed off until the next year.
     Héctor's attire 
  • Héctor is restored to his family and has gained the credit and fame he decided was less important than family. But he remains in his pauper clothing except for the shoes Imelda made him. Possibilities to explain this:
    • Héctor and Ernesto were on the road. Touring. So there is no way for the Rivera family to to know which town they were in, so they could exhume Héctor's bones and return them to be with the rest of the family.
    • Or since Héctor spent approximately 90 years in the Land of the Dead with his recognizable outfit, he's used to these clothes and simply prefers them,
    • Or, since Héctor spent the majority of his time in the place of the nearly forgotten and almost was completely forgotten himself, he keeps these clothes as a reminder of how precious memories are, and perhaps even as a gesture of respect for those he has seen fade to the final death... Who weren't as lucky as he was.
    • Héctor's outfit is less tattered at the end, without the holes and frayed edges.
    • Maybe nobody among his living descendants thought about offering him new clothes or, since the film ended during his first day of the dead where he's allowed to cross the bridge, he still didn't have the chance to pick them.
     Héctor's photo I 
  • Where did Héctor get that black and white photo of himself in the Land of the Dead?
    • Word of God has confirmed that he had it on him when he died.
     Guitar in the Shrine I 
  • When Miguel returns from the Land of the Dead the first time, the guitar is still on the floor despite the fact that the people nearby went into the shrine. Why didn't they put it back?
    • The second time no one else entered to the shrine.
      • He got teleported to and from the Land of the Dead
  • How were people remembered before the invention of photography? Aside from been a requirement to visit the world of the livings it helps to not be forgotten and suffering Cessation of Existence, what happened to every person who wasn't famous enough to be remembered by history and died before a photo could be taken from them?
    • Modern tradition uses photos and portraits for their convenience and accuracy, and so, the film follows suit. But the Pre-Hispanic tradition simply used any kind of effigy that could represent the dead to their loved ones (Like the Ones in medieval cemeteries, Cathedrals etc.), like carvings, sketches, old belongings, and so on. The point isn't that it HAS to be a photo on the altar (though it definitely makes it easier to understand for most audiences), but the act of giving your loved one a spot in the ofrenda, whatever form you use to represent them, means they still live in your memory and they still have the love of their family.
    • It also could be that in this universe the afterlife only exists since the invention of photography, allowing people to be remembered long after their deaths. Notice how we don't see anyone from The Middle Ages or any other pre-photography period, aside from some indigenous peoples that could be from post-photography times.
    • The above is disproven by the fact that you can see the Land of the Dead has colonial and pre-hispanic buildings on its lower levels, and Miguel looks from the marigold bridge to see the bottom bridges. As the first comment explained, any object belonging to the person can be placed on the altar. It's possible the enforcement of border crossing is different depending on which era the person belongs to, as there surely can't be photographs of people who lived before they existed.
    • The presence of buildings do not disprove the theory that after-life happens after the invension of photography, as buildings do not die and don't go to the after life (as far as we know) so the buildings were created by the dead at some point and maybe the dead architects just went for a retro look with the help of some dead historians and archeologists.
    • It's still an incredibly shaky theory that's only basis is you judging this ancient holiday based on the viewpoint of someone from a very recent period of time. What makes photographs so special that the years of alternatives before they were widespread wouldn't have counted? As was mentioned, they're in use now because they're what most people use in the living world, for convenience - which only lends credence to the idea that the Land of the Dead develops to using different methods as the living world does.
     Ernesto's offerings 
  • If Ernesto spends every Day of the Dead hosting a swanky party and a concert, how does he find time to bring home his offerings? We haven't seen that being world-famous gets you special treatment at the Dead TSA, since the agent scans "Frida," so it's not like he could send staff or anything in his place. Yet he has to get to altars all over Mexico.
    • Most if not all of his fans, dead and alive, have their own families, who also worship Ernesto. They would act as an escort for the offerings to Ernesto, and bestow them upon him when they get the chance. There's probably a set of customs regulations for offerings to celebrities like Ernesto, who couldn't possibly visit every single shrine in Mexico dedicated to them in one night.
    • The "Frida" scanning isn't a sign that celebrities don't get special treatment. The TSA were just checking if it's really her or an impostor.
  • There were several Aztecs at Ernesto's party. While individuals like Montezuma have plenty of stories and about them, and are certainly remembered, but considering the atrocities the Spanish committed, how many individuals would be remembered? While we're on this topic, based on the rules of the film just how do we define stories? For example, I can see someone as famous as Ernesto having several biographers. Even if they don't find out about the murder, I can easily see them discover Ernesto having a partner named Héctor at the beginning of his career. Would any of this count as stories? Or at least would they have enough "charge" to sustain Héctor?
    • Ernesto probably gave his biographers very limited information about Héctor; not enough for anyone to have much idea of what kind of person Héctor could've been.
      • Hmmm Ernesto really had no (selfish) reason to talk anybody about Héctor. The only way people in 2017 could learn about Héctor from Ernesto would be if they made a titanic effort to research Ernesto's origins, somehow stumbled into evidence of him performing with Héctor early in his career and then decided to follow on it. It's a tremendously gratuitous effort to make without a reason to suspect that Ernesto was lying about his accomplishments.
    • The Aztec people could very well have just been people in costume.
    • Aztecs did not extinguish, in fact they still exists, they're the Nahua peoples and they still speak their language and keep some of their customs, their civilization disappear but they didn't. Thus the Aztecs in the movie could be relatively recent dead Nahuas.
    • "...but considering the atrocities the Spanish committed..." Pardon me, but Spanish attrocities never extended to trying to have the Aztec people forgotten. Mexico is an Aztec word. Montezuma's living direct descendant is a Spanish duke. The Spanish history books mentioned how they conquered the Aztecs, not claimed they found Mexico empty or already populated with Spaniards.
     Age after death 
  • Why was Coco an old lady in the land of the dead, when everybody else in the family was in their prime? Did everybody else die young?
    • Perhaps they can just appear however they want, or how they were most remembered as.
    • Being basically animated skeletons, the inhabitants of the Land of the Dead don't show their age as much as living people, except at the extreme ends (very young or very old) of the range. According to Lee Unkrich, Imelda lived to her early 70s.
      • Given the fact that they have no skin, the only physical feature left on the skeletons that would indicate their age is their hair, which can easily be dyed both in life and (presumably) in death.
    • The Doylist argument would be "because the characters should remain recognizable to the viewer".
      • I definetely found this to be the reason, perhaps with a mix of the below mention. A good example is how Héctor was killed when he was 21 while Imelda lived to her early 70s, yet she and Héctor look about the same age as skeletons.
      • They don't look the same age. Imelda looks a bit taller, her face is broader, her hair has streaks of grey, and her voice most importantly sounds very noticably aged compared to his.
    • Maybe it's based on the photography put in the Ofrenda, almost everyone else looked young in their pictures, while Coco's picture depicted her as an old woman. The only other one who looked old is Julio and he matched his picture of him alive.
    • It's worth pointing out that, unless a person is very weak due to memory of them fading (see Chicharrón), people in the Land of the Dead are shown to be completely unaffected by the more serious physical consequences of aging; in the epilogue, Coco is seen walking perfectly fine with the rest of her family, when she could barely even move just before she died. As such, the way each person carried themselves prior to their death can't be taken into account, which can significantly affect how old they come across.
    • If nothing else, Imelda's voice does not sound like she's still in her prime. She sounds as old as my 70-year-old grandma, who also happens to still have her black hair, so it's not inconceivable that she be around that age.
    • Apparently, this was used to emphasize how long Héctor was separated from Coco, as he died when he was 21, while the latter passed when she was presumably in her 90s (if I'm doing the math correctly).
      • In terms of the other ones, it's most likely that they look like that in the afterlife because that was how they looked when they died, as Imelda died in her early 70s (the wrinkle-like marks on her skull and streaks of white in her graying hair), her brothers definitely look as young as about their mid 20s (I'm lead to think that they were probably Héctor's age if not older), Rosita could pass for late 40s- early 50s , Victoria looking to be roughly middle-aged if not her mid 30s (her skull has crow's feet/smile lines), and Julio looking as though he's probably in his late 60s-early 80s at the most (Given Coco's age, this is likely). Granted, it's not said exactly how old the other family members were when they passed (let alone what they died of) but it' possible that's how old they were when they passed away, so they look like that.
    • Possibly the apparent age of the deceased reflects how the living remember them looking? Usually that would be the same as their age at death, but not necessarily always. Imelda's descendants might remember her looking younger than her actual age at death, because the ones too young to have met her personally have mostly seen photos of her as an entrepreneur in her prime. It's the memories of the living that keep the dead embodied at all, so the nature of those memories might affect their skeleton-bodies' appearance.
     Memories of Héctor 
  • Why didn't Héctor disappear from the Land of the Dead when Coco died? Since he mentioned to Miguel it wouldn't work if Miguel remembered him since he never knew him before he was dead, and Coco was the last living family that knew him what kept him "alive"?
    • Héctor specifically says that the memories must be passed on by a living person. Miguel only at first knew of Héctor's existence via Héctor himself, who was already dead. After Miguel jogs Coco's memory with the "Remember Me" song, Coco immediately starts telling stories about Héctor to Miguel and his family, thus passing his memory and keeping him from disappearing even after her death.
    • There's also the fact that there's now a museum dedicated to Héctor.
  • When Ernesto's true colors are revealed he refuses to give Miguel his blessing and return him to the Land of the Living so he can preserve his secret, but what exactly did Ernesto think Miguel would have been able to do to expose said secret? (A) Miguel is a kid, who would have taken him seriously? (B) Miguel would have had to explain how he knows what he knows which would have been another problem altogether, (C) his family are notorious music haters which would make his credibility even more questionable than it already was and (D) Héctor's murder happened decades ago making the likelihood of anyone uncovering the truth even with thorough investigation impossible.
    • Maybe not in the Land of the Living. But Ernesto knew that if he was the right age to be Miguel's great-great-grandfather, then his great-great-grandmother was certainly dead at this point, and very likely knew of Miguel's presence in the Land of the Dead. And judging by the contest announcer mentioning a family in search of a living boy, he would've concluded that they were worried sick and looking for him. Miguel would've told his dead family members what he learned, and they in turn would've spread the story across the Land of the Dead. So, while the living may be isolated from the truth, possibly indefinitely, the dead would have every reason to believe his songwriter's family.
    • Ernesto might not even have been thinking that far ahead — more likely he simply saw Miguel as a danger to his fame, a loose end to be tied up.
     Killing Miguel 
  • Why does Ernesto try to kill Miguel in the climax? If anything, that would just worsen matters for him, since if Miguel died, he'd become a skeleton and be able to accuse him of murdering him, not to mention there were numerous witnesses to his crime.
    • As the previous headscratcher mentioned, not many people would be inclined to believe a child over what they've witnessed. The way Ernesto went about trying to kill Miguel (throwing him into pits and subjecting him to long falls) would isolate him from all the other dead people in the Land of the Dead. And there's the possibility that Miguel wasn't Ernesto's first victim.
  • Speaking of, how on Earth did Miguel get the word out that Ernesto killed Héctor? Scratch "not believing a child", I don't think people would take his word even if his entire family backed him up.
    • In the Land of the Living, it's not indicated whether or not anyone knows Ernesto is a murderer. They only know that he stole Héctor's works and profited off of them. As pointed out on another page though, even if nothing could be proven about the murder, the fact that Héctor died suddenly and Ernesto not only failed to inform his family but continued to claim credit for his work all the way to the afterlife makes his role in everything pretty suspicious.
    • Maybe they had his remains exhumed and tested. Poisons can be found long after death.
    • Yes but, that would only work if his grave was marked and people know were he is. As he died on the road and part of the conflict is that he's nor remembered probably he was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere.
    • Did Miguel really get the word or are Ernesto's former fans just upset that he'd steal from a deceased friend?
    • At the end, the museum has all Héctor's letters to Coco containing the song lyrics. So those were probably used as proof that Ernesto was stealing from him.
    • It’s also fairly possible Héctor wasn’t Ernesto’s first victim, and a family member of the victim had already said something but no one believed them. Until Miguel and his family came with the same accusations.
     Spare photos 
  • While most of the ancestors are remembered and have photos, Imelda is practically the family saint. I'm sure there are plenty of spare photographs of her. (I'm sure the rest of the family was too busy looking for Miguel to replace it) but due to her status in the family, unless the entire extended Rivera family lives in the same household, I'm sure her photo is featured in several ofrendas.
    • Not if the entire family lives on the same block, if not in the same house.
      • Note that Imelda says "my family always puts my picture on the ofrenda", singular, implying she is in fact always put on only one.
    • It's less that they had no spare pictures and more that they were busy looking for Miguel all night long. Remember, they were searching when Miguel first took the guitar and are still seen patrolling the streets for him when Miguel gets back at sunrise.
  • What would happen if Miguel ended up back in the Land of the Dead before his time again? Would his transformation pick up where it left off (mere seconds before officially transforming) or would it be reset to normal, allowing him to stay there until sunrise again?
    • It seems that it does not reset. If you look at his hand after he's sent back for stealing the guitar a second time, his finger is a bone from the start. Of course, given the brief period of time he returned to the Land of the Living, it's possible that it would have reset if he'd stayed there for more time.
      • It's also possible that the amount of transformation has less to do with how long you've been there and more to do with how long you have until the sunrise deadline.
      • He returned (in the same condition) after stealing the guitar again because he violated the condition of Imelda's blessing, i.e., he wasn't recursed—the same curse was still in effect. Imelda explicitly gave her final blessing with "no conditions," so he could not be sent back under the same curse. Any return would have to be under a new curse, which presumably would start over.
     Bell placement 
  • What exactly was the idea of having a giant bell capable of smashing the stage dangling from a manually operated release switch during what proved to be Ernesto's last concert?
    • Perhaps it was meant to be lowered and rang as part of the show later than when Ernesto got "rung out".
    • The Mexican War of Independence started with a priest ringing a church bell to gather the people to revolt. As such, bells are a patriotic symbol. Although very kitschy in execution, Ernesto seems to take pride in Mexican culture: his stage is a replica of the Kukulkán pyramid, he is surrounded by folk dancers wearing traditional costumes, he himself wears a mariachi suit, and it is all crowned by a patriotic symbol at the top. If it wasn't a permanent fixture in the venue, it would make sense that it has mechanisms so that it can be mounted and dismounted.
     Family blessing 
  • Why does Miguel need Imelda's blessing as well as Héctor's when the time comes for him to go back to the Land of the Living? Héctor would presumably have allowed Miguel to become a musician, whereas Imelda keeps the condition she'd earlier imposed (that he never be a musician). Rather than choose to accept Imelda's condition, couldn't Miguel simply have asked Héctor to bless him on his own instead?
    • First of all, he doesn't need them both. Héctor simply offers it from both of them as a sign of their reconciliation. And second— no, Héctor wouldn't have. Héctor believes that pursuing his musical ambitions cost him his family and his life. He's disdainful of Miguel's 'stupid musical fantasy' when he finds out that Miguel is running away from his family to achieve it. He never once objects to Imelda's condition. Even when Imelda changes Miguel's condition to never forgetting how much his family loves him, Héctor doesn't react in any special way, just affirms to Miguel that he's going home. Remember, Héctor's goal has always been to see Coco. If Imelda's help is the only way he's going to see Coco, then he'll gladly go along with Imelda's condition that Miguel never play music again. Héctor's not the sort of guy who's going to fight his wife on something like this, not when he generally believes his wife is right.
    • And when Miguel finally gets the blessing, he gets it with no conditions.
    • By the time Miguel finds out who Héctor really is, Ernesto has already stolen the photo and they are in need of Imelda's help. Miguel chooses to accept her conditions to save Héctor because he learned that family is more important than ambition.
  • If Héctor had made previous attempts to cross the bridge on Dia de Muertos, why was he surprised that falsifying a unibrow was illegal? Or was let off with a warning by the officer that booked him?
    • The officer stated he didn't want to stay there past his shift.
    • The surprise could have been faked or it was the first time Héctor tried the Frida disguise.
    • This is also the time when Héctor really needs to cross, since he feels that Coco is dying and he thinks it will be his last opportunity to see her. In previous years he might have made a desultory effort but let it go once he couldn't pull it off since "I can try again next year". Now he doesn't have that luxury so every roadblock is more heartbreaking than it might have been in the past.
  • Related: When the dancers are all Frida Kahlo, are they wearing forged unibrows too? Or did she only recruit dancers who already had one? Is there some performance-art exception in the law about forging unibrows?
    • Maybe the law only applies when you've falsified a unibrow for identification purposes. Would seem to make sense.
     Ernesto's fate 
  • So did Ernesto actually die again from the second bell crushing him?
    • Even if the bell didn't kill him, at least the Land of the Living are working to forget him by replacing him with Héctor inside their heads. As soon as all living people forget Ernesto, he will disappear for sure.
    • Ernesto sounds like a pretty famous guy. Even if most of the living has rejected him, there would likely be a few die-hard fans out there who either haven't heard of his crimes or don't care. Plus, Ernesto is still being a fraud and murderer.
    • It is likely that the murder accusation couldn't be proven, even if the grave of Héctor could be found and test were made and he was found out to be poisoned, people and specially fans of Ernesto would still not be convince conclusively. In-universe it probably became just another celebrity conspiracy theory causing heat arguments on Internet forums and Youtube, but it is possible that his fame and reputation became stained. Answering the OP's question; well, if he's not dead (again) he definitely was crushed to the level of pulverization so whilst other skeletons can re-arrenge their bones, he might be damned to be a bunch of sentient dust forever.
  • The bell is hollow. The only thing that would hurt Ernesto when it fell was the clapper—the force of going through the floor probably caused more damage to him than anything. And since skeletons can reassemble their bodies after their bones scatter, it's more than likely that Ernesto suffered little more than a temporary dismemberment and the humiliation of Laser-Guided Karma.
  • As a profitable business kept in a very close-knit family for five-ish generations so the income is laser focused, shouldn't the Rivera family be in a more substantial place financially? Like to the point where by Miguel's father's generation at least the topic of higher education should have come up?
    • The whole idea behind the shoe making business started by Imelda was to prevent another family member from going Héctor. If the business was upgraded to an industrial level, or if the children were granted clearance to pursue higher education, the family business would not have continued, and a wayward soul would abandon the family to seize their moment.
    • Artisan trades remaining in a family for generations (and the whole artisan family living in a single household) isn't all that uncommon in Mexico, and it's something to take pride in. It's what inspired the creators of the film, after all.
    • There's also the fable of the Mexican fisherman who meets an American entrepreneur on vacation in Mexico. The entrepreneur suggests that the fisherman expand his business as a way of increasing his family's resources, and after explaining all the processes behind the endeavor, lists the ending payoff as exactly what the fisherman is already doing at the moment.
     Ernesto "seizing his moment" 
  • So, did Ernesto really "have" to murder Héctor? Couldn't he have said something along the lines of, "Héctor, you're the most gifted songwriter I know. At least let me perform your songs so that all will know who helped me get where I'm going!" Héctor might've been a family musician above all, but considering how close he and Ernesto were before all this, don't you think he might've considered lending him his song book? I mean, they're his songs right? Couldn't he just keep performing them for his family thanks to the letters he wrote Coco that also had his songs in them?
    • Ernesto may have made such a request a number of times, as Héctor was implied to have been homesick throughout the tour and wanted to go back home. Héctor's comments about Ernesto (and musicians in general) imply that he believed that true artists use their own talents and not someone else’s, and may have been reluctant to have Ernesto get rich and famous off his songs, even if he did give credit.
    • Most mariachis are not composers. Chances are, most of the songs they performed while on tour were not original, and Ernesto knew Héctor's original songs would give them the fame they needed, but he was adamant on keeping them as they were for his family.
    • Simply put, Héctor probably would have. He probably wouldn't have just let him have them all, but if Ernesto would have just had a scrap of patience before whipping out the poison, they could have almost certainly worked out some kind of business arrangement.
    • Ernesto seemed like he wanted the songs first and foremost - if he really wanted to give Héctor credit, he could've done so after he supposedly died of food poisoning. He's just such a Glory Hound that he didn't want to have to share credit once Héctor went back home, so murder really was the best option. (To him, anyway.)
    • Overall, whether Ernesto needed to kill Héctor then and there is kind of moot. The important thing is that he thought he had no other choice at that point - whether there actually was another one to make is irrelevant.
     Héctor's disguise 
  • How did Héctor manage to get a hold of his Frida costume if it was confiscated by the police after he was caught?
    • This one's just a guess, but since he seems to know (or at least can get access to) the real Frida, he can probably borrow (or steal) one of her real outfits. Then just makeup from anybody else.
    • I don't remember if it was Frida herself or one of her assistants, but someone did lend him the first costume. He just had to convince them to lend him another one.
     Border security 
  • Why does the Land of the Dead need security guards before the marigold bridge when the bridge already magically filters people?
    • Probably for simple logistical support, so that the bridge doesn't get clogged with thousands of people getting stuck there and blocking the passage. Also for their own sake so people who don't know they aren't able to cross over don't get trapped and stuck there for who-knows-how-long.
  • Why doesn't Héctor have an alebrije? Every other important character seems to have one. Even Ernesto's got his chihuahuas! May it have something to do about how well remembered the character is?
    • The alebrijes aren't necessarily personal spirit guides, but mostly just Amazing Technicolor Wildlife. Some may adopt a living person, like Dante and presumably Pepita did, and become their alebrije by that means. But most of the alebrijes we see are not attached to any one person.
    • I thought the alebrijes were the spirit world version of someone's pet (Miguel's dog, Dante, Frida's spider monkey [she did have a monkey as a pet in life], and Imelda's cat, Pepita)
      • A little of all. In Coco's universe, they're animal spirits but the ones we see relate to the deceased's living counterpart in some way, i.e the spider monkey alebrije is because of Frida owning one, Imelda because of her pet cat, and Dante because of his connection to Miguel,and the other ones we see in the Spirit world are probably just there, whether they belong to someone or not.
     Miguel's cousins 
  • Why do Miguel's cousins know how to play instruments in the Epilogue? If music was banned in the family and they seemed just as disdainful of Miguel's musician dreams as the adults, how did they get that good at playing them in just a year?
    • A year is more than enough time for one to learn an instrument decently. It all depends on the teacher, free time and the learning method (Miguel himself was self-taught through Ernesto's videos). And surely, Miguel's talent could have convinced them to try out too.
    • It's also possible they were hiding secret instruments of their own, just as Miguel himself did. They could have been making fun of him to throw suspicion off themselves.
    • The film at least implies that some of Miguel's musical intuition came from Héctor - who's to say his family members didn't have similar talent, that was only discovered once they tried to tap into it?
      • Which is a bit sad to think that when Miguel's cousin Rosa said "you need talent" that she was possibly secretly self-conscious about trying to play, or about revealing her own aptitude for instruments and that she might have been secretly playing like Miguel. People can get hypocritical or self-deprecating when they're afraid of revealing their true talents or selves. It's a sort of defense mechanism to allay the stress when it's too difficult or impossible to connect with someone else.
     Imelda's siblings 
  • Tio Oscar and Tio Felipe are Imelda's siblings. Why then do they call her "mamá Imelda"? Shouldn't they be the only members of the Rivera family who call her just by her name?
    • If they were speaking of her in third person, it's just like when your mother speaks to you of your father as "your father" instead of calling him by name. It's just the form of address that's most familiar to the rest of the family.
     Rivera surname 
  • How do surnames work in this movie? Was Héctor called Rivera, and Imelda became Mrs Rivera after getting married? Were Imelda and her twin brothers the original Riveras and she simply refused to change her surname, or rejected her husband's surename after he left? And how about Coco? Her children and grandchildren are also called Rivera, so does that mean that papa Julio (Coco's husband) chose not to push his own surname forward, least he incurred the anger of his mother-in-law?
    • The way surnames in Mexico work is the following: each person has two surnames. The first one is their father's first surname. The second one is their mother's first surname. A married woman does not change her surname legally; however, she might call herself "[first name] + [first surname] + [de (of) husband's first surname]" in public if she wishes to show her marital status. The possibilities are:
      • Both Imelda and Héctor were Rivera, making Coco's full name "Socorro Rivera Rivera" (not particularly uncommon and no, they don't have to be related).
      • Following the above, if we're gonna use regular Mexican naming standards, for Miguel to be a Rivera, Coco's daughter Elena would have to be "Elena [Julio's first surname] Rivera" and her husband would have to be "Franco Rivera [mother's first surname]." Their son Enrique, then, would be "Enrique Rivera [Julio's first surname]," and Miguel would thus be "Miguel Rivera [Luisa's first surname]."
      • The extended novelisation of the movie “Coco: A Story About Music, Shoes and Family" reveals that Imelda, Oscar, Felipé and Héctor all share the same surname of Rivera, as does Miguel, who happens to be Héctor's great-great grandson. Considering that surnames get lost with families having female descendants, as seen with Soccoro and her daughters Elena and Victoria, this means that if Miguel's surname is Rivera, then the only way for Miguel to have the surname Rivera means that the surname comes from Miguel’s grandfather, Franco. It’s a common fact in Mexico that towns have popular last names making it appear like everyone who lives in there are cousins. So, while the surname ‘Rivera’ may not be the most popular last name in Santa Cecilia, it's still common enough to provide three different families of Rivera's that form the overall Rivera family of shoemakers seen in the movie.
    • Mexico is (still) a deeply patriarchal society meaning that there is absolutely no way that Imelda would be able to quote "enforce her last name as the one that gets passed on". Imelda really isn't a "special snowflake" in the fact that her husband (supposedly) walked out on her and she had to fend for herself, this happened to a lot of women.
    • Imelda was never Rivera, women in the Spanish-speaking world do not take their husband's last names. They can use de (of) if they want after their legal name. On Coco Rivera, she didn't have much of a choice, it's unlikely she was able to legally change her daughter's legal name at the time out of spite. She was stuck with it, but as Rivera is an incredibly common surname in Mexico probably didn't have the same connotations as having the name of someone you hate in the Anglo-Saxon world.
     Ofrenda photos 
  • Do ofrenda photos have to be originals taken when the people in them were alive, or would duplicated pictures (copied after death) be usable on an ofrenda?
    • Probably the latter. As discussed above, there have to be other things you can put on an ofrenda besides photos, or people born before photography existed couldn't cross over. So if photos are just the simplest way to represent someone and not the only way, how the photo was obtained wouldn't matter.
     Coco in the epilogue 
  • What's with the nonexistent chemistry between Coco and her closest relatives at the end of the movie? When the deceased Rivera family is about to cross the bridge, Coco holds hands with Héctor (her beloved father, so that one is a no-brainer) and with tia Rosita, her sister-in-law. At no point does she even acknowledge the presence of either Julio (her husband) nor Victoria (her daughter). What gives?
    • A lot can happen in a year or several months.
    • True... It is never stated when exactly did Coco die, so she might have been around the Land of the Dead for a while. Long enough not to be overwhelmed with nostalgia every time she sees them, at the very least -Héctor still dotes on her immensely because he waited for so long to see her again, his nostalgia-fueld daddy instincts haven't toned down yet.
    • Especially since Coco and Héctor hadn't seen each other for almost a century.
    • Or it could be that we saw only a few seconds of a normal holiday in their lives.
     Miguel and Ernesto 
  • Wouldn't Miguel already know about Ernesto's former wife from simply searching the internet? Surely, a few people in town would know about this.
    • He ran away from town, and nobody had much reason to research into something like this. The fact that his family want's to forget him and he wasn't Miguel's ancestor anyway.
    • To top it off, Ernesto isn't said to have had a wife, however, it's possible he did sleep around.
    • Miguel has access to the internet? Did he in the tight, emotional rollercoaster of a short time frame between dropping the photo and going to the cemetery?
    • Even if Miguel had done an internet search, there is no concrete way to tell that someone didn't have a wife via the internet, so what would it have told him? He has the supposed proof in his hand; if he didn't find it online, he'd just assume that a record of it was never officially preserved.
     Ernesto's fate II 
  • What's become of Ernesto now that his crimes have been exposed? The last we see of him, he's been crushed by a giant bell; Word of God confirms he's still "alive", but what happened to him afterwards?
    • Seeing as he’s most likely an integral part of Héctor’s story, he probably won’t be forgotten any time soon. The bell is most likely serving as a cage, and he’ll be left to pound on the bell hoping beyond hope that someone will get the bell off of him.
    • Or Ernesto's being held in prison along with other dead criminals, no longer allowed to cross the bridge.
    • Or exiled to the slums.
     Héctor's goal 
  • We know that to remain in the land of the dead, at least a memory of what you were while alive has to stay in the living world. Knowing that, why does Héctor turns to Miguel to save him? At this point he does not know that they are family, and Miguel only knew Héctor while dead. Why would simply putting his picture make him stay?
    • It wasn’t about staying alive; it was about being able to cross the flower bridge before he was forgotten.
     Dead amongst the living 
  • We know what happens if a living being crosses over to the land of the dead and doesn't get out in time, but what would happen if a dead person crossed over to the land of the living and did not leave in time?
    • Probably they would be stuck in the Land of the Living until the next Dia de Muertos.
    • Or given how Miguel was transported back to the Land of the Dead after breaking his promise not to play music, the same might happen to them.
    • The likeliest outcome is that they would have to wait a year before they could cross back over. We hear a message over the P.A. system warning bridge-crossers to be sure to return to the Land of the Dead by sunrise, which would be pointless if they get sent back automatically.
     Living amongst the dead 
  • If stealing something that belonged to a dead person is enough to transfer a living person to the land of the dead, you'd think this would happen all the time, and the dead shouldn't be so so shocked to learn a living boy is walking among them?
    • It's less stealing from the dead and more stealing a cursed item. The guitar was cursed because behind it laid a murder.
    • It’s possible that stealing something unique from the dead will invoke a curse. You’ll notice that in the cemetery, Miguel took a drumstick off a grave to keep Dante quiet, and he didn’t get sent to the Land of the Dead because of that.
    • It's not only stealing from the dead, but stealing from the dead in día de muertos, when you're supposed to give to them. It's also not true that it's stealing a cursed item that curses you. The guitar being cursed is just speculation; Occam's razor would have us believe the employee in the land of the dead was right and it's simply stealing whatever. There's also the fact that the guitar was not Ernesto's to lend out in the first place, so even by asking to borrow it, Miguel did steal it. This headscratcher's guess is that it's stealing for oneself specifically. The drumstick Miguel stole was not for himself, but Dante ate it for himself and was also cursed, that's why he ended up going to the land of the dead. Miguel stole the guitar for himself and that's why he was cursed. As a Mexican I can also tell you we don't really steal from the ofrendas, we lay things there as gifts and they're small enough that they're not the kind of thing you'd be stealing, especially with people around as día de muertos is bound to be. We also believe if you taste the food after the day is over, it's completely tasteless, so there's really not much point in stealing it.
    • Maybe the people weren't necessarily surprised by Miguel, but rather disgusted by him being there, in a sense. If people from the living world show up in the Land of the Dead all the time and there's a certain set of circumstances under which they can do it, then everyone knows Miguel is there because he stole from the dead.
    • Even if it happens a lot, the land of the dead is huge, so it stands to reason that most of its people have never seen a living person there before, especially since such a person only gets one day before they are either sent back or transform into a skeleton.
     Blessing how-to 
  • How did Ernesto know what to do to give a blessing while Imelda had to be walked through the process?
    • A celebrity like Ernesto likely gets called on to give blessings all the time. It wouldn't have any real effect unless they considered each other family (which is unlikely in Ernesto's case), but just imagine the prestige of getting a blessing from Ernesto de la Cruz, famed musician, star of stage and screen!
    • It's also just probably common courtesy since the employee is just doing his job by walking Imelda through the process.
    • It's not like said process is all that complicated, to be fair...All you have to do is say that you're giving someone your blessing.
  • Why didn't Héctor ever mention once that he'd written all of Ernesto's songs? He even mentions Remember Me is Ernesto's most popular one, but doesn't see fit to mention that he wrote it himself.
    • Picture this: you're a living kid in the Land of the Dead. You need to find your ancestor who is, arguably, the most famous and well-liked person alive or dead, and this homeless-looking, disheveled skeleton man says he can lead you to him. Okay, believable enough...then he says "Oh, by the way, I know I said I hate musicians and everything they do, but I was the one who wrote all those songs everyone loves!". Sound believable? Héctor probably didn't think so either—and besides that, his career as a musician seems to be an old shame for him. He would never brag about making music, let alone writing some of the most popular songs in the world.
    • Miguel was showcased as being dismissive and untrustworthy of most of the things Héctor says throughout the first half of the film - he mutters "What do you know?" when Héctor mocks musicians as a whole and doesn't really buy that he and Ernesto used to play together, at least until Ernesto recognizes him later on. Even when Héctor reveals the theft of his songs, Miguel still doesn't believe him until his murder is uncovered.
    • There's also a hint that Héctor simply didn't want to break such news to Miguel, since he spent the majority of their relationship idolizing Ernesto when such a fact might've turned him into a Broken Pedestal. He even asks Ernesto as he confronts him, "Do you want to tell him, or should I?", implying that he never wanted Miguel to be in the middle of it.
  • When Miguel is walking through the city of the dead, he passes by a shop with the label "Bones". Does that mean they actually sell bones there?
    • Maybe they are substitute bones for skeletons who lost a piece or two of themselves?
    • Remember that friend of Héctor's, who claimed to have lent him his femur? Maybe it's for people who are in a similar situation, and he just didn't have the money to afford an actual replacement bone.
     Ferrying across the bridge 
  • The fact that Héctor doesn't have a picture on any ofrenda means he can't walk on the marigold bridge, fair enough... But that seems to be the whole extent of his restrictions. So what prevents him from disassembling himself and have a couple dozen different skeletons cary a few of his bones each? He is certainly determined enough to try it, and likable enough to befriend and convince a few people to tag along. The movie proves a skeleton with no granted access can in fact be carried by other skeletons, since Héctor was dragged back to customs by two security guards when he got stuck in the bridge.
    • Maybe the further he gets on the marigold bridge, the more severe things happen to him? First he just sinks into the petals, but maybe if he goes further, his bones start to crackle or something even worse?
    • The other option is that the security guards are the only ones capable of carrying other skeletons on the bridge, since their task is specifically to rescue rogue skeletons like Héctor. Any other skeleton carrying a part of Héctor would have sunk into the bridge just like him.
    • Chances are they can detect "foreign" bones when people are crossing and they'd be stopped. Héctor has also been trying to cross for over 90 years, he's quite likely infamous and people would not want to get in trouble, sorry for him as they may be.
    • We have to assume none of the other skeletons know the reason Héctor wants to cross the bridge - without that context, his situation would amount to a desparate-looking homeless man stopping random people to ask them for a ride. (A ride across the border, to be specific.) Just take a look at the reactions of the people nearby when he first tries to cross over, and that should tell you everything you need to know. They don't know what he wants to do in the Land of the Living, and even if he told them, it's unlikely many of them would believe him. (It's actually kind of a sad metaphor, if you think about it.)
     Fear of Miguel 
  • Why are all the skeletons so utterly afraid of a living child?
    • They're just used to a certain world order by now and seeing anything that breaks it would be quite shocking. It's fear of something they can't understand since there aren't supposed to be living people there.
    • It's the inverse of a ghost in the living world.
    • Also it's not nearly all of them, just a few - others don't pay any attention to him or are even helpful.
     Family photo 
  • Does anyone else find it odd that Imelda ripped out Héctor's face from the family photo, while simply folding the guitar out of view?
    • Possibly she ripped the face off in a fit of rage, and then later on when she was in a calmer mindset she folded the guitar back while putting the picture up. That, or she found it more important (in a spite-fueled way) to remove his face and therefore traces of who he was as a person, while the guitar was important to the story that he was a musician that ran out on them.
    • Maybe she kept the guitar in the photo to dissuade her family members from helping each other pursue crazy dreams and ambitions, in addition to keeping them from following their own. Word of God is that Héctor's guitar was actually a gift from Imelda herself, so she could secretly blame herself for some of how he turned out - by leaving it in but removing his face, she's conveying the message of "This is what happens if you help a loved one fulfill their dream - they'll only abandon and forget you over it, just like my husband did to me and our daughter."
  • How did Miguel learn the notes and chords to Héctor's version of Remember Me? Sure, we know Miguel was desperate to jog Coco's memories, but there's no way he learned the song just by hearing Héctor sing when they were stuck in the cenote.
    • He was going to play it in the music competition until Héctor dissuaded him, so he knew how to play it. All he had to do when he played it for Coco was play it slower the way Héctor sang it in the cenote.
    • He says earlier in the film that "Remember Me" is his favorite song by Ernesto, too. Considering he tries so hard to imitate Ernesto, it's only natural that he'd know how to play his favorite song by heart.
     Flying over the bridge 
  • So... Judging by how long and desperately Héctor has been trying, probably it wouldn't work out, but still... Could a skeleton with no picture on any ofrenda just fly over the bridge on an alebrije?
    • The alebrije would have to be willing to fly him over the bridge. As far as we know, the only alebrijes Héctor knows are Pepita and Dante.
    • Not having your photo put up wouldn't be a big deal at all if there were such simple other ways across the gap. My guess is that spirit guides are innately predisposed against flying people over the bridge, in accordance with the laws that govern the Land of the Dead.
     Loss of the photo 
  • When Miguel drops Héctor's photo, it into the water and is ruined. But why didn't the family picture of Héctor, Imelda and Coco get damaged when he was thrown into the sinkhole?
    • This was discussed on the Fridge page; the family photo was from the Land of the Living, while Héctor’s photo was in his possession when he died.
    • More to the point, the issue with losing Héctor's photo wasn't that it was ruined from getting wet, but that it was lost somewhere far below them and they didn't have time to find it before sunrise.
     Skeleton pain 
  • So given how Ernesto hollered so when Imelda slammed on his foot, these guys clearly can feel pain. do they feel pain if they don't have pain receptors? And does it hurt to be disassembled, have their skulls spun around, etc?
    • Most likely, skeletons feel pain when individual bones are subjected to abnormal stress or impacts or forces. If the bones can separate without breaking, it wouldn’t be unusually painful; a boot to the face would send a head spinning, but it would still hurt since the impact was to a single bone.
    • Dante has no fur, and the guard has no nose. It does not stop the latter have the allergy on the former.
     Help from Frida 
  • So at the end, Frida helps Miguel. Why?? She touched him earlier when she told him she has the soul of an artist - so can we assume she knew he was alive? She's working on de la Cruz's show, so she has an interest in it - but also doesn't seem to like de la Cruz either. But why help Miguel?
    • Frida's interest in the show appears to be entirely about her own art, which was presented separately from Ernesto's performance. She also clearly took a liking to Miguel, (and didn't care for Ernesto), but more than that, she probably knows Héctor: he seems to be a regular around the theater, (definitely knows the costumer and musicians), and Frida doesn't look surprised when he first turns up looking for Miguel. Once they explained what was going on, it makes perfect sense that she would want to help them.
     Mystery ancestor 
  • Just how much did the living Riveras know about Imelda's disappeared husband?
    • Nothing, we can presume, apart from him being a musician who abandoned his family. Otherwise, one of them would've corrected Miguel once he started telling them that Ernesto was her husband.
     Infant mortality 
  • Why are there Children in the Land of the Dead? Did they share the same fate Miguel did?
    • Children are just as mortal as anyone else is, especially throughout history, when healthcare wasn't as advanced as it is now.
     Blessing violation 
  • After Miguel receives his first blessing from Imelda and promptly violates the terms of it, how come he got sent right back to the office in the Land of the Dead, instead of remaining where he was while becoming an invisible spirit like he had when he first stole the guitar?
    • The office was where he accepted Imelda's blessing, so that's where he was sent to when he violated it.
     Seeing the dead 
  • Is Miguel able to see any of the spirits during the Day of the Dead after he returns home? And if not, does that mean he technically never received any actual confirmation that Héctor is still in existence?
    • The cursed guitar is the whole reason he arrived into the Land of the Dead in the first place. Maybe this object allows him and only him to see the dead.
    • How would you define 'actual confirmation'. Miguel knew that Coco remembered Héctor and passed down memories of him to the rest of the family before her death, which fulfilled the requirements for Héctor not being forgotten, ergo he knew that Héctor was still in existence in the land of the dead; seeing him in person wasn't necessary.
    • I mostly meant the peace of mind Miguel would've gotten from seeing Héctor in person. Even if he managed to bring Héctor back into the public eye, it's not like this is something he's done on a regular basis and knows all the ins and outs of how it works. Living people traveling to the Land of the Dead can't be a terribly common occurrence. I feel that without concrete proof, there would always be that nagging feeling, however small, that maybe things hadn't worked out as Miguel had expected them to.
      • There are times even in Real Life when someone claims they can "sense" the spirit of a loved one nearby, especially when you're primed to expect it like you would be on the Day of the Dead. Miguel may not be strictly able to see Héctor, but he might be able to "sense" that he's there all the same. Additionally, we don't know what going to the land of the dead does to a person, so maybe he's more sensitive to spirits now than before.
    • OP here: I've also considered that even if Miguel can't see his deceased relatives, Dante certainly still can. So he could always ask him if Héctor was there during the next Dia de Muertos, and the answer would be pretty clear from Dante's response.
  • What would happen if somebody jumped or fell off the bridge connecting to the living realm? Would this lead to final death or is it a bottomless pit?
    • I think there might just be water down below. They'd probably be able to swim back to the Land of the Dead, provided there isn't some Coast Guard equivalent meant to handle such situations already.
     Remembrance of Héctor 
  • What was Héctor hoping would happen if Miguel managed to bring his photo back to the world of the living? While the Riveras would've had a face to their mystery musician of an ancestor, they still wouldn't have known anything about him that would keep him from being forgotten - Miguel couldn't pass stories of Héctor onto them because he didn't know Héctor when he was alive, and Coco was already going senile and on the verge of forgetting everything she'd ever known about him. Just seeing the photo wouldn't have changed that.
    • Héctor wasn't trying to preserve his own memory through Miguel putting up the photo of himself; he was trying to cross the bridge before Coco forgot him.
    • For most of the movie, sure. But the climax is framed as though getting Héctor's photo back and putting it on the ofrenda will keep him from being forgotten - Miguel tells Imelda something to the effect of "You don't have to forgive him, but we shouldn't forget him." And the Day of the Dead ended at sunrise. There's no way Héctor would've made it from Ernesto's concert to the world of the living before then to see Coco, and he knows from her condition that her memories of him won't last another year.
    • Miguel didn't know that Héctor was his great-great-grandfather until he started showing signs of being completely forgotten by the living. But once he found out who he was, Miguel could revive Coco's memories of her father when he returned home. They thought they'd need the photo because nobody knew that Coco held onto Héctor's face from the family photo.
      • But how was he planning to revive them? Nothing short of him playing "Remember Me" was capable of pulling Coco out of her ailment, and Miguel had originally expected that he would be sent back with the "no music" condition, so he couldn't have been planning on using the song before Imelda changed her mind.
      • He wasn't planning on playing "Remember Me", he was planning on giving her a picture of Héctor to remind her of him, as the responder above just said. Miguel never made it back with the photo, so we don't know that it wouldn't have worked anyway. But it's not a stretch that Miguel thought it would; Coco is senile, but for much of the movie any mention of her father at all had her calling for him. In Miguel's mind, he could show her the photo, she would once again start calling for her Papa, and with prompting he could get a story about him or something. He didn't know how far gone she was until he got to her.
    • It was shown at the end, that they now have a museum dedicated to Héctor.
     Failed a spot check 
  • Héctor had to have heard Imelda yelling Miguel's name from across the train station. Why didn't he ask about that until the contest announcer mentioned the family looking for a living boy? More to the point, why didn't he come to the conclusion based on Miguel reacting with a gasp at the sound of his wife's voice that Miguel was one of his descendants?
    • Héctor was in the middle of talking to Miguel (introducing himself, specifically) when Imelda called out to him, which she did from the other side of a crowded and busy area. Miguel proceeded to drag Héctor outside by the arm before he had a chance to notice anything, let alone catch a glimpse of his wife.
      • That, and Héctor didn't know Miguel's name yet at that point, so Imelda shouting it from across a huge, busy room wouldn't have stuck out to him at all.
    • Later in the tunnel, though, Héctor calls Miguel by name after painting his face, even though Miguel hadn't told him his name. It would make sense that he could've deduced his name from the fact that he reacted in fear to someone across the station shouting "MIGUEL!".
    • The likeliest explanation is that Miguel told him his name offscreen. It's clear from his lack of a reaction in the film that Héctor didn't consciously hear Imelda calling out, hence, he couldn't have connected it to Miguel wanting to leave so suddenly. To him, her voice was just ambient background noise of the building they were in. (Especially since he died roughly 50 years before she did, meaning he's had hardly any time to adjust to recognizing her new, 70-year-old voice as opposed to the 20-year-old one she had when he left her.)
    • Imelda makes it clear before the climax that she and Héctor had crossed paths multiple times after she died; enough times that you'd expect Héctor can't help but recognize her voice in the afterlife.
    • That may be true, but the main point still stands. Whether he would've recognized her voice or not, he wasn't paying attention enough to have heard it anyway.
     Other Riveras 
  • There's an entire row of photos at the bottom of the ofrenda in addition to those showing who Miguel sees in the Land of the Dead. They could possibly be the parents and/or siblings of those who married into the Rivera family like Julio, Franco, Luisa, and so on. In any case, where were they in the Land of the Dead?
    • They probably have their own homes and/or made it to the ofrenda without crossing paths with Miguel after he was cursed.
    • They could also be close family friends that they put up as well.
     Héctor's photo II 
  • Why did Héctor have a photo of himself on him when he died? I know he obviously couldn't have gotten one otherwise, but is there a reason why he would have it with him?
    • It's not too much of a stretch to imagine that Héctor and Ernesto had photos of themselves taken while on tour, and Héctor may have originally planned to send copies back home before deciding to return home.
    • It could've been for autographs.
     Miguel's performance 
  • Imelda knows how much music means to Miguel, and that he's looking to get a blessing from the only known musician in his family, who she thinks is Héctor. Yet when she comes into the plaza where Miguel and Héctor are performing "Un Poco Loco" and realizes he's somewhere nearby, she never looks onstage and sees him there and never recognizes the two voices singing into the microphone, even though one of them is her own husband. What was up with that? How could she possibly have missed them in that scenario?
    • Imelda and Héctor both have similar reasons for their opinions of music. They don't hate it; it just brings up too many painful memories for both of them. Héctor was reluctant to play the guitar for Chicarrón because he'd lost his family to music, and Imelda told Miguel in the alley that it was easier to raise Coco without music. The rationale of the whole business is that Imelda was unable to listen to the song being sung because it was written by her husband, whom she missed. And as far as she knows, Héctor wouldn't be inclined to start singing again so suddenly after so many years, so it wouldn't make sense that he'd participate in a music competition. On top of that, there'd be no reason from her perspective for Miguel to go prancing around the Land of the Dead if he has a deadline for undoing the curse and he's found his great-great-grandfather already.
    • It's also symbolic. (Or something to that effect.) Miguel's family is so concerned with Miguel's well-being that they don't realize where his passion really lies; hence why they're searching the crowd instead of recognizing him right there on stage. In that sense, it shows how blind they are, and that in a certain sense, Héctor understands and relates to Miguel in a way they don't. He also wants Miguel to be safe, but he still doesn't try to dissuade him from something he cares about so long as the two don't conflict.
     Photos of Coco 
  • Why did Elena have to put another photo up on the ofrenda after Coco passed? Technically she's already up there, as a little girl in the photo with her parents.
    • It'd make sense to use a photo taken during the person's last year alive, since that's the form most familiar to the living. And Miguel is the only living person with any knowledge of the specifics with how the dead are remembered.
    • Hello. Mexican here. She didn't have to put another picture there, but it's no issue to have multiple pictures of a person either, and they likely just wanted one of her as they remembered her.
    • Plus, since Miguel knows that they literally scan your face and run it against your ofrenda photo before they allow you to cross over, he could've insisted that they use a recent photo of Coco had his family initially decided not to, out of fear that her little-girl face might not register. Maybe it wasn't actually necessary, but after what Héctor went through, it's only sensible for Miguel to not want to take any chances.
     Copying the photo 
  • Why didn't Miguel make a copy of the picture while in the land of the dead? They seem to have technology there to do so. If he had, could he have taken it back to the real world?
    • There was no reason for anyone to think that copies of the photo would need to be made until Ernesto took the photo and the skeleton came out of his closet. And the concert hall isn't likely to be carrying copy machines.
    • Héctor probably would've gotten the photo copied before the events of the film, just to be safe...but he shows signs of being a Technologically Blind Elder when he calls a computer a "blinky-thingy", and is probably not well-off enough to know what copying machines are.
     Héctor's recovery 
  • Why does Héctor still have tape and whatnot on his bones after he's been remembered by his family and accepted by his dead relatives? The only other skeletons that beat up were the ones being forgotten. Shouldn't he be in better shape now that he's no longer fading?
    • Just because he's fondly remembered doesn't mean that his scars will completely vanish, especially since it amounts to 96 years of damage.
    • There's also the question of just how well remembered he is. The only person who can pass down memories of him is Coco, who was a toddler when she last saw him nearly a century ago. Whatever stories she tells of him are going to be few and possibly incomplete. There are memories of Héctor, knowledge about him, that can never be recovered by the living. Stacey Schiff in her biography of Cleopatra VII writes that, as far as we can know, Cleopatra essentially ceases to exist unless there was a Roman in the room to write down what she was doing or saying. Héctor is in a similar situation— unless Coco was able to personally witness or was told of something about him by the age of four and managed to remember it all the way to the age of 99/100, it cannot be remembered by the living. While a few people remember Imelda very well, Héctor is only vaguely remembered by a lot of people. It's a quality vs quantity issue. The quality of people's remembrances of Héctor might mean that he'll never be as well remembered as Imelda, and thus not as healthy.
    • Maybe he doesn't need the tape anymore, he just hasn't bothered peeling it off yet. (If he even can, seeing as none of the skeletons we see have fingernails.) Or he flat-out doesn't want to take it off, since it serves as a reminder of the fate he nearly succumbed to and the one his friends from the slums are continuing to suffer from.
     Photo removal 
  • What would happen if a photo was removed from an ofrenda while the depicted spirit is in the Land of the Living?
    • If the spirit is already in the Land of the Living, I suppose nothing. Unless the photo also serves as the ticket back to the Land of the Dead, at which point the spirit couldn't cross the bridge back unless it was put back on the ofrenda.
    • Considering Miguel could cross the bridge just fine after he'd been cursed, even though he probably hadn't been on any ofrendas at that point, the most likely answer is that grossing to the Land of the Dead can be done with or without a photo, whereas visiting the Land of the Living is what requires one. (Which would also mean that Miguel was literally stuck there without a blessing to send him back.)
  • Why was the bouncer at Ernesto’s mansion the only person to never believe Miguel’s claim of kinship with de la Cruz?
    • Because it's his job to keep people like that away from de la Cruz. Just try going up to a bodyguard in real life and tell them you're related to the person they're tasked with protecting. You'd only come off as a die-hard fan who's trying to throw names around in order to meet their idol.
     Dante the alebrije 
  • Dante looked surprised when he started changing colors, as if he didn't know he was an Alebrije. Was he a regular dog that became one as a reward for helping Miguel? Or was he one from the beginning, and just didn't know?
    • There are several clues throughout the film that Dante is an alebrije; the transformation likely caught him off guard.
     Those songs sound familiar... 
  • Haven't Imelda and Coco heard Ernesto's songs? I mean, I get that after Héctor left, Imelda was against music in their house, but they must have heard it outside - on the streets, in shops and etc. He was pretty popular, there's no way they could avoid hearing him at least once. And since Ernesto stole Héctor's song, they must have recognized them, especially Coco. "Remember me" was one of Ernesto's most popular songs. It was very dear to Coco, so it would have caused a strong reaction. Wouldn't she try looking for her father? I mean, at least looking for Ernesto's songwriter.
    • If Miguel's statements about Elena are anything to go by,note  Imelda lashed out at the slightest sound of music, never once letting it cross her mind that the songs might sound familiar. Even if Coco did hear the songs and grow suspicious, Imelda would not have let her say anything about her father, and probably would've forbade her from going to the plaza where the mariachis were playing.
    • Ernesto's songs weren't exactly true to what Coco would have remembered. Ernesto turned Remember Me into an upbeat song while her father had the song be slow. She was a young girl at the time and likely didn't remember all of his songs either. Even with the original letters, who's to say that Ernesto didn't change a few words here and there.
    • Even if they had heard the songs, I doubt they would've cared. They had to have known that Héctor had been travelling with de la Cruz when he disappeared, so all hearing the songs would suggest to them is that Héctor became rich and famous from Ernesto performing his songs, and still never returned home to share that wealth with them. Remember, it wasn't just that they couldn't find him once he disappeared; they plainly didn't want him to come back.
    • Also, Coco was at most 3-4 when Héctor last sang Remember Me for her. She may have been curious if she heard it during her adulthood, but she must have rationalized (if she bothered to) that he didn't actually write the song, but heard somewhere else and sang for her as a lullaby. Imelda probably didn't care enough to think either, but could have thought he sold the song.
     The haunted mausoleum 
  • What if the guard came into the mausoleum while Miguel was still holding the guitar? Would they see a guitar floating in the air?
    • Possibly. My guess is that the guitar would behave similarly to the offerings the dead take from their ofrendas. As long as Miguel is holding the guitar, it exists with him in the Land of the Dead, but it becomes visible in the world of the living once he drops it or sets it down.
      • Supporting this, none of the people peering in through the windows of the tomb comment on seeing a guitar floating in the air, just that someone broke in and stole it from where it was mounted. Even the guard who comes in to investigate doesn't seem to notice it until Miguel sets it down, reacting as though he just caught a glimpse of it then.
     Forgotten, but not forgiven 
  • Did Imelda genuinely not know that being forgotten could result in the Final Death? Did it just not occur to her that it would happen to Héctor once Coco died? Or did she know about it all along, and was perfectly okay with her husband vanishing for good until she found out he'd been murdered? Word of God is that Héctor was only out travelling for a few months before he tried to return home...Was she seriously prepared to erase him from existence over that? Even if she couldn't have done anything that could've saved him before Miguel came, it just seems unnecessarily spiteful for her to continue to ostracize him after death when she contributed to him being forgotten.
    • Nobody could've known that being forgotten by the living world would spell Cessation of Existence for someone before they crossed over. It's heavily implied throughout the film that Imelda's primary motivation in expunging her memories of Héctor from her life was because she didn't want to admit that she missed him deeply, and that by discouraging the rest of her family from following their own dreams, she wouldn't have to suffer from another heartbreak, nor would anyone else in her family.
    • I mainly meant once she had crossed over, though. It doesn't seem that unreasonable for Héctor to have been out travelling for a few months, and it's not like it was his fault he'd gotten food poisoning. Even if she couldn't do anything to keep him from being forgotten, she could've at least welcomed him back into the family and forgiven him before he disappeared.
    • It was 50 years before Imelda died, so by the time she got to the Land of the Dead, she had pretty much cemented herself into the routine of furiously shooing away anything that reminded her of Héctor. And it can be assumed by the fact that Shantytown was in a secluded sector of the Land of the Dead that the remembered would prefer not to worry themselves with the prospect of being forgotten by the living. What that means is that Imelda would not have been aware of the concept of being Deader than Dead even after she crossed over.
      • Nah not buying it. "Happens to everybody" lines kinda confirms this is a known thing. After all, the current generation rarely hears first hand accounts of what their great-great-great-grand-mother did. So when Imelda's mother (who didn't appear in the film) disappeared she would have known about the final death.
    • Considering the gasp and connecting Héctor saying Coco with her forgetting him, she did know about Final Death. It's most likely just that in all her hatred it simply never occurred to her that Coco truly is the last living person that still remember Héctor. Some people just can't see the consequence of their action until it hit them in the face (in this case Héctor showing the last symptom of Final Death)
      • To add to the above point, remember that this is the same woman that gladly lets Miguel, her own great-great-grandson, stay and die in the Land of the Dead instead of sending him home if he insists on pursuing music. Rationality is definitely not her strong suit when it comes to music and Héctor.
      • To be fair to Imelda, we don't really know how far she would've gone in pressing the "no music" condition. She tries it at first because they have plenty of time before sunrise and, more importantly, it doesn't occur to her just how much music means to Miguel, that he loves it as much as she used to. Even if Héctor hadn't shown up, it's likely she would've been willing to compromise with him as the deadline started to grow nearer - disowning her grown husband in the living world is one thing, but this is the life and death of a young boy we're talking about here.
      • In some fairness to Imelda, she could be forgiven slightly for assuming that Héctor had some other family or friends, perhaps those he'd made while he was on tour, who could remember him without the Riveras needing to. Or she thought that he could subsist off of the limited memories that she had allowed to be passed down — that he was a musician, and that he (in a certain sense) abandoned his family. It wasn't until Miguel came along that she realized Coco's memories were the only ones strong enough to keep him from fading.
     Definition of "family" blessings 
  • Does it have to be a biological relative who gives a family blessing in order for it to work? If Miguel were adopted by the Riveras, could he still get it from one of them, or would he have to seek out his birth family instead?
    • Word of God says that a family blessing doesn't have to come from a blood relative, but it does have to come from someone who the receiver considers to be their family.
      • In that case, would Ernesto's blessing have worked while Miguel still thought they were related?
      • Probably, yes. Although it didn't glow when he was about to give it to Miguel...
      • Possibly his blessing didn't count because the sense of family has to go both ways. It's pretty clear that Ernesto doesn't really care whether Miguel is his grandson or not, as long as he can use him to bolster his own reputation. And seeing as he arranges for Miguel to be murdered without batting an eye, it's possible any "sense" of family he might have for anyone is so threadbare and meaningless to him that it doesn't even qualify him to give blessings.
     Héctor on the ofrenda 
  • Considering there are ways for people to have crossed the marigold bridge before the invention of photography, why is it that the section Héctor lives in only uses photographs to judge whether someone can cross, and facial photographs, at that? Héctor is still on the Riveras' ofrenda, just with his head torn out of the photo...Even his guitar is displayed. Is it that the intent of it matters just as much as the photo itself?
    • The guitar was folded out of view while the photo was on the ofrenda. In the days before photography, the dead were remembered by items that were connected to them in life. (In the case of the Riveras, their special craft as a shoemaker.) Since the family actively avoids mentioning Héctor in any way, shape, or form, that means that there's nothing left for him on the ofrenda; that's why he's unable to cross the bridge.
    • mistake. I forgot that the guitar was originally folded out of view in the photo. It makes more sense with that in mind.
     Miguel's choice 
  • How come Héctor took issue with Miguel singing "Remember Me" because he originally wrote it specifically for Coco, but was fine with him going with "Un Poco Loco", which he similarly composed just for Imelda?
    • It could be because "Remember Me" was a very personal song - a slow, soft and gentle lullaby - that had the terrible honor of being completely changed in tone and turned into a hit sensation. Héctor had to deal with hearing this version of his song countless times, unable to tell anyone the truth about its meaning. On the other hand, "Un Poco Loco" may not be as popular in comparison and may have retained its essence or something similar, which is why Héctor allowed Miguel to sing it.
    • Héctor advised that Miguel reconsider singing Remember Me because it was played so much. There was even a quick shot of a bunch of other acts getting ready to play it. Between turning his back on his past as a musician and decades of hearing Ernesto's versions of his songs, the sting had likely dulled, assuming that he was territorial about his songs in the first.
    • Alternatively, Héctor takes issue with “Remember Me” because it was never meant to be public knowledge in the first place. While it was written out of love for Imelda, “Un Poco Loco” may’ve been a song that Héctor had performed (or planned to perform) in public, which comes with the acceptance that other people will know, adapt, and recreate the song to be in line with their own feelings. But “Remember Me” was written to be played only for/with Coco, which has undergone an especially cruel twist now that Ernesto has made the song a practical anthem of his web of theft, lies, and murder.
    • In addition, nothing in the movie says specifically that Héctor's issue with "Remember Me" ties back to Coco. That's just a well-liked fan theory because it makes his objection more meaningful. All he says at the time is that "Remember Me" is overplayed and an obvious choice, and he's right. Regardless of any sentimental value either sing has, it's still wiser for Miguel to go with something the audience is less likely to have heard already.
     Status connected to Legacy 
  • We see that the people who were remembered in life generally have good living conditions (world-renowned Ernesto De La Cruz even owning an entire mansion). And then there are the ones who are being forgotten, forced to live in shabby slums. Even while Héctor was neglected on the ofrenda, couldn't he have at least gotten a decent job and living arrangement in the afterlife? Does currency not exist in the Land of the Dead? Does your legacy in the living world really affect your social class in the Land of the Dead?
    • One could argue that offerings from the living are bartering tokens in the Land of the Dead, and the dead celebrities actually help to ensure that the system functions on a consistent basis.
    • Regardless of whether currency exists in the Land of the Dead, Héctor's situation is very much Truth in Television, since many businesses aren't keen on hiring homeless people. And that's not even considering the additional baggage these homeless people are burdened with - there's almost no way to avoid being forgotten, so who's going to want to hire someone who's guaranteed to disappear in the near future?

     Miguel telling his family 
  • By the end of the film, does Miguel's family know about his escapades in the Land of the Dead? I know they wouldn't likely believe him if he told them, but why else would they be okay with putting Héctor's photo back up on their ofrenda? They might be more accepting of music because of how it helped Coco, but without Miguel telling them otherwise, wouldn't they still think of Héctor as the aspiring runaway who abandoned his family?
    • Coco finally had the chance to tell the family about Héctor, thus they were able to acknowledge the previously unknown man in Imelda's photo and honor him like the rest of their relatives. That being said, however, they may still have plenty of questions about him. It's highly doubtful they'd believe Miguel if he said he was in the spirit realm with Héctor all night and that he was murdered by a famous musician who stole his songs and took credit for them. So I don't exactly know how to answer that...
    • If Miguel convinced his family to remember Héctor because Coco would want them to do so, it'd be close to the truth but still believable and logical.
      • Their ailing dementia ridden inflicted beloved relative just returned in mind to tell them how much they loved their father and their reverence for them, then regaled stories of them after a long period of comatose silence. Their notes revealed that your grandfather is actually a famous composer and that has put your house on the local tour. Would you not remember that? Would you not honour their wishes with a simple photo when your young son is pleading for it to be put up in memory of your loved Mother/Grandmother/Whatever?
    • Also, without telling them about where he'd been all night, how did Miguel explain how he knew to play the same song Coco's father used to sing for her? Musical intuition? That doesn't seem like something the family would've just let go.
      • They probably let it slide after seeing how music made Coco lucid again and the fact that he turned up unharmed.
      • It was also famous song by Ernesto (you know what I mean). Miguel could easily lie and say that he picked it at random / thought it was an appropiate song given the lyrics and just "got lucky at the coincidence".
     Other family photos 
  • If Imelda and her descendants really wanted to forget about Héctor, why did they continue to use a family photo with him in it on their ofrenda? Héctor left when Coco was still a young girl. Surely they must've had at least one or two family photos taken after he left, right? (If not just one of Imelda by herself, since Coco didn't need a photo until the end of the film.)
    • Pictures back then weren't as easy to take as they are now. Perhaps Imelda never got around to taking another one, or whatever ones she had were lost or destroyed by accident. Then they'd have no choice but to use the old family photo.
    • Another possibility is that the torn photo was kept to use in explaining to family newcomers why the music ban exists.
     Muscle memory 
Playing an instrument requires muscle memory. How are the skeletons able to still play after they no longer have muscles?
  • The same way they're able to breathe without lungs. The Land of the Dead doesn't exactly follow the same laws of physics as our world.
  • "Dante doesn't have hair." "And I don't have a nose, and yet, here we are."
  • On the other hand, maybe their "muscle memory" comes from the memories that keep them alive in the Land of the Dead. When Chicharrón is on the verge of being forgotten, he claims that he couldn't play his old guitar, even if he wanted to.
    • "Do you think having muscles has anything to do with you guitar playing skills? In this place?.. Do you think it's air you're breathing now?"
  • Maybe I'm missing something here, but muscle memory despite the name has nothing to do with muscles. It's actually the cerebellum (part of your brain) that handles everything.

     Guitar in the photo 
  • Very minor nitpick: why did Héctor have his guitar present in a family photo? There isn't anything else in the shot besides him, Imelda, and Coco...Was it meant to symbolize how he originally let his love of music blind him to his love of his family (which would explain Imelda's disdainful expression), or is it normal for people to have their hobbies represented by something in family portraits?
    • Given their expressions in the photo, (Coco looking ready to cry, Imelda glaring at the camera, and Héctor smiling warmly) the photo may have been taken just before he left with Ernesto; most likely, it was an attempt by Héctor to convey that he still loved his family, even if he couldn't be with them the way they wanted him to.

     No underwear? 
  • I know a minor nitpick in the scheme of thing. But no one seems to be wearing one (easier to see on the male skeletons but you can still see on others) They're dead? There isn't even bathroom in the Land of the Dead? But when Miguel showed the progress of the curse to convince Ernesto to send him home, he also seems to be only wearing one layer of pants. So has he been running around all day like that? Or is this actually standard in Mexico?
    • There was a skeleton in the rehearsal studio posing for a painter with no clothes on. With that in mind, it’d be a moot point to preserve one’s modesty after they’re dead.

     Living and dead photos 
  • Does a person need to be alive in an ofrenda photo for it to get them across the bridge? We're shown that they have cameras in the Land of the Dead - could Miguel have taken a new picture of Héctor and brought it back with him instead of going after de la Cruz, or would that not have counted? (And let's disregard the fact that his family would be wondering where he got the photo of his great-great-grandfather's skeleton.)
    • If a skeleton can’t stay remembered by sharing their own stories with a cursed spirit, a photo of a skeleton wouldn’t grant access over the bridge.

     Upholding the music ban 
  • How is it that the ban on all things musical has lasted as long as it has? If the Riveras just forbade their relatives from pursuing music professionally, that would be one thing...But we see Elena flip out at the slightest sign of anything that resembles music, even Miguel making noise with a bottle - and it's said that she runs the family as tightly as Imelda did before her. Who would want to become part of a family where you can't even indulge in something as innocent as humming leisurely or singing a lullaby?
    • Imelda herself admitted in the alley that her main objective in shunning music from her life was so that she wouldn't be burdened by memories of Héctor while she was bringing up Coco and the rest of her family. But just because it's unlikely to find someone willing to part with music for the rest of their lives doesn't mean that nobody would be willing to make the sacrifice for the sake of the family.
      • It's possible that the Riveras interpreted the ban differently than what Imelda may have intended, along with the fact, according to Coco: The Story of Shoes, Family, and Music, when she was a little girl, Elena saw Coco get hurt after dancing in secret, so the idea that music is bad was further confirmed in that incident. However, be this as noted, Imelda's "No Music" ban wasn't exactly specific, thus, "No Music" means, well, "NO MUSIC!". In terms of the lullaby thing, according to the novel, Coco would hum to the younger relatives("They can scold me all they want but that won't stop me from humming to the little ones"), even if she couldn't rebel nearly as openly she once did. Likewise, why they bothered to uphold it long after Imelda has passed was mostly likely out of what they felt to be out of respect for her and her sacrifices.
  • How exactly was the family able to go without hearing music for this long though? Doesn't the Mexican education system have a required musical education class in order to graduate. Or movie and television have music in the background. Then of course the people that married into the family have heard music themselves growing up.
    • Unless of course they banned movies and TV as well.
    • Is is something that's enforced only in the house and not in places like school?

     My Good Friend, Ernesto 
  • There's some major discrepancies between the beginning and Héctor's Memories; Miguel says that his Great-Great-Grandfather (who is Héctor) left to become a musician known through out the world, and never came back because of it. However, Héctor, through his flashbacks, clearly shows he's not playing on stage, Ernesto is (he specifically says that becoming a world famous musician is Ernesto's dream, not his), and by the time he's murdered, he's getting sick of traveling and wants to go home. So, does this mean that Héctor never bothered telling Imelda and Coco that he's going on tour to help his friend, Ernesto, and not to be famous himself? On top of that, if Héctor had told Imelda and Coco about Ernesto, you think they would've tried to bring up Héctor's disappearance with Ernesto, even if Ernesto lied and said "He left me in town X, I haven't seen him since".
    • The opening narration was actually the story passed down to Miguel by Elena, who in turn learned the story from Imelda. You can see how the reality of Héctor's disappearance was distorted among the family.
    • On top of that, none of them are aware of the very important detail that he became homesick and tried to back out of the tour. Without knowing that, it's easy to assume that he struck out to follow his dream and never bothered to look back. And once they came (or rather, Imelda came) to that assumption, her reaction was more along the lines of "Good riddance!" rather than "Let's find out what happened to him," which is why she didn't think to get in touch with Ernesto.
     Alebrije forms 
  • The WMG page states that Pepita was Mama Imelda's pet cat in the living world before she died, but doesn't list a source...Assuming it's true, why does she look so different as an alibrije compared to her house cat form we see during the ending? Dante still looks like an ordinary dog (sans the tiny wings), and Ernesto's Chihuahuas and Frida Kahlo's spider monkey alibrije both look fairly normal. But Pepita goes from a normal cat to an enormous panther with wings, horns, and a lizard tail? Why does she get all the upgrades?
    • Given that Imelda was a woman who tasked herself with multiple responsibilities in building a family after Héctor vanished from her life, Pepita's physical abnormalities could reflect on her status as a Determinator in multiple tasks throughout her life and afterlife. In contrast to Miguel, who was invested in music; Frida, who was invested in art; and Ernesto, who was invested in pursuing fame.
     Memorial Photo 
  • Would putting memorial photographs on an ofrenda work? Or doesn't it count because the person in the photo is already deceased?
    • While I'm not too familiar with the customs of Day of the Dead, I do recall that it has to be 'something that belonged to or represents the deceased (not necessarily a photo, according to this), so a memorial photo would probably function about the same way.
     Preventing the Final Death 
  • After Chicharrón's Final Death, Miguel rationalizes that now that he's seen him, he could've remembered him when he returned to the Land of the Living. Héctor claims that being remembered doesn't work that way, since memories have to be passed down by those who knew you when you were alive...While later events show that he was right about this, how did he know that Miguel bringing the memories back with him wouldn't have worked? Had he met someone before who was cursed like Miguel had been?
    • If the Land of the Dead has a way of returning cursed spirits to the Land of the Living, there's bound to be a rule patch preventing cursed spirits from saving the nearly forgotten without meeting whoever's about to forget them.
    • I took it to mean that, because Miguel didn't know Chicharron in life or personally, he can't really bring him back from the final death, as he doesn't have any memories of him prior or anything of Chicharron's to put on ofrenda, and neither does he know Chicharron's relatives, likewise, the [[Final Death Deader than Dead]] is well, like usual death, permanent. In terms of Héctor knowing about the Final Death, well, he's been in the Land of the Dead for as long as he's been dead, thus he's probably seen it happen enough times.
    • OP here. I wasn't really asking about the specifics of preventing the Final Death, but rather how Héctor knew about them. How did he know that Miguel bringing back memories of the nearly-forgotten wouldn't count as them being remembered? (Not counting Chicharrón, as he was already gone before Miguel returned to the living world.) Unless he'd met someone before who was cursed to verify that this wouldn't have worked, he shouldn't have had the grounds to deny it as a possibility.
    • Long-winded explanation, but here goes: Like many depictions of belief systems, it seems that how the Land of the Dead works in Coco are based directly on what the living think it works. The Land is bright and colourful because Mexicans believe that the Land is bright and colourful. Presumably if people started believing the Land of the Dead was gloomy, then the Land would actually turn gloomy. As for why bringing back memories won't work, it's something that goes against the spirit (no pun intended) of what Dia de las Muertos represents, and thus bringing back memories doesn't work because people collectively believe that it doesn't work.

     Injuries after death 
  • So we know that some injuries and ailments are actually cured upon the victim's death - despite his entire body being crushed by a bell, Ernesto appears no worse for wear in the afterlife, and Coco is no longer wheelchair-bound after she passes on. But what if they suffered an amputation while they were alive, much like Frida Kahlo did? Did she get her missing leg back automatically when she died, or do amputees have to purchase replacement limbs for themselves from the "Bones" shop seen in the film?
    • If the guests waiting to get into Ernesto’s mansion and the bouncer guarding the entrance fell for Héctor’s Frida disguise,note  that would support the idea that a spirit would regain amputated limbs after death.
    • In the case of Coco, it should be worth noting that, while her age was advanced, it's possible that she could walk but severe arthritis made walking painful/difficult for her. In terms of Frida, that would be a "Yes", as the previous troper noted, however, Héctor is taller that Frida is (remember, in life, Frida often wore long dresses to hide her atrophied later on amputated leg). Likewise, in Ernesto's case, his body was intact.
    • Remember that your "skeleton form" is not 'actually'' your body—your form as a skeleton is (most likely) a representation of how you are at heart (i.e., how you identify yourself as or what you feel you're like). Frida wouldn't "identify" with her atrophied leg, so she would manifest in the Land of the Dead with two fully-functional legs. That's why Ernesto appears as a healthy skeleton and not a pile of broken bones—obviously that's not how he would identify even if his living body was crushed.
    • Even if Frida did appear with a bum leg, it's not unlikely that she went to a Bones store (as speculated by a previous Headscratcher) and just got herself a new leg.

     Putting Héctor's photo up 
  • Before Miguel found out they were related, did he think his living family would be okay with Héctor's photo being on their ofrenda, even though he was a complete stranger to them? Is that considered acceptable under normal circumstances, and if not, how was he planning to get away with it?
    • The movie more or less deals with this at the end, when Coco finally remembers, however, it should be worth noting that Miguel could have made something of a private ofrenda for Héctor (I remember reading something on the Fridge page about making an ofrenda for someone, whether you knew them or not, as a charity)
    • The only requirement to cross the bridge is that you have a photo or other token on an ofrenda somewhere; whether it's a relative or not doesn't matter. After all, the skeleton with the extensive braces had his photo on his dentist's ofrenda.

     Telling Imelda sooner 
  • Why did Miguel wait until they reunited with his other family members before telling Imelda about Héctor's murder? He could've explained the situation and asked for her help once she'd gotten them out of the sinkhole. Use Pepita to bust back into Ernesto's mansion and retrieve the photo, without having to wait until the Celestial Deadline was right upon them.
    • Most likely, Imelda wanted the rest of the family to know that Miguel wasn't dead yet, and that they weren't too late to save him. Also, the places before they met up with the other family members weren't exactly suitable for explaining what they just learned; the cenote was a place they needed to be rescued from, and riding on the back of a giant flying alebrije would be too tiresome even if Miguel wasn't occupied with embracing Dante as a spirit guide.

     The name Coco 
  • Why naming a daughter Coco? It means coconut in Spanish and is a male name (Spanish names ended in o are male, ended in a are female) pretty unusual for a girl's name.
    • "Coco" is a nickname; her true name is Socorro.
    • Aw, that makes more sense.

  • How does the Riveras' hate for music comes along regarding new members? Unless they married among cousins which seems unlikely, the Riveras would date people outside their family line who do not share their hatred towards music, marry them and have children with them. Does every new adition to the Rivera Clan just got along with their anti-musi crusade?
    • Yes.
    • One of the main themes of the film is the strength and importance of familial bonds. We can presume that the Riveras-by-marriage were willing to give up music because their love for their significant others was just that strong. People make changes and sacrifices for the ones they love all the time, like Miguel giving up his ambition to keep Héctor from being forgotten - it's just that this change is slightly more impactful than most. (On the other hand, for every Rivera-by-marriage we see, there may have been a dozen or more relationships that came and went before them, with people who weren't willing to give up music in order to pursue things further. There's nothing suggesting that the lasting relationships were developed very easily.)

     Guitar in the Shrine II 
  • Ernesto's guitar has been mounted on the wall of his shrine for decades and no one has tried to steal it? Seriously? That guitar has got to be worth millions, and the only thing a thief would have to get past is an easily breakable locked window. How it could it not have been stolen by the time the movie takes place?
    • Maybe the guitar is only put up there for Dia de los Muertos. when there's loads of people around who would easily notice someone breaking in. There could be a replica on display throughout the rest of the year while the real guitar is kept somewhere secure.
      • But no one saw Miguel sneaking in to the shrine. If it was just put there for Dia de los, you'd think they would station at least one security guard in the shrine itself for the duration of the event.
      • It's true that they didn't notice Miguel breaking in, but it didn't take long for them to realize that the window was broken, and the guy who came in to investigate did seem to be some sort of a security guard. And the guitar only being put up on the Day of the Dead does allow for some unintentional security, in that whoever tries to steal it is instantly cursed for the theft and has to obtain a family blessing in order to return to the Land of the Living.
    • Besides, I'm sure there've been replicas made over the years, and there isn't anything special about the guitar in the tomb that sets it apart or identifies it as the real deal. It'd be easier to acquire a replica and market it as the real thing than it would be to go to the trouble of stealing it.
      • I think you're underestimating the factor of human greed. That guitar is the real deal, it's worth a ton, and people would want it, regardless of how hard it would be to authenticate it. Imagine there was a shrine to Kurt Cobain with his real guitar inside. And that shrine had no guards or cameras or any anti-theft measures other then a locked window. How long do you think that guitar would stay there?
      • I'm just trying to come up with explanations for how it hasn't been stolen yet, however unlikely they might seem. I still think the most probable one is that the guitar is only put up in the tomb on Dia de los Muertos, with the security guard and the loads of people in the area acting as safeguards against it being stolen, although even this doesn't explain how the guitar was left sitting on the floor all night, or how Miguel was able to take it and leave so easily the next morning. Maybe it's just something the animators weren't really thinking about?
    • I’m only a newbie guitarist and definitely not an expert on this sort of thing, but I was reading about how to clean my guitar recently, and one source advised that you keep your instrument safely stored somewhere when it isn’t in use; despite how tempting it might be to put it on display, doing so creates an opportunity for unnecessary buildup of dirt and dust and stuff. If that’s true, it makes sense for Ernesto’s guitar to only be put on display at certain times, like Dia de Muertos.
      • Unfortunately, the movie does show that the guitar is regularly kept in the shrine; when Miguel first picks it up, he wipes a layer of dust off its face.
      • Yes, but even that doesn't mean that the guitar is kept in the tomb outside of the holiday. It just means it isn't cleaned regularly.
    • What really doesn't make sense is at the end of the movie, when Miguel is sent back to the Land of the Living. The guitar is still on the floor from when he violated Imelda's first blessing; we're supposed to assume no one noticed and hung it back up? Especially since they know there was a break-in earlier. And then he's allowed to grab the guitar, run right out of the tomb's open doors with it, and make it all the way home without anyone stopping him. Yes, it was necessary to have it to restore Coco's memories, and yes, Ernesto stole it from Miguel's ancestor, but he'd have a hard time proving that to anyone who caught him with it.
    • One other thing that discredits the feasibility of stealing the guitar is that you'd either have to A.) smuggle a guitar case into the shrine without attracting notice from all the people outside, or B.)

     Héctor never saw Ernesto's films in the afterlife? 
  • If Ernesto's movies are being shown in the afterlife, then wouldn't Héctor have seen them all by now? Surely he'd want to see his old music buddy's movies, right? And of course if he saw the movies, then he would have seen the scene with the poison and made the connection to his own death.
    • Héctor was still bitter about Ernesto stealing his songs, even before he knew Ernesto had murdered him over them. The two weren't exactly on friendly terms in the afterlife.
    • I get that, I just find it odd that in 60+ years those films have been available for viewing in the afterlife, Héctor never got around to watching them. With how popular Ernesto is and how those movies are being constantly broadcast, you'd think he'd have seen them by pure accident after so many years.
    • We don't really know that they're being constantly broadcast, and if they're only shown inside movie theatres, it's not as if he could have stumbled into one on accident. It's also possible (albeit unlikely, given his history) that he has seen some of Ernesto's films, but the one with the poisoning scene didn't interest him enough to sit through it.

     It's not called "Night" of the Dead, guys. 
  • Why does the movie act as though Dia de los Muertos only lasts for one night, when it starts on October 31st and doesn't end until November 2nd? Miguel's abuelita exclaims, "Dia de los Meurtos has begun!" at sundown the night Miguel runs off, Héctor says that this is the only night he has to cross the marigold bridge, and Miguel explicitly needs to get his blessing before the holiday ends at sunrise.
    • The final day of Día de Muertos is November 2nd. November 1st is a day for remembering dead children.

     Alternative means of remembrance 
  • Just to be clear, if someone had come across Héctor's letters to Coco after she died, would that have meant anything as to him being "remembered"? Or what if Coco were to write something down herself, but died before someone could read it? Would Héctor disappear from the afterlife, then pop back into existence once someone came across it?
    • If there's evidence of a person's existence in terms of who they were as a person that's possible to discover even if no one actively remembers them, the spirit in question would be probably unconscious but not disintegrated as long as the evidence can still be discovered by a living person.

     Worst crowd ever, am I right? 
  • Don't the reactions of the crowd to Ernesto's secret being exposed seem a little...understated? They just saw him toss a living child to his death, and all they do is boo and throw stuff at him when he comes back onstage. Knowing how crazy some fans can be, what are the odds that at least one person there wouldn't be passionate enough to leap onstage and assault him?
    • There’s already enough evidence against him for the authorities to deal with him. Even if someone tried to storm the stage, they’d need to get across the orchestra pit first.
    • It wouldn’t be surprising if the residents of the Land of the Dead have become a little desensitized to the concept of death, as well. They all rightfully shun Ernesto, since it’s still a horrible thing to do. But since they all know there’s an afterlife that everyone winds up in eventually, their minds are automatically going to process it differently than they would if they were still alive.

     When did he add the poison? 
  • Watching the flashback scene of Héctor's death, I can't see any indication of when Ernesto added the poison. We see him going through the motions of pouring the glasses, with no sign of anything out of the ordinary. The only time he turns away from the audience is when he's turning to give the drink to Héctor, meaning Héctor would've seen him adding the poison had he done it then. The only other explanation is that the poison was already in the bottle the drinks were poured from...but Ernesto drinks from his own glass, so he would've ingested the poison too, if that had been the case.
    • Several fanfics speculate that the shot glass had been poisoned before the drink was poured, likely by adding some drops and letting it evaporate. This does raise disturbing implications as to how long Ernesto had been considering murdering Héctor.
    • We don't actually see Ernesto drink from the glass! He lifts it to his lips, but it cuts away before we see whether he swallows it.
      • Then why didn't Héctor find anything suspicious at the time? Either Ernesto didn't drink it at all and left it in the glass, or he drank it and then spat it out before walking to the train station. Either case should've easily tipped Héctor off that he'd tampered with the drinks, and yet he clearly hadn't suspected Ernesto at all until Miguel showed him the film scene.
    • Ernesto could have mimed putting the glass to his lips, then after Hector took a drink, put it down and hustled him out the door to start his journey home. Hector could have easily been distracted with thoughts of returning to his family or not missing a train or a dozen other issues.

     Leaving the tomb 
  • When Miguel is running home with the guitar at the end of the film, the doors to Ernesto's tomb are sitting open for him to pass through them. Considering everyone had that scare about the guitar being stolen the night before, why didn't the security guard lock it up afterwards?
    • We saw when the guard came in that the gate had the lock installed within it. And a lot of doors are designed so that they can be opened from the inside, even if they’re locked from the outside. So even if the tomb gate was locked up, Miguel could still make it out after returning to the Land of the Living.
    • Miguel didn't open the gate himself, though - the movie shows us that it was already sitting open, and he just ran right through it.

     Why did it need to be All Part of the Show? 
  • I think I understand why Imelda couldn't tell the audience about Ernesto's crimes when she ended up onstage during the concert - who would actually believe her at that point? - but why did she have to start singing and make it seem like she was supposed to be there? Why couldn't she just run offstage, give the photo to Miguel, and send him home? It's not as though the security guards had her fenced in or anything.
    • The audience would’ve wondered why she was even on stage to begin with if she just bailed as soon as the platform stopped moving.
    • ...And? Why does it matter what the audience thought?
    • She panicked. She wasn't fenced in, but the guards were fairly close and she may not have known if she could outrun them (to say nothing of when she'd have to stop and give Miguel his blessing when they were so close behind her.) So she became part of the act, so Ernesto couldn't remove her without losing face with the audience.
    • The audience shielded her from full-on agression from the guards and Ernesto. At the very least she could hope Ernesto would not compromise himself by fighting a defenseless woman in front of camera - she would cry for help and if there was at least one police officer in the crowd there would be many uncomfortable questions. That's why the guards hesitate and even shy away from open confrontation.

    Skeleton horses? 
  • Why were there skeleton horses on the polo court in Ernesto’s mansion instead of Alebrije horses?
    • They didn't necessarily need to be Alebrije. There can be dead animals in the land of the dead along with spirit guides.
      • True, but one would assume the rules of stories and memories apply to animals as well, and how many horses, aside from a few racehorses and horses who appeared in popular westerns, would have shrines made for them?
      • Remember, having a shrine or an ofrenda photo is only required to cross the marigold bridge, something animals (excluding alebrije, who can seemingly cross over freely) probably aren't concerned with. The only necessity to exist in the Land of the Dead is to have stories told about you so that you're remembered by the living, and there are plenty of famous animals throughout history who meet that criteria.

     Héctor and the other Riveras 
  • Didn't any of Miguel's deceased relatives besides Imelda know who Héctor was? It's implied that he's made multiple attempts to reconcile with the family in the Land of the Dead, but when Miguel first sees him trying to cross the marigold bridge, all his tia Rosita has to say about it is, "I don't know what I'd do if no one put up my photo." I know Héctor was still ostracized at that point, but wouldn't she at least have pointed him out to Miguel? "Hey, there's your great-great-grandfather...We don't really talk about him."
    • It could be that Imelda and her brothers were the only ones who were aware that Héctor was the disappeared musician, and/or that Imelda made it a point that nobody was allowed to pay him any attention at all.

     Ofrenda location 
  • I imagine this is probably just part of the holiday, but why do the Riveras keep their ofrenda on display inside their house, while other people seem to have theirs' set up outside, in the area near Ernesto's tomb? Does it just come down to personal preference or something?
    • It’s probably because it’s easier. People may have it at the graves because it’s one or two people, however, the Rivera’s might just find it easier to keep the Ofrenda’s at home, instead at graves which could be scattered across the graveyard.

     Just go to the authorities 
  • Why at no point did Héctor suggest taking Miguel to the authorities to get his blessing from Ernesto? If they have an entire agency called the Department of Family Reunions, you'd think they would have an easier time finding an audience with Ernesto when Miguel's life depends on it, and while it's obvious why Miguel wouldn't be in line with this idea, wouldn't him shooting it down if it was brought up have tipped Héctor off that something was up? It's like, he dolls Miguel up with skeleton makeup even though there's no reason to keep him in disguise - if everyone knew there was a living person in the Land of the Dead, you'd think that would motivate them to help get him home.
    • Perhaps the department of family reunions doesn't have enough pull to get an audience with Ernesto/are too busy to put so much effort into that kind of thing on the Day of the Dead, even with a boy's life depending on it (after all they were only so helpful for Miguel at the beginning, and in that case his family was already right there.) Either that, or Héctor didn't want to risk that they'd put a stop to his scheme to get his picture put up by someone he didn't even know so he could go to the land of the living. Either way, most of the dead seemed more shocked or weirded out to see Miguel as a living person than concerned, so making him look dead was just to get rid of that hassle.
      • I'm not disagreeing with your answer, but in what way wasn't the Department of Family Reunions helpful to Miguel? As you said, his family was right there and willing to give him their blessing - the problem was that Miguel ran away because he didn't want to accept it. Beyond helping look for him, what more were you expecting the DFR to do?

     Miguel drowning 
  • Why would Ernesto dive after Miguel if at that moment he thought the boy was a skeleton and therefore couldn't drown? I would expect everyone treating it as just a funny mishap, but Ernesto looks so worried as if he'd already known Miguel was alive.
    • There are many things that in real life won't kill you, but are inconvenient and possibly painful(tripping or slipping, minor accidental injuries, etc.) that would make you look like a jerk if simply ignored them. In addition, incidents like someone falling into the pool and injuring themselves tend to be create less than favorable memories for partygoers if they linger for too long. Keep in mind Ernesto is OBSESSED with his public image, so getting them out not only makes him look better, but turns what could be a party killer into an act of heroism, which keeps the mood up.
  • There were a ton of people around the pool. Even if they were mesmerised by Miguel's performance, did none of them think to stop the boy before he falls into the pool?
    • I think the first question could be answered by Ernesto wanting an opportunity to look heroic in front of all his guests, and his worried expression was part of the act. For the second one, no, none of them thought to stop him. If they did, then the movie would have gone differently. They were all too distracted by the very sudden and genuinely good act coming from a strange kid.
    • The bystanders probably figured Miguel would walk around the pool to get to Ernesto, since common sense dictates that normal people wouldn't walk right into a pool that's right in front of them without meaning to. By the time it became clear to them that Miguel wasn't paying attention to where he was walking, it was too late to stop him.

     Oscar and Felipe’s age 
  • Does anyone know what the age difference is between Imelda and her twin brothers? Because it’s not easy to tell.
    • Oscar and Felipe both died very young, in their 20s; Imelda died well into her seventies. Since all three of them appear as the age (or relative age) as when they died, it's impossible to know whether there's one year or ten years between them. This is a question that can only be answered by a crewmember.

     Imelda's ignorance 
  • One thing I've wondered: Imelda disowned Héctor for never returning, but he was poisoned by Ernesto. That means Imelda was never notified. This doesn't make sense, as Ernesto and Héctor were likely very popular. Surely someone would have found Héctor's cadaver and notified Imelda about it.
    • Ernesto killed Héctor before he became famous. Before, they were just touring Mexico in hopes of earning money and recognition. As for Imelda being unaware, it is likely that Ernesto had Héctor buried in an unmarked grave before others could find out.
      • But then, why didn't Ernesto send Imelda a message notifying her of Héctor's death? (Obviously, it wouldn't have said how Héctor died. It would probably just have said that he died of food poisoning.) It's not like Imelda would find anything suspicious.
      • Honestly, even if she didn't find it suspicious, it would've introduced several potential roadblocks into the plan Ernesto started by murdering Héctor. For starters, Imelda might've wanted an autopsy done on her husband's body, which would've led to the poison being discovered. If not that, she could've demanded the return of things like his guitar and songs, meaning Ernesto can't claim either of them as his own. Another possibility is that Ernesto didn't even know who Imelda was, or at least not that much about her. He only vaguely recognizes her when the Riveras have snuck backstage at his concert.
    • And even if Imelda had known that Héctor died from food poisoning just a few months after he left home, would that have changed anything? She's been in the Land of the Dead for a good while by the time the movie is set, and mentions having had to turn her husband away in the past, suggesting he tried to explain to her the circumstances of his death, and she didn't really care.

     Ernesto's consequence of murdering Miguel 
  • What would happen if Ernesto succeeded in killing Miguel by throwing him down the skyscraper without Dante and Pepita saving him?
    • Well... Miguel would've died. More specifically, he would've been trapped in the Land of the Dead for good, meaning Coco would've forgotten her last memories of Héctor without anyone there to rekindle them. And Miguel may or may not be able to cross the marigold bridge from then on, depending on whether his family chooses to include him on their ofrenda or not. The only thing that wouldn't change was Ernesto's fate (whatever it was), since his crimes had already been exposed by the time he threw Miguel to his death. Even if the living world never finds out what he did, it just means he's immortalized himself in an afterlife where the majority of its residents will forever hate his guts. (If he had any.)

  • This may classify more as Fridge Horror, but, uhh...what happens to an infant who dies and ends up in the Land of the Dead?
    • When they are in TLOTD, the Evil Alebrijes will take them to the land of the Forgotten, and turn them into Xibalba's evil monstrous dogs... Mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
    • Seriously, though. Even if a baby has relatives in the Land of the Dead, how will they know who he or she is? Can they tell someone's identity just from them dying? Or do they have orphanages or foster homes where babies are taken until they're adopted or claimed?
      • Likely through the remaining living relatives. The dead relatives could know which one of their living relatives was pregnant recently and find the child that way. Might be getting a bit into Wild Mass Guessing, but nothing suggests families in The Land of the Dead can't oversee their living relatives. Only that they can't visit them outside of the holiday.

     Beyond the Day of the Dead 
  • This is just something I realized; do any of these kids go to school? We see them making shoes, shining shoes, or (in Miguel's case) going around town, but we never see them going to school. And if they did go to school, it's most likely they would be hearing music, which the Rivera's prohibit. So either they are going to school, defying Abuelita's/Imelda's rules, or they aren't, and are getting little to no education beyond Shoe working.
    • If I remember right when his dad announces Miguel will be helping in the shoeshop instead of cleaning shoes, he specifically says Miguel will be working after school.

    Situational awareness 
  • Was Imelda aware that Miguel was running around the Land of the Dead with Héctor? She likely would've realized they were together when she spotted Miguel leaving the station, but her follow-up response to Miguel running off leaves it vague as to whether or not she was aware that Miguel had found her husband. Was she aware that Miguel didn't know that Héctor was his great-great-grandfather? Did she think Héctor wouldn't stay remembered long enough to send him home? What?
    • Considering she didn't think to look onstage when Miguel and Héctor were performing in the talent show, and since Héctor wasn't with Miguel when Imelda catches up with him in the alley, my guess is that she didn't know that the two of them had already found each other and thought that Miguel was still looking for his great-great-grandfather. And the only way this makes sense is if she hadn't recognized Héctor when he was talking to Miguel inside the station, which could be handwaved due to how far away she was from him.
  • Adding onto that, when she catches up to Miguel in the alley, it still isn't exactly clear if she was aware of Miguel crossing paths with Héctor, and when she explains her reasoning for banishing music from her life, she doesn't specify who her husband was. Was she not aware that Miguel thought his great-great-grandfather was Ernesto de la Cruz?
    • Whether Imelda knows what Miguel knew isn't really important, except that she probably didn't consider Ernesto had anything to do with it — Miguel only mistook him for his great-great-grandfather because he had the guitar that was also in the family photo, and Imelda presumably never knew Ernesto had the guitar due to the music ban. So she either thought Miguel was looking for Héctor, or she thought he was looking for some guy he doesn't know the name of, in which case she doesn't mention her husband's name because that would make it easier for Miguel to find him.

     I guess brothers don't have free will? 
  • How come Imelda's two brothers never did anything about the music ban or Héctor's situation, assuming they knew him when they all were alive? I could understand Imelda's children, grandchildren, and so on obeying her seeing as she's the matriarch, but Oscar and Felipe appear to be just as fearful of disobeying her even though she's just their sister...They even refuse to give Miguel their blessing presumably only because Imelda doesn't want them to. Is there a reason why they can't have any authority over their own decisions?
    • Imelda is heavily implied to have been older than her brothers when they were alive. They may have only appeared closetr in age or even older because the novelization mentions that she was the first member of the family to pass on after Héctor died.

     Boundaries between life and death 
  • While watching this film, I got to wondering how exactly the Lands of the Living and the Dead connect to each other — where the marigold bridge begins, so to speak. Miguel and his relatives make their way to it right from the cemetery, but does that mean it occupies the space of something in the Land of the Living that the dead can't visit? If so, what determines that? We also see Miguel's ancestors celebrating at his home during the epilogue, so they are able to leave the cemetery. Am I thinking too hard about this?
    • The dead can go anywhere in the Land of the Living on Dia de Muertos as long as they return before sunrise. As for the bridge, it could be that it's only tangible from within the cemetery; when you're outside the cemetery, it cannot be touched by the dead or cursed.

     Who is he supposed to be asking again? 
  • Why does Héctor start asking Ernesto for help when he confronts him and Miguel at his mansion? He acts as though Ernesto is the one who’s fulfilling his request or allowing for it to happen, even bringing up the “I would move heaven and earth for you” thing from when they were alive...Question is, isn’t Miguel the one who’s actually doing him the favor? He’s the one who’s going back to the Land of the Living and is going to put Héctor‘s photo up on his ofrenda, so what exactly is Héctor asking for from Ernesto?
    • Héctor was initially asking Miguel, but Ernesto took the photo, and Héctor was explaining why he wanted Miguel to take the photo with him to the living world. As for mentioning his promise to move heaven and earth, he was saying that being able to see his daughter before she crossed over would be enough to make up for Ernesto's negligence of Héctor.

     Talent show 
  • When Miguel suggests playing in the talent show to his family, they all seem strangely accepting of it compared to how indignant they are about music at all other times. Two of his cousins mock him for not having talent (supposedly), and Elena ultimately says he can’t go...but because it’s Dia de Muertos and he should be with family, not because “NO MUSIC!”, which is their response at every other point in the movie, no matter the circumstances. So why didn’t anyone flip out or get mad at the idea of him playing in the talent show?
    • Presumably, they didn't think he would be playing an instrument. Why they would be okay with it when other people clearly would be, I don't know.

    The Art of the Day of the Dead 
  • Does the picture of the departed have to be on an Ofrenda? Like, if instead of an Ofrenda, they essentially set up a similar shrine around a large wall picture, would that still work? Also, the first Day of the Dead celebrations obviously couldn't use photos, and while I assume Portraits work just fine, would clay statues still work?
    • I don't have any firsthand experience with this, but I recall hearing somewhere that effigies of people or just certain belongings of their are sufficient in place of a photo, or before photos were used. But Miguel doesn't have any belongings of Héctor's besides the guitar Ernesto stole from him, and he probably didn't think he could remove that from the tomb without being apprehended.

     Imelda's Bones 
  • If skeletons can detach their bones without any damage, then why doesn't Imelda use this technique to (a) slip through the gate door when confronting Miguel and (b) send Héctor's photo over with her hand or arm during her dance fight with Ernesto? It would've saved her some trouble.
    • My impression is that intentionally detaching yourself for those purposes isn't something that's commonly done in the Land of the Dead, and that Héctor resorted to doing it over the years out of his need to be cunning and resourceful in order to get by. Imelda's probably never needed to do anything like it to herself, so she's less likely to think of trying it in a pinch.

  • I know, I know, it's a dumb question that doesn't factor into anything, but I'm curious about it. Are the people in the Land of the Dead meant to be wearing wigs? That's what seems to be the case, since they're shown to be removable at several points, but does that mean that every skeleton is technically bald when they arrive in the Land of the Dead, or do their skeletal bodies come complete with a detachable hairstyle that matched the one they had when they were alive?
    • It's been mentioned up in the "Injuries after Death" folder above that you likely enter the Land of the Dead with a skeleton body that represents how you identify (the example used is that if you have a bum leg in life that you don't accept as part of your "true self," then you'll have two healthy legs in the Land of the Dead). Running with this, it doesn't seem unreasonable that you'd formulate in the Land of the Dead with the same hairstyle you had in life. As for why it's a wig, well, that's just part of the whole "detachable body" aesthetic.

  • During their "Un Poco Loco" performance, there's a point where Héctor calls Miguel "gordito". I was curious, so a quick run through Google Translate shows that it means "chubby". Why would Héctor call Miguel that when he's not even remotely pudgy or fat?
    • “Gordito” is specifically “gordo” (fat, thick) with the -ito diminutive attached. It’s probably supposed to be a bit of a mildly offensive Affectionate Nickname in the moment, or supposed to be interpreted more along the lines of “big guy” in English.
    • Could also be that even someone as skinny as Miguel would be considered meaty or pudgy to a guy who's literally nothing but bones. Maybe Héctor was just cracking a joke at Miguel's non-skeletal-ness.
    • Or it was the opposite: Héctor called stick-figure Miguel gordinto as a joke. Because, you know, it's ironic.

     Finding the book 
  • Coco had that book containing all of the letters Héctor had written to her sitting in a drawer in her bedroom, presumably since before her dementia set in since she still knew exactly where it was when she recovered. What are the odds no one came across it before then, and saw the letters and the man's face that was obviously torn out of the ofrenda photo? She must've had everyone doing everything for her for quite some time; it seems doubtful that her things could've remained that undisturbed. For that matter, why didn't she ever pass the book onto anyone else when it contained the last memories of her father?
     "Each time you hear a sad guitar" 
  • I know it's meant to be a subtle foreshadowing that the song wasn't actually written by him, but how come Ernesto never thought to change the lyric when he decided to steal and remake "Remember Me"? Especially since I'm sure there were a lot of observant fans in-universe who found it weird that this lyric would be included in such an upbeat and lively song. You'd think a musician like Ernesto would notice the obvious contradiction and change it to something happier-sounding, unless he was just that lazy.
    • The song still has a somewhat melancholy tone to it even in the... reworked version spun by Ernesto. Maybe he continued to use it as a farewell song in the days when he was still a travelling musician, playing it for people in each town he visited just before he left for the next one.

     Singing means you don't hate music? 
  • Miguel tells Imelda that she could never understand his love of music. Imelda responds by singing a few of the words to 'La Lorona', and Miguel turns around and says "I thought you hated music." Why would that be his first reaction? Why would he reconsider whether she dislikes music just because she could sing a few notes?
    • Miguel’s family yell at him whenever he does even that, or listens to someone else doing it, and they say they do so because of Imelda’s decrees. So Miguel assumed she hated music so much even singing a few lines would be anathema to her, and wasn’t expecting her to ever do so. Hence it caught his attention when she voluntarily did so.