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The environment is deliberately fighting Joy and Sadness.
  • This explains why the bridge collapses, the train is derailed, the recall tube breaks, etc. The whole place is trying to stop them from returning!
  • The place wants to keep them from returning until they can work together properly.
  • The control panel shuts down completely because Fear, Anger and Disgust are damaging Riley. It too is sentient; it's more like your average Joe Android, seeing the logic, unlike them who are too emotional sometimes.

Take her to the Moon
  • Bing-Bong is a child-like character, and does mean that Joy should take Riley to the Moon. Joy has chosen to interpret that as "Reach for the stars", which works almost as well for our imaginary friend. She will, for Bing-Bong's sake, make sure that Riley will be the very best she ever can be. All together, awww...

Different Leaders make for different people, but that's not a bad thing.
Keeping in mind that Joy wouldn't be Riley's lead Emotion if she wasn't respected by the others, or if she wasn't usually right, a person's lead Emotion is usually the one who works best most often with the life they have. Riley had a happy life, so Joy naturally had the most experience with that console. For example:
  • Joy: A naturally happy, optimistic person
  • Sadness: An empathic, calm person
  • Disgust: A selective person with high standards
  • Fear: A cautious person who avoids conflict
  • Anger: A confident person who can take on the world.
    • Riley's Anger is aggressive, but his decisions are too rash. Dad's Anger is still confident and aggressive, but he certainly isn't rash and commands a great deal of respect. Mom's Sadness is her leader, but she isn't in tears, she is highly empathetic and sensitive to the feelings of others. Riley's Fear is something of a coward, letting others push him around and even trying to run away, but Riley isn't a coward. Jordan's Fear was initially terrified of girls, but of course so were all his Emotions - his Fear is a cautious guy but he doesn't let people walk all over him and he's the only one paying attention.

The "funny movie where the dog dies" is Marley and Me
  • Why not?
  • It's more likely to be Old Yeller, as that's a Disney film which has become a stock reference for sad movies.
  • That was my thought as well! Though I think that may be more of a generational thing...
  • It could be "All dogs go to Heaven" too
  • A lot of Death by Newbery Medal books could fit the bill.
  • Or Frankenweenie.

Things that fade in the memory dump teleport to the subconscious
It is a common theory that you never truly forget anything, it just gets stored in the subconscious. Bing Bong also appears in specials so he must be alive somewhere.

Bing-Bong didn't evaporate, he teleported elsewhere.
Specifically, to Riley's Mom or Dad's mind. Riley may have forgotten her imaginary friend as a byproduct of growing up, but her folks still have memories of their little girl playing her "Bing-Bong" games, singing his song, drawing his picture, etc. When he faded away in the Memory Dump, Bing-Bong instantly appeared in the long-term stacks of whichever parent retains more of those recollections from Riley's toddlerhood. He'll have quite a few more years to reminisce about her childhood and watch Riley finish growing up, peeking at his new host-mind's memory spheres: enough so that he'll finally come to terms with how he'll someday fade away for good, once they forget about their daughter's goofy made-up playmate. By then, he'll know grown-up Riley has matured enough to be fulfilled and content without him, so will make peace with his own fate.

Continuing from the above, Jangles made a Heel–Face Turn and became good friends with Bing-Bong.
What if, when Bing-Bong was first taken there, Jangles kidnapped him because he knew that Bing-Bong didn't belong there, but now that Bing-Bong is an official resident of the Subconscious, Jangles saw him as a friend. I know this is probably Jossed, because Jangles is the living incarnation of Riley's coulrophobia, so it's unlikely that he can be good, but wouldn't it be heartwarming?

The Brazilian Helicopter Pilot is Felix Cortez.
  • Someone in "Clear and Present Danger" (Either John Clark or Dan Murray) mentioned that Cortez was "an ace at compromising people", like he did something like his Moira Wolfe operation before. And also, Mrs. Andersen seems the type of woman that Cortez easily compromises.

Riley is the illegitimate daughter of Mrs. Andersen and the Brazilian pilot
  • This is assuming that the Brazilian pilot isn't anything more than a fantasy, a false memory. Note that the fact that Riley's teacher's emotions fantasize about the exact same pilot is a hint as this being true.
    • The pilot can't be a fantasy, because one of Mrs. Andersen's emotions (either Anger or Disgust, I think) said, "For THIS we gave up that Brazilian pilot?", meaning, that the pilot was attainable and not just a fantasy. (She doesn't need to give up the pilot if he's just a fantasy.)
      • Alternately he was working at a resort she went to for Spring Break one year (and apparently, so did Riley's teacher) and while she may have had a crush on him, he may have never actually been a particularly realistic romantic partner choice.

Riley's parents will eventually have another baby
Riley's younger sibling will be the focus of the sequel as he/she deals with the struggles of being a kid (such as bullying). Meanwhile, Riley is now a teen and her emotions are adjusting to new changes. Her sibling will also have an imaginary friend similar to Bing-Bong.

Anger and Fear's body shape symbolizes they way they think.
Anger thinks that the world is an orderly place and that everything has a purpose (he's shaped like a brick), while Fear sees chaos everywhere(his body is more curved).
  • I thought he looked more like Meat Boy than a brick.
    • Word of God has stated that Anger was based on a fire brick and Fear, a raw nerve.

Anger is a Covert Pervert.

This will be the movie that will help Pixar Win Back the Crowd.
  • At one point, the film was at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with 74 positive reviews out of 74 and many of the critics saying this is Pixar's finest work yet. Inside Out looks to be heading this way. By the Sunday after the film's release, the reviews were at 181 out of 185 positive reviews for a not quite perfect, but nevertheless extremely respectable 98%. Furthermore, the film's overall average rating was at 8.9/10, higher than Ratatouille, Up or WALL•E.
    • Looks like you're right so far.

People with serious mental illnesses may have broken, damaged, missing or malfunctioning emotions or control panels, either having become so throughout their lives (due to trauma) or created wrong
  • The film makes clear that near everything that happens within the mental landscape mirrors or represents mental processes affecting the person to which it belongs. Furthermore, throughout the film Riley experiences emotional and mental turmoil that could arguably be interpreted as coming close to that associated with certain conditions, which possesses clear visible effects on her mindscape (most notably, the emotional control panel shutting down and locking a bad idea in, which seems to be an obvious mirror for the first stages of depression. It stands to reason, then, that similar effects may be notable within the mind of a person with an actual condition. Consider, for example, the point at which Joy falls into the memory dump - in the real world, Riley experiences the feeling of "I will never be happy again"... One which is also among the key definitions of depression. What if, in a person who has depression, Joy has somehow (through a symbolic mental drama like Riley's) ended up falling into the Dump and completely disintegrating? Perhaps even more interestingly, what if the person was born with a chemical imbalance which causes depression? Perhaps in their minds, Joy never even arrived or was never created (or was created... As a tiny, deformed, sickly joke). These people simply make do with the emotions they have, which obviously causes trouble. What about a person suffering from PTSD? Some strong disaster, perhaps felt inside the mindscape as an earthquake or a storm, literally broke their memory projector so it's now stuck in a loop, randomly replaying the traumatic vision? What about someone with BPD? They were born with mutated emotions - perhaps ones reminiscent of steroid abusers, grotesquely overdeveloped and hugely muscular - who fight over and hog the controls rather than sharing them peacefully? Would a person with autism have five, nearly identical looking emotions with faded color schemes, struggling to tell each other apart as they tiptoe uncomfortably around the control panel in confusion?
How does the brain of a madman look like?

  • Another thing to consider is people with disorders such as schizophrenia, which do not directly affect the emotions. Remember: the mindscape outside the control tower is actually a lot bigger. I believe that in people with schizophrenia, the emotions might be alright but the support staff - those blobbish people who live outside the tower and perform maintenance, are either missing, insufficient, or ill. As a result, everything breaks down: memories are not properly organized and are frequently lost, dumped or sent for projection at random. The doors to the abstraction chamber aren't secured properly so half abstracted ideas sometimes escape and ones that weren't supposed to wander inside and get trapped. Without guards, themes from the subconscious go on rampages unchecked and without a driver, the train of thought runs a confusing, disorderly course without schedule. Even if the emotions are fine, they're going to have a hard time working in such a rundown environment.
  • Depression could be from Sadness getting more power than joy. As seen in Riley, everything runs more smoothly as long as Joy is in charge and most memories are happy. If another emotion got command for whatever reason, it could cause difficulties. It could also come from emotions never quite reconciling. In Riley's preteen mind, the emptions are always competing. However, in the adults, all the emotions work together. And indeed at the end of the movie, Riley has memories of mixed emotions. Maybe people with issues are those that still only have simplistic solid colored memories. We also see that certain quirks in the mind are caused by workers. For example, a song stuck in your head is caused by a worker trolling the guys at HQ. Perhaps more serious disorders are caused by inept/disgruntled workers.
  • Confirmed, sort of, by Riley's First Date. Jordan's disorganised minscape represents his apathetic state.

As an example of the following, Jordan has a mental disorder of some sort.
Not something completely debilitating, but judging by how his mindscape is an extremely chaotic and disorganised environment, with some memories falling out of their appropriate containers, and the emotions scattered around the HQ, his mind is not exactly in the right place. He is likely to be extremely forgetful, and may have ADHD or something like that.

Every Emotion is different and that's why different people have different leaders
  • In Jordan's headquarters, we see that Fear seems the most responsible of his Emotions (although that's not saying a lot), and Jordan also has a lot of purple memory orbs. He does however seem a lot more inclined to stand up for himself than the cowardly Fear in Riley's headquarters. Presumably this means that when it comes to scary situations, he's much braver than most people, what with having more experience.
    • Despite how many red memory orbs Jordan seems to have, his Anger seems to have put all his focus on the skate ramps in headquarters, which is a much healthier way of venting than the way Riley's Anger seemed inclined to blow up on the Console over nothing. So when it is Jordan's Anger's turn, he's actually working in one of his other states, such as determination, courage or stamina.

In the possible sequel, Riley is a teenager
Maybe there is a sequel where Riley becomes a teenager and it is about what happens when one goes through puberty and all the conflicting emotions that go with this life-stage.
  • Unfortunately, I recall reading about a month ago that Pixar said that they probably won't make a sequel, so going by this, it seems that this theory is Jossed.
    • Unjossed. Pixar had no plans to make sequels to Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars, or even The Incredibles. Then Disney intervened and because they are owned by Disney they have to make them. If Disney wants an Inside Out sequel Pixar will make it.
    • And if Pixar refuses, one of Disney's in-house teams will do it, as is seen with Planes.
    • The heads of animation at Disney is Ed Catmull and John Lasseter. Otherwise known as The Founder and The Chief Creative Officer of Pixar. If someone higher up at Disney, which would probably have to be Iger himself, demanded that Pixar made a specific movie, there would probably be a lot of drama.

Each character covers more than one emotion.
Any emotions not present fall under the domain of one of the main five; they're just named after the one most used. Alternatively, non-represented emotions are considered mixes of more than one basic emotion, and are covered by multiple characters.
  • This could be true. A sixth emotion named Surprise was considered, but was removed when it was agreed that Fear already covered that emotion.
  • Watching the movie, this seems to already be true. As response to the comment above mine, many emotions were considered, even twenty-seven at one point, though because that would be much too many characters to keep up with and that other characters, such as Fear covering Surprise or Joy covering Pride, could cover the scrapped ones.

Each emotion has a Superpowered Evil Side.
This may be what happens when a person's emotions become unbalanced in this universe. For example, Joy becomes Mania, Sadness falls into Despair, Disgust ramps up into Hatred, Fear morphs into Terror, and Anger snaps and becomes Fury.
  • Alternately, the more "negative" emotions have Superpowered Good Sides. Fear could become Prudence and Disgust could become Sensitivity.
    • This could also apply to any of the emotions. Joy becomes Bliss, Anger to Passion, and Sadness to Empathy.
  • Jossed. There are good and bad sides to each emotion (for example, fear can bring about cowardice, but it's also about keeping you safe), and while the film's Aesop is essentially to show that one should express one's true feelings (i.e. that there's a time to feel each emotion), the emotions are never shown to actually be "Superpowered" when one of them dominates.

Inside Out could have a theme park attraction where Cranium Command used to be if the Film is a success.
Considering it's now only being used as an event pavilion.
  • Pete Docter was one of the animators who worked in Cranium Command so it would come back full circle.
  • There's also a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo from Figment, EPCOT's unofficial mascot, after the "Abstract Thought" scene, lending strength to this theory. Would this make Inside Out a Backdoor Pilot, had this been the plan all along?

There is no villain.
The movie will be about how even negative things can have positive sides (relating to the move on Riley's part and the negative emotions inside her head) and just because someone seems like your complete opposite, that doesn't mean you can't co-exist peacefully (since we see Riley's parents' emotions operating in relative harmony, that's likely what a balanced adult mind looks like and what Riley is meant to achieve but won't if Anger, Disgust and Fear cause too much damage while Joy and Sadness are missing).
  • Confirmed.

There will be a new emotion at the beginning of the sequel
  • A variation of the WMG above, a side-effect of clicking the puberty button is creating the emotion Libido/Lust.
  • Is that even an emotion? Plus, Pixar used a very specific theory/model for the emotions of this movie. Lust isn't in it.
  • Lust is not an emotion. It is a physical reaction, chemicals telling you to breed. Also her parents are well past puberty and don't have any "emotion" called Lust.

This movie will somehow make mental health somewhat less taboo to talk about.

Riley's mother suffers from depression, and her father, anger management issues.
Maybe not to extreme levels, but based on the new trailer, each character's emotions have a different ringleader, with her mother's being Sadness and her father's being Anger. This might represent the emotion which drives the character the most. In Riley's case, her Joy has been the most emphasized in promos, which could mean she is motivated by happiness.
  • Alternately, those are her parents' reactions to their move. Whatever people's "emotion ringleader" is shifts day by day or month by month depending on how their life is going. I do like this idea, though.
    • Riley's ringleader being Joy would explain why Joy is one of the emotions that gets lost and it might even explain why Anger and Disgust are going berserk since Joy would likely be fumbling in the aftermath of the move, a decidedly negative stimuli, which would in turn lead to the most temperamental emotions, Disgust and Anger, grasping at control since their usual leader can't bring herself to reign them in.
      • Looking at her parents for a moment, Mom is perhaps dominated by Sadness at that particular moment because she's clearly worried about Riley and her behaviour, worry being (for the purposes of the movie at least) a form of sadness. Dad, however, is presumably quite stressed with getting to grips with his new job on top of the move, with stress being a form of anger (again, for the purposes of the movie); hence, why Anger is currently in charge of him.
  • Sadness represents empathy and healing, not just despair; Anger represents a need for fairness. The true picture is that Mom is empathetic, and Dad highly self-disciplined (as shown by the NORAD styling of his Headquarters).

Riley is genderqueer
Going by the trailer, all of her Dad's emotions seem to be male, while all of mom's emotions seem to be female. Riley, on the other hand, has three female emotions, while other two-fifths or her psyche are male.Additionally, maybe this film will be in part about LGBT issues and show Riley exploring her gender identity.
  • I'd find this an enjoyable plot but given that Pixar targets young children and their families with their movies, this is sadly unlikely. I'd applaud Pixar if they had the gumption to do it though.
    • I expect fandom to have a field day with the idea.
      • The Emotions are shown in the Japanese trailer to have appeared for Riley in her infant/toddler years the way they are in the present. It could be that the gender of a person's Emotions is random at their birth, and they remain like that through their life. It's entirely possible that the older Andersons could have had all their Emotions be their opposite gender, or a mix, but they just happened to have a set of Emotions that are all their same gender.
    • I took Riley's emotions being so non-uniform as being part of Riley being a child and having a huge imagination, and that eventually, if she lost her imagination and creativity, her emotions would slowly start to look the same and like her. None of her Emotions look like her, but all of the ones belonging to her parents look just like them. Both of Riley's parents seem lacklustre in compared to their daughter, like they're going through the motions of life rather than really living it, so their emotions are all uniform and don't have distinct personalities like Riley's do. I mean look how they act vs how Riley's act. All of the parents emotions seem to have more level attitudes and don't express the emotion they represent any more than the others express it (ie, Anger isn't any more angry than Fear, Fear isn't any more frightened than Sadness, etc), where Riley's are Anthropomorphic Personifications of the emotions and express the emotion they represent all the time. I took Riley's emotions as having different genders as being per the norm for every child, but as they grow up and are continuously exposed to the harshness of reality and can't act with extreme emotions... I mean compare how children laugh to how adults laugh. Children _scream_ with laughter, where adults don't. Kids have more exaggerated emotions. So Riley has a more colourful cast of characters in her head than her parents do, which includes making them different genders so they stand out even more.
      • That theory would work if it weren't for the boy Riley bumps into at the movie's end. He appears to be about her age, but his emotions are all one gender.
      • That boy was entering into puberty, enough so that his emotions flipped out when a GIRL!!!! looked at him. He's probably mature enough, gender-wise, for his emotions to have assumed a specific orientation.
    • Possibly emotions start out as whichever gender of other person initially caused that emotion in the child. Riley first feels Joy when she first senses her mother's presence, and first feels Sadness when she needs to be nursed by her mother. If the first time she felt Anger was when her Daddy told her "no" about something, or the first time she felt Fear was when he played Peek-A-Boo with her and seemed to have "disappeared" when he covered his face, then naturally Riley's corresponding emotions would take on a Daddy-like form. Disgust could be female because her Mom happened to be the one who first offered her a bottle of milk that wasn't the ideal temperature, or a kind of baby food she didn't like.
    • Word of God has said that the gender of the emotions is irrelevant. The reason all the characters other than Riley have emotions of only one gender is to make the audience quickly understand exactly what they are looking at when we're zipping in and out of those characters' heads so quickly.
    • Perhaps it would be easier to say that the emotions that stared in Inside Out are templates used to design the emotions of the other real characters in the film. going by an out-of-universe explanation at least.
  • While all of Mom's emotions *are* female, Dad's Joy and Disgust (and maybe his Sadness, though we don't get a good look at her/him) do appear to be female. They just have moustaches. Perhaps they are physically female but identify as males?
  • Riley is prepubescent. Genderqueer and all that stuff are going to be some of the furthest things from her mind. Then as an above user pointed out, Pete Docter himself said that the gender of the emotions has no deep meaning whatsoever.
    • Yeah, because there are no kids who have ever realized that their assigned gender at birth is wrong before puberty. Puberty blockers don't exist or anything.
    • Source?
  • Recent research have shown that while you can identify male and female parts in the human brain brains with only male and female parts are very rare. So maybe the gender of emotions is not dependent on the gender of the person.
    • Also, a great amount of female/male "parts" are a result of socialization, i.e, pink is for girls, blue is for boys.

As an answer to the previous WMG: Fear and Anger will probably become female come puberty
The mixed gender of Riley's emotions represents not her gender identity, but rather the lack thereof: she is not yet sexually mature and thus has not yet realized psychologically as a woman, which is why some of her emotions are male. Once she's 16, her emotions will all be female.

Alternatively, the fact that her parents' emotions are of one gender shows that they're respectively classically feminine/masculine. Should Riley retain facets of character and/or interests traditionaly percieved as boyish, Anger and Fear will remain unchanged.

  • I'd like to believe that your theory is true. While I like other theories such as Riley being bi and her being gender fluid, this one seems to make the most sense.
  • I just came to add the above WMG, glad to see others were thinking the same.
  • Disagreeing with any 'gender of emotions indicates sexual preference - Jordan's Disgust to Dad's Disgust. Jordan's Disgust is wearing pants and skateboarding. But the emotion also looks very shapely under those tight clothes, and wears lipstick, which Dad's Disgust does not do. Of course she's wearing pants and skateboarding - she lives in the head of a pre-teen boy with four male emotions. That doesn't mean Jordan's gender-queer; maybe he's got a feminine side - and it lies in his standards for what's cool, fashionable or just plain disgusting.
    • For Fear/Disgust shippers, his Disgust seems to be laughing at Joy as Fear pounces him.

Alternatively, Riley is bisexual
In sort of a weird crossover WMG, one should take into account the His Dark Materials series with this theory. In that series, human's Daemon counterparts were usually opposite gender, but according to the author—as outlined on our own Word of Gay page—sometimes the genders of the two parties match. Pullman says this means the human is not straight.

We can infer somewhat the same here, only opposite-gendered emotions now refer to attractions to the same gender.

One could make the argument she only held interest in men through the course of the film, but as Riley matures, she may eventually discover bisexual tendencies. Though the gender ratio of her emotions could suggest she leans more towards the straight side.

The Gender of an Emotion has an effect on how an emotion expresses itself.

  • Men and women behave differently, right? It's just the way their brains and bodies and chemicals work. I just theorised that a female Emotion manipulates the control panel in a typically female way, while a male Emotion does it in a male way. Seeing as Riley's Anger is male, she, a girl, expresses her anger loudly and can be pretty aggressive, in a male way, but slightly different because the commands travel through a girl's body.

Riley has emotions that appear male for entirely cynical, marketing-based reasons

(i.e., the "Doylist" side of the Doylist versus Watsonian explanation.)

Originally, Riley had all-female emotions, until the higher ups panicked and thought that this would alienate young boys.

Alternately, if you want a slightly less cynical interpretation, somebody on the staff was aware of the implications and sold the idea of male emotions as a marketing ploy to get it past the censors.

A Person's Emotions Mature With Them
Pretty obvious, since the movie will most likely be just that, but notice how Riley's parents emotions all act closer to their owner than Riley's do. They most likely grow to closer match whoever they control once they fully develop as a person. This also raises the interesting implication that the emotions can change gender biologically.
  • Alternatively, perhaps the emotions change as the person develops more control over them; note how both Riley and her dad in the first trailer are currently being dominated by anger during their argument, but Riley is unable to control her temper and so gets flustered, lashes out and starts yelling, while her dad is a lot more controlled and calm about it.
  • The biological change in the emotions probably happens during or after puberty; this seems to be a logical point for it. And as a person ages, the emotions start to resemble (each other) and their owner more and more closely. At the moment of death, the emotions merge into an avatar of the owner—what some might call a soul—and depart this physical realm for the owner's choice of afterlife.

The Emotions will appear in some form of a Good Angel, Bad Angel scenario
For example, Anger could appear as Riley's temptation (shoulder) to get revenge on somebody while wearing a devil costume, and Fear would then appear (on her other shoulder) telling Riley that she'll get in big trouble while wearing an angel dress. The same could go for Joy (devil) and Sadness (angel). But that pairing would be more unlikely.
  • Jossed in the film itself, though it would have been confirmed in one of the earliest drafts.

The film will become a huge tearjerker.
We're going to get so attached to Riley's emotions that when she gets older, they start to lose their individuality and act as a single team, much like with her parents' emotions.
  • Sort of confirmed by Pixar themselves on Facebook. Since "feels" is a memetic phrase in response to a Tear Jerker, it might as well be right to put two and two together.
    • Pretty much confirmed now by the attendees of CinemaCon—reportedly, the entire audience was in tears, and to quote Rebecca Ford who was an attendee...
    Rebecca Ford: Oh my god. Inside Out is amazing. Remember that sequence in Up that made everyone cry? It is like that THE WHOLE TIME.
    • This film is designed to appeal to every human being, because everyone has emotions. One can apply what's happening to Riley and the Emotions to moments they themselves went through or are feeling now. Because of this, any tearjerker that happens in the movie will be even more super-effective to audiences than in most others!
      • Honestly, Inside Out did not resonate with this troper. Call me a liar if you will, but I mean it; I'm telling the truth. Guess that's what happens when you live quite a mundane life. Then again, watching it on an airplane ride may have something to do with it, or both.

Riley is her own worst enemy
Bing Bong is a manifestation of Riley's psyche, existing solely to suit her needs. Whatever he does or is depends on Riley's emotional state. He could be a playmate, a protector, or even an accomplice if Riley wills it.
  • Anyone else getting a distinct Pokémon 3 vibe with this idea? Seriously, it's like Riley is Molly and Bing-Bong is Entei.
  • Really, the entire theme of the film is that our own emotions are equally as likely to be able to save us as well as destroy us.
  • An absolutely historic WMG in that it inspired Intercom.

Riley is adopted.
Unlike her parents (who both have brown eyes and hair), Riley has blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • Could be just recessive traits.
  • Possibly Jossed, as the first time we see her is as a newborn baby embraced by her parents... But then again, there's nothing explicitly suggesting that she WASN'T adopted, either.
  • Could be she's an in vitro baby generated from donor sperm and/or eggs. Infertility issues could account for why she has no brothers or sisters, despite her parents' clear fondness for kids.
  • Mom is shown without her glasses. A woman might take her glasses off for ease of getting into different positions to help delivery, or she may have been asleep when labor started and didn't think to get her glasses. She would need them to sign adoption papers. Also, Riley's hair is a darker shade of blonde than when she was little. It may become brown when she's older. Blue eyes might just be recessive traits.
  • Going with the above WMG, Riley's mum could have had blonde hair when she was younger that darkened to brown as she grew up, then she could have passed the blonde-hair-that-darkens-with-age trait on to Riley. If you look at Riley's mum's hair, it has subtle blonde-ish undertones to it (as does Riley's dad's hair, though they aren't as prominent.) and if you look at Riley's hair, you can see streaks of brown-ish and darker blonde in it, so it may already be going brown like her mother's. As for her blue eyes, she could have got them from one of her grandparents (who we never see.) That's not unheard of.

Sadness feels unappreciated at the start of the film
Joy is Riley's primary emotion, so it makes sense that she is the one in control at headquarters. While the others still play a role in guiding Riley, they do not take control that often. Sadness is rarely ever allowed to take the helm, so she feels neglected; she feels like she is not nearly as important as Joy and the other emotions. Joy is, at first, oblivious to this, but over the course of the film, she reaches an understanding with Sadness.
  • Seems likely according to the official character description, which states that no one knows what Sadness's role is.
  • Confirmed.

Sadness will attempt suicide at some point.
Or at least get in a situation and not do anything to save herself, try to sacrifice herself for someone, etc. She is unsure of her role in Riley's life, she seems to have caused the whole mess that got Joy and her lost in the first place, she hurts Riley by turning a happy memory sad...she might start thinking things would be better off without her and stop trying to get back. And Joy will have to try to convince her otherwise.
  • Implied. At one point in the movie, Sadness tries to run away from the others, and insists that Riley would be better off without her.
  • One of the novelizations implies that she considered throwing herself into the memory dump at one point, which would have made this WMG even more accurate.

Inside Out will have some influence from Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development
The movie is already confirmed to show the development of Riley's emotions from her birth to her tween years. From what little footage is available from the trailers that have been floating around the Internet, especially this Spanish one, it already seems to include some of the stages.
  • The scene with Joy and Sadness inside the mind of baby Riley would represent the first stage of Trust vs. Mistrust
    • The scenes of child Riley, with Fear conflicting with the other emotions (especially Disgust and Anger causing Riley to act out) would represent Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt and/or Initiative vs. Guilt
      • The main conflict of the movie with tween Riley going through the awkwardness of puberty with her mind and emotions thrown into chaos when she moves to a new city and Joy and Sadness go missing, leaving the other three emotions struggling to control her and causing her to rebel and act oddly in general would represent Identity vs. Role Confusion
      • Her parents seem to be going through Generativity vs Stagnation, trying to manage their marriage and raise their daughter correctly

There is a way that Emotions can communicate with the human they live in.
Perhaps through a sort of "intercom system" that mostly gets used as an "inner voice" thing, but if something goes wrong with the Intercom by accident (or if the Emotions just become too absorbed in talking to their host), other people will see that person as Hearing Voices, or Talking to Themself, and may consider them to be schizophrenic, not realizing that the voices are actually real. Riley herself may end up experiencing this at one point or another in the film.
  • While some fanfiction has been written with this idea, nothing like this happens in the actual film.
  • This would have been confirmed in two of the original drafts: the first allowing Riley to meet her emotions in Headquarters through a dream, and the other having Joy sitting on her shoulder. The first may still be possible in some form in the Inside Out-verse as we know it.
  • This was almost confirmed: A deleted scene features a microphone that seems to have been a precursor to Idea Bulbs in terms of how it affects(or is supposed to affect) Riley's actions; Joy kept saying "Monkey Bars" into it to try and get Riley to play on them, but she ignores it in favor of socializing with her classmates.

None of the emotions are the villains, but they need each other in order to maintain stability.

Considering how each of the emotions are based on reactions to stimuli, it would make sense that they would each need to work together in order to ensure that the person they are in care of develops naturally and keeps a good hold of their sanity. When each taken to their logical extreme, one emotion growing too powerful or being absent could cause a significant problem, thus putting the idea of an underlying alignment for each of them in question. For a very basic example for instance:

  • Joy: Dominance = Delirium, Absence = Anxiety/ being too sad.
  • Sadness: Dominance = Depression, Absence = Lack of Empathy
  • Anger: Dominance = Stubbornness, Absence = Passiveness
  • Disgust: Dominance = Judgmental, Absence = Naivety
  • Fear: Dominance = Cowardice, Absence = Over confidence.
So in actuality it would make no sense for any emotion to seek more influence over the others, as it would only ever lead to a negative (with the possible exception of lack of empathy) outcome for their host. All they can really do is try and reach for the best solution for each situation as it arises, that would best befit their host and allow them to cope in the real world.

  • The film pretty much confirms this. With Joy and Sadness missing, the remaining emotions are at a loss at what to do and end up unintentionally causing most of the conflict in the film.
  • Depression's not an emotion, and it's not a synonym for "deep sadness". The word you want is "misery". The movie is also totally are of this (though this WMG clearly predates the film), as Riley falls into depression while Joy and Sadness are away (though it's implied she would have anyway, even with them there, by Riley's being a Stepford Smiler).

Riley's emotions have a special attachment to her.
In the trailer involving the dinner scene, all three groups of emotions use "we" to refer to them, but Mr. and Mrs. Anderson use the terms as if the groups together are the person. When Fear uses the term "we" it's only to scold Disgust when she said they were going to act casual. And in the second major trailer, Joy says, "Riley, here we come!" at the end. Rather than seeing their host as more of a perception medium as other emotion groups, Riley's emotions see Riley as a separate individual and they as her inner companions/guides/guardians.

Riley is the cousin of Bonnie Anderson.
They have the same last name (her father could be the brother of Bonnie's father), and the playground of Sunnyside Daycare is present in one of Riley's memories, with the only difference being the slide. It could be that Riley herself attended there when she was little, and the slide was replaced between the years Riley went there and Toy Story 3. Then again, not sure where the Toy Story films are set to take place in, so it could just be from a school with a similar playground setup, though Bonnie and Riley being cousins could still work. As for memories of other Pixar films being present in the background, every other Pixar film besides the Toy Story films is a movie in the Inside-Out-verse.
  • Pretty much jossed seeing as Riley's last name is actually Andersen.
  • Well, it's entirely possible she's ANDY'S cousin, since their mothers share the same voice, but it's also possible that Andersen was Riley's mom's maiden name, and she happened to marry a man with a nearly identical surname.

Riley will get into a situation that can/will cause her dangerous physical harm.
Word of God stated that even though the emotions are her guides, they can't help her if she's put into any physical danger since they only affect her mind. Seeing as this was mentioned, it seems likely that something of this nature will happen to Riley.
  • Jossed. Riley is never put into a situation of extreme (physical) danger.
    • She is in physical danger from her attempt to run away, although that doesn't really fit the spirit of this WMG since there's no need for the emotions to physically deal with the situation. In the film's novelization, Fear thinks about the risks from the trip, including some genuinely disturbing realistic possibilities, like ending up dead by the side of the road.

The Emotions will somehow use The Power of Love to help Riley by the end.
After all, not only are they Riley's mental guides, but the Alternative Foreign Theme Song in the Japanese version is apparently going to be called "Itoshi No Riley", which translatesto "Riley My Love".
  • Confirmed in a way. Riley's parents help her accept San Francisco as her new home.

The Brazilian Helicopter pilot is: Miguel from Tekken.
Seriously, tell me they don't look similar. Before the events of the movie, Miguel was a former martial artist enrolled to get his pilot license. Along the way he met Riley's mother. He lied about being Brazilian and the two struck up a romance. But Riley's mother left him for Riley's dad. Outraged, Miguel quit pilot school and turned to crime where he was then sentenced to time in prison. After getting out he became emotionally cold to everyone except his sister and we all know how this ends.

The moral is...
  • It's all right to cry because it makes you feel better. Joy and Sadness discover this after their adventure.
  • Leaders need to take other members' contributions into account in a team.
  • Bottling up your emotions and trying to deal with them yourself - or simply not allowing yourself to feel them - will only hurt you in the end.

At one point, Riley will say that one swear word she knows.
It will be covered by a Sound-Effect Bleep.
  • Or by just cutting to inside the minds of her parents to show them reacting to Riley using such foul language.
  • Kind of confirmed, as the new control panel at the end of the movie includes buttons that make Riley swear, but it is bleeped.

Joy is in charge because Riley is a Cheerful Child.
That is, Joy doesn't make Riley a cheerful child, but rather Riley is naturally programmed to be that way, so that puts Joy is in charge. If some event were to change Riley's core programming, a different emotion would be in charge. This happens when a Core Memory stops being looked on with the emotion it was formed of, such as the way Riley's mother looks back on the Brazilian Helicopter Pilot with regret, even though the memory orb is gold (Joy), or when the Core Memories aren't even looked at any more because life is filled with so much stress (as with Riley's dad), which is why Anger and Fear are in charge of Riley's dad, since stress is often built on both Anger and Fear.

Pixar will start making "Inside Out Toons".
It would make sense. Toy Story 3 was big enough of a success to warrant around 3 short movies and a Halloween special. Cars got a whole animated mini-series, and other Pixar movies have gotten a short on DVD's. Plus, it seems to have a lot of potential. Like how average everyday events for Riley are epic adventures for Joy and the gang. It wouldn't surprise me if Pixar made "Inside Out Shorts". But, I guess we'll just have to see.
  • Adding on to that, the original idea of Riley interacting with the emotions during a dream after they've lost something will be involved in a short film in some way. Or there may be an Inside Out TV series.
    • Confirmed for at least one Inside Out short; "Riley's First Date", centering on the boy she met at the hockey game at the end of the movie.

After the movie, Joy will use Dream Studios to help Riley remember Bing-Bong.
With a little bit of dream inspiration, Bing-Bong will live again.

After Bing-Bong is forgotten by (and leaves) Riley's mind, he doesn't disappear from existence.
He simply is transported to where all the forgotten imaginary friends go - Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • Or maybe, he was transported to Wasteland. After all, that is where forgotten Disney characters go!
  • Either that or he gets reincarnated as someone else's imaginary friend.
    • He does have an invitation.
    • Possibly jossed. The children's book "The Bing Bong Book"[[note]] also known as "An Imaginary Friend". ends with Bing Bong seeing books of himself Riley made as a child and saying "Wow! Look at that! Riley made up all these stories about me! She remembers me after all!, possibly meaning that the book took place after the film and that he didn't fade away at all-Riley probably found another memory involving him that could have revived him. However, the book begins with the line "Inside the mind of an eleven-year-old girl named Riley...", and she is twelve at the end of the film, making this line either a mistake or possibly covering up a spoiler in the film. It also could have taken place a few days after his death, as he could have been secretly revived after Riley finds a crayon drawing in one of the moving boxes or attached to a piece of furniture.
    • Possibly confirmed in "The Emotions' Survival Guide"-the drum guy who appears on the title page of the book appears in an illustration depicting Dream Productions.
    • It's officially confirmed: according to an image featuring Sadness on Disney's Inside Out website, he's alive and well.

Bing-Bong will be reborn as Surprise.

Jangles molested Riley at the birthday party.
Why else would she be so traumatized? As for why he's still working with children, it's possible no one ever found out about what he did.
  • Jossed. Riley just has a fear of clowns.
    • There's nothing to suggest that that fear didn't COME from being molested.
      • Jossed. We see the emotions of the clown at the end, who are less concerned with the crying children so much as why they wasted four years of drama school.
      • There's also nothing to suggest that it did. It's not impossible, but it's extremely unlikely. We literally see inside of her head, and the only hint that he mattered to Riley at all is his presence in her subconscious.
  • It's perhaps a bit more likely that Jangles was hired to perform at a birthday party when Riley was a toddler or little(r) girl, it went a bit wrong and she simply got scared rather than entertained. Plenty of kids develop a fear of clowns after similar experiences without molestation being involved at all. Riley simply distorted the memory in her subconscious because she was an impressionable little girl at the time. WMG aside, there's nothing to suggest that Jangles is anything more than a frustrated actor and not-very-impressive birthday party clown.
  • Not to be crude, but the subconscious is a part of the mind where, by definition, nothing is suppressed or sugar-coated. If Riley'd actually been molested by Jangles, the version of him that exists there would surely have had his pants down and/or been doing things a lot more repugnant than just shouting about birthdays.
  • Moreover, if something that traumatic had happened to Riley prior to the film's events, you'd think such a dreadful experience would have spawned a Fear- and/or Disgust-based core memory and an Island of Personality embodying the resulting anxieties. Instead, the worst core memories she has from early life are losing a hockey game and accidentally breaking a plate.
  • Given how prominent Jangles’s hammer is and how he swings it around in pursuit, it’s more likely Jangles accidentally hit Riley with his mallet.

Jangles deliberately scared Riley at the birthday party
From what we see of Jangles in the mid credits scene, he's bitter at having spent six years in drama school only to end up performing at kids' birthday parties. Deliberately terrifying the children might be his way of venting out stress - and Riley just had the misfortune to encounter him on one of his bad days.

Riley will need/needed psychological counseling after the events of the film.
Let's face it, the collapse of her personality islands had to be traumatic, as well as her brush with serious depression shown by the console locking out. Yes, a new one formed at the climax, and more were shown later, but it still was major psychological damage. Looking at the timeline, it was likely only a few weeks, maybe two months tops for the events of the story, from the start of the move to the climax. This was shortly after Riley's eleventh birthday. The "epilog" scenes were just shy of her twelfth birthday - most of a year later. Even that's a short timeline for recovery, but not totally implausible.
  • EVERY child goes through similar mental trauma when they get older. It's simply a part of growing up.
  • FWIW this troper can personally testify to having undergone a similar if not even more drastic move as a child around the same age (even a bit younger) than Riley and the resulting baggage without ever having needed therapy. The memory islands are simply a representation of Riley's personality shifting as a result of her experiences and her growing older. Them being torn down is reflective of her being thrown completely off keel by the move and having to deal with emotions she's not experienced with handling, not that she's suffering major psychological damage. Such a move would be a bit traumatic, of course, but it's more likely that the most psychological counselling she needed was a big, long hug from her parents and some reassuring words.
  • I'd argue that the breakdown of certain personality islands is actually needed in the maturation process of a mentality healthy human being. Sometimes they're replaced with something grander (like say, a "Goofball Island" being replaced by a "Witty Humor Island"), and sometimes they might be replaced by something else entirely. It's probably the retention of certain "immature" islands that'll need psychological help.
    • Especially considering that the islands she lost were all built on single-color core memories, i.e. the simplistic world-view of a small child. Something was going to displace those memories' significance eventually, because nobody who's not mentally challenged can go their whole life being honest just because Mommy and Daddy forgave them when they owned up to breaking a dish as a toddler. She needed to demolish her flimsy childhood islands to construct new ones on a more solid, sophisticated multi-colored-sphere foundation, that can hold up even when her views and expectations are challenged.

Joy secretly wants to be Riley.
One reoccurring scene is Joy watching one of Riley's memories of ice skating with her parents, which she mimes along with it, indicating that Joy wishes she could do all of the fun things that Riley gets to do, not to mention have loving parents. She pushes the other emotions to the side because she wants to live vicariously through Riley, she's just particularly mean to Sadness because she was the first one to infringe on her "territory."
  • Someone apparently liked this enough for it to warrant a fanfic.

Riley will become an astronaut.
Bing Bong's final request is for Joy to take Riley to the moon for him. So, Joy will make it so that Riley becomes happy whenever she's learning science, and eventually astrophysics, and Riley will get a job from NASA and eventually get to walk on the moon, so that Joy can fulfill her promise to Bing Bong.
  • Seems to be supported by the presence of a new island of personality (visible at the end between Friendship Island and Goofball Island) featuring a stack of books, a globe and some chemistry glassware. Science Island, perhaps?

Triple Dent Gum will be the next rickroll.
People will be inspired by the movie to send links to the song much like how the mind workers would sometimes send the song.

The genders of the emotions in Bill and Jill Andersen are NOT uniform!
Look at the scene where all the emotions in Bill's head are cheering for the hockey memory, and focus on that Joy's chest. SHE actually has one! So that Joy is still female, but has grown a mustache.
  • And Dad's Disgust has definite hips and is wearing a skirt - there's a very quick shot from behind their console right before Mom "signals him again" where you can see this.

The emotions have emotions in their emotions.
Clearly, the emotions have their own emotion-worlds inside their heads complete with their own set of five emotion-people, who in turn have their own set of five emotion-people, and so on and so forth infinitely. How else could Joy cry or Sadness smile? Those emotions must come from somewhere.
  • Alternatively, the emotions' emotions are literally just bland and mindless creatures that can only do one thing: support their host.

Bing Bong is still alive.
While Bing Bong disappeared from Riley's mind, being an imaginary being, he is still alive in the memories of the fans who remember the movie. Granted, he's alive in the same way that every fictional being is in the meta sense.
  • Possibly confirmed, assuming The Bing Bong Book takes place post-movie and not before he starts collecting memory orbs..
  • Disney's official site confirmed this in a picture produced for Halloween. One image said that she thinks Bing Bong cried into her bag. This could mean that Bing Bong got revived somehow and he joins them for holidays.

Some of the areas that were to be used in the film, such as the Idea Fields and the Stream of Consciousness, do exist in Riley's mind.
We just never get to see them in the movie itself. The Idea Fields bring the cultivated ideas to Headquarters somehow.
  • Possibly confirmed, as in The Bing Bong Book, Bing Bong travels past the Stream of Consciousness, though it runs through Imagination Land instead of underneath the subconscious like they were originally planning.

Forgotten memories go to a section of the Subconscious. And the sequel will be about Bing-Bong trying to leave it
It'll be stated that, rather than dying, he was sent to some sort of prison for imaginary friends/forgotten stuff (that is in either its own plane of existence or a hidden off corner of Riley's mind.)
  • Possibly jossed in The Bing Bong Book, which allegedly takes place after the movie, which contains the line "Wow! Look at that! Riley made up all these stories about me! She remembers me after all!, in reaction to him seeing books about himself, assuming it doesn't take place pre-movie.
Riley's mom used to be an actress...
In a soap opera called That Brazilian Helicopter Pilot. "Fly with me" was one of the big scenes. She gave up her career to start a family, possibly concerned about the effect that being raised in the limelight would have on any future children; or she decided she was never going to live her full dream of a starring movie roll; or her character was just written out of the show. She misses being on TV and sometimes wonders what her life would be like if she had stayed in show business. Riley's teacher binge-watches That Brazilian Helicopter Pilot during summer vacations, and may recognize Riley's mom during parent-teacher conferences.
  • The problem with that theory is that if it were true, they'd be able to afford a much nicer place.
    • Unless there were poor financial planning decisions made in the past, or bad stocks.
  • Or, it was a bit part in a series that has a small cult following now, but got cancelled quickly, in which case it would be more accurate to say she lost That Brazilian Helicopter Pilot than that she gave it up.
  • The first episode was called That Brazilian Helicopter Pilot Pilot.

The bus driver's happy thought was the Brazilian helicopter pilot...
We'll never know for certain, but it'd be funny.
  • The bus driver's gay? Sure, why not!
  • We're in San Francisco after all...
  • When was the bus driver ever shown to have a happy thought? All of his emotions are Anger and Anger clones. Chances are he doesn't have any happy thoughts.
    • But they tried to bring up a happy thought, only to get the Ear Worm gum commercial instead. This is just a theory on the memory they were trying to get.
  • His happy thought could be the Brazilian helicopter pilot's sister, who works as a spa masseur.

The sequel will feature entirely different characters
And there won't even be a passing mention to Riley or her family. Heck, maybe it'll take place somewhere completely different, like in England. It would certainly be a unique way for Pixar to continue exploring the world of emotions, by presenting an entirely different protagonist who is going through an entirely different emotional struggle.
  • So basically like the last Home Alone movie.
    • As well as the third one.
  • To counter-potential controversy, the ending credits could be the emotions from the first film indirectly complaining about not being in the movie.

Riley is Happily Adopted
  • It's unusual for two brown-haired, brown-eyed parents to have a blonde, blue-eyed baby. Not impossible, but unusual.
    • If so, it must've all been arranged prenatally, because the Andersens were the first faces she ever saw.

"Jill" is a fake name that Riley's mom told to the Brazilian helicopter pilot years back.
On her credit card in the film, it says Mrs. Andersen's name is K. Ann Andersen, but in the Essential Guide it says her name is Jill Andersen. K. Ann Andersen is actually her name, but before she married Mr. Andersen she considered whatever her first name is to be an Embarrassing First Name, and thus gave the name "Jill" when she met the Brazilian helicopter pilot.
  • This troper took another look at the credit card scene and noticed that when Riley takes it, her finger actually covers most of the first name in the signature space. The double L of "Jill" is however still visible. Not a long shot to guess that whoever made the mistake simply misread the cursive script in the dim lightning as a K and combined it with the first syllable of "Andersen" to make "K. Ann".

Gloom (the early antagonist that manifested as a darkness in the Mind World that Riley and her emotions would fight off when Riley went into her mind) exists in the Inside Out universe as we got it.
The darkness that overtook the console when Riley ran away and the emotions couldn't have her feel anything? That was actually Gloom. Had Riley's depression worsened, Gloom would have manifested into a larger character just as in the original plan.
  • I like this WMG because something similar happened to Harold from The Little Mermaid and the Music Box from Beauty and the Beast. These 2 characters were meant to be minor characters in their respective films, until they were essentially demoted to The Cameo. But at least they weren't deleted entirely. I think it would be great if that's what happened to Gloom.

Jangles is only one of the least scary things in the Subconscious.
I think it would be interesting if that was the case. While Riley is described as being a happy-go-lucky girl, it's possible that she has had some experiences even worse than the birthday party where she met the real Jangles. While Joy has been in control of Riley for most of her life, the other emotions have gotten some moments to themselves, and that includes Fear.

Bing Bong is actually preschool age even though he sounds and looks like an adult
.A few things hinting at this are his inability to read, not properly reacting to being left in the memory dump, and crying when he gets hurt. Also, he was invented when Riley was a toddler.

What happens to the emotions after the person dies?
Okay, we know emotions are created when a person is born into the world. But what happens, say, if someone passed away? What would happen to the five emotions within that person's head?! Will they pass on too, or simply just vanish? And what will happen to the brain's command center as well as the surrounding structures outside? Will those suffer the same fate too? It's horrifying to think about.
  • It probably depends on how quickly the person dies. If they die instantly, then the mind world would just vanish instantly before the emotions can realize it. But if the death is slow and gradual, it probably has each structure and area shutting down as the emotions reflect on the last moments of their lives before they disappear.
  • I personally believe nothing changes. If there is any sort of afterlife, the Emotions would change into a different aspect, depending on where the person is sent. Example: In Hell, Fear turns into Terror and in Heaven, in Caution.
  • It's also possible that they simply get reassigned to some other (newborn) person. They do seem to have trouble remembering things when their human forgets, so when the human dies and his/her memories go as well, the emotions would just forget everything and start with a new person as if they're newborn themselves.
  • Disgust states outright that she "saved all our lives" when she prevents baby Riley from eating broccoli.
  • It's possible that the mind workers just shut everything down and lock up for eternity.

The sequel will contain elements from several of the above entries
The main plot will be kicked off by one of Riley's emotions accodentally pressing the Big Red Button of Puberty, resulting in Riley's original emotions developing Superpowered Evil/SuperpoweredGoodSide Good Sides and the introduction of new emotions that may have a Super Empowering effect on the original emotions. The first would be Love, who would primarily amplify Disgust (Riley's Mom's Disgust was the one who brought up the Brazillian helicopter pilot in the first film) when looking for potential Love Interests and Joy as a result of being in an actual relationship (am I the only one thinking that the Meet Cute at the end was a Sequel Hook and a Ship Tease as well?). This should be covered in the Title Sequence to make room for more plot and avoid a new Broken Base. Then Jealousy shows up and amplifies Fear (duh) and Disgust (at perceived advances on Riley's boyfriend by other girls). All the drama caused as a result of all these events may serve to further amplify Anger and Sadness. Lastly, Trust would teach the emotions self-control and repair the damage caused by the puberty button. But that won't be the end. The film will have a subplot of Joy pushing Riley to like science, honouring Bing Bong's last whish, but Riley not trying hard enough - and Joy will recognise the way Trust treats Jealousy so she'll attempt to figure out how Jealousy can be a positive influence and come up with the idea of Jealousy giving Riley competitiveness (bonus points if The Rival was responsible for Jealousy showing up in the first place), while the other emotions eventually drive Riley to make up with her boyfriend.
  • Also, the sequel will have Creative Closing Credits as well and at least some of these will show other people's emotions going through puberty or managing a relationship (also serving as a way to officially introduce LGBT characters into Pixar's Shared Universe).

The film is a Stealth Shout-Out to the Green Lantern Franchise
All the emotions correspond to different (false colour) parts of the emotional spectrum: Sadness has been mentioned as also serving as empathy, which is similar to Compassion, the emotion of the Indigo Tribe; Joy, as a motivating agent, could correspond to Hope and/or Willpower; Fear and Anger are Fear and Rage. Disgust is a bit harder until Fridge Brilliance kicks in and you realise that Disgust's actions (refusing to eat a cherry that fell on the ground, for example) are common sense. Disgust is the Unsung Hero of the emotional spectrum: Logic.
  • From the above WMG:
    • Love is Love
    • Jealousy is Avarice
    • Trust is Faith, which can also manifest as Hope.
  • Depression is Nekron - it is a Cessation of Existence for the emotional spectrum.
  • Riley herself is Life.
  • Then why is fear purple and not yellow?

In this universe, "cute aggression" is Anger interfering with Joy's work to spite her.
He decides that you're too happy to see that adorable thing and puts a lot of aggressivity into your display of affection.

If Dad didn't "put the foot down", things could've been worse
I assume Riley's Family Island might've been destroyed earlier at the time if Dad didn't do that.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is Inside Out inside the mind of a mental person.
The five have no control over their person's mind, as pure madness has taken over, similar to how depression nearly takes over at the end of the film. Each character is an emotion: Benny=anger , Gorrister=fear, Ted=disgust, Ellen= Joy, and Nimdok=sadness. Anger has turned into pure rage, while Fear has turned into being unwilling to take any risks at all. Sadness has turned vague and unhelpful, while Joy has turned to sometimes blind faith. Disgust is outright repelled by the others, and is also in a state of self-disgust for not doing anything about their situation. The deaths of Benny, Gorrister, Ellen and Nimdok represent AM's feelings at the ending; first anger that the four of them are dead, then fear that disgust might join them. Sadness because he will never get the four back, and finally Joy that disgust has been condemned to suffer with him. After this, AM never feels the emotions again; just pure, unadulterated self-disgust.
Riley spent several weeks after her aborted bus trip obsessing about the Imaginary Boyfriend, without knowing why.
In her haste to intercept Sadness, Joy left the Boyfriend-generator running in Imagination Land, still set to crank out thousands of copies of the same dude. With so many duplicates of him running around loose in her head, Riley won't have any choice but to obsess over the fellow.

Bing Bong became a Yo-Kai after his death.
There has been crossover art depicting this being the case, mostly from Japanese fans. Of note is this image depicting a Yo-Kai medal of the character.

"The funny movie where the dog dies" was full of Narm.
Sadness wasn't Comically Missing the Point, she just worded it weird.
  • Alternatively, she didn't think the dog dying, in particular, was funny. She thought the movie was funny as a whole; she just described it as "the funny movie where the dog dies" because the sad scene with the dog's death stood out to her the most.
  • Or maybe Sadness has a better intuitive sense of the symbiotic relationship between sadness and joy than Joy had. Joy learns from one of the core memories that the reason its joyful content was so powerful was that it arose out of a sad experience, which had inspired Riley's family and friends to come cheer her up. Merely winning a game would never have given Riley as potent a moment of happiness as seeing all the people she loves coming to support her in a time of distress. Likewise, the fact that the movie had been funny to start with presumably made the dog's death seem more bittersweet and tragic in contrast, so would appeal to Sadness's aesthetics more than a film which was dismal all along.

Riley's First Date? isn't really about any date.
Note the question mark in the official title. And, going by Mr. and Mrs. Andersen's reactions to Jordan (particularly the latter's "This isn't a date. Is it... ?"), I think it's safe to say that the entire idea of Riley going on a "date" is all just her parents jumping to conclusions and overreacting.
  • Well, Riley, at least, insists it's not a date.

Just like his dolphin form, Bing Bong is secretly half cow and horse, with the half cow part being the ablility to urinate milk and his horse form is that Riley had the ability to ride on his back while he galloped on all fours if his rocket wasn't in use, usually when it was raining outside and maybe if it was snowing.
Bing Bong, when explaining that animals were all the rage when Riley was young, uses these two examples when explaining why he was created. Remember in the movie that he had to change his nose shape and eyes to prove that he was a dolphin, and that he also cried candy. The Bing Bong Book only lists that he's part cotton candy, part cat, part elephant, and part dolphin, because the horse and cow parts of him would cause Unfortunate Implications, especially the cow theory for obivous reasons.

During the time Riley was with him as a toddler, only Joy could see Bing Bong.
Pay attention to the flashbacks or pause during the tag flashback when you see Bing Bong's face take up part of the screen and you'll see that Bing Bong seems to look almost ghost-like.
  • Possibly confirmed. Some activity books have an illustration of Riley sitting in a rocket, a memory which was shown in the film, that does not have Bing Bong in it. Also, if we're following the Honesty Island theory listed below, if Bing Bong was in fact involved in a core memory, he cannot be seen at all because the core memories revolve around Riley's personality and not him.
  • Doubtful. When Fear sees Bing Bong in Riley's dream, he recognizes him, suggesting that all of the emotions could see him just as well as Riley could.

Riley hates eating pineapples.
During the pizza scene, Anger comments that pizza was ruined, first by the Hawaiians, then San Fransisco. We all know what flavor of pizza has Hawaii's name on it (even though it' Canadian), and Hawaiian pizza always contains pineapples. Since Anger implies that they ruined it, it could mean that Riley doesn't like pineapples. Either that or she went there on vacation and hated the pizza.
  • There are plenty of people who love pineapples but hate putting them on pizza.

'Love' can't exist in someone's head, despite what everyone says, because some emotions associate with love.
This might make no sense at first, but think about it. Everyone likes to create 'Love' as an OC, but we do know that Riley's parents are happily married, and Riley's mom's emotions do have a fantasy about that Brazilian guy during the movie, but there's no 'Love' in either of their heads. It's clear by the end of the movie that yes, they are in love, but no such emotion appears in their heads, so the idea seems impossible. That, and Anger is associated with passion, along with the fact that Joy could help with that, so I assume that by this, 'Inside Out' is stating that Love isn't it's own single emotion, but more of a mix of other emotions, or something like that.
  • This makes more sense than the theory that there are other emotions which we've miraculously failed to see in anyone else's head. Other common OC flavors include "Curiosity," "Shyness," and "Logic," but Curiosity would probably have to do with Joy, Shyness might be Fear and/or Sadness, and Logic isn't an emotion, it's a function of the mind (likely in a building similar to the "Abstract Thought" processing center Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong took a trip through). In other words, the five emotions are capable of generating literally every other feeling there is.
  • Considering that even in real life, "Love" is not an emotion, but something that sparks other emotions, yeah. Curiosity might even fall under Disgust, since there is no happiness in curiosity itself (but in the resolution of curiosity), and Disgust is responsible for "keeping Riley healthy, socially and physically", and unlike Fear, she's got the bravery to check things out to see if they're even safe for Riley. Note her behaviour over Riley's first meal- she seems to be more of an investigator than the others, so she may actually cover "curiosity", as she drives several of Riley's interests. Though, considering Disgust has nothing to do with Riley's love of hockey, "curiosity" may not fall under anyone's jurisdiction and instead be a part of the rest of the mind world like Logic and Imagination, since curiosity stems from interest.
  • Love and Curiosity would probably be Islands of Personality, not characters. Friendship and Family are variants of Love already, and Curiosity is a character trait, much like Honesty or Goofball.
  • It could be that all the emotions can feel love in their own way. Anger Born of Worry is love felt by Fear and Anger. Anger can also manifest in Mama Bear or The Dulcinea Effect. Joy is no doubt responsible for The Immodest Orgasm. The Green-Eyed Monster may stem from Disgust.

There won't be a sequel...but not for the Usual Reasons.
Granted, the movie was perfectly fine as is, and a sequel runs a high risk of "ruining the magic," hence Disney/Pixar's reluctance to do one anyways. Still, that won't be the real reason they refuse to make another film. It'll be because Pete Docter finds out his movie was actually 'correct' regarding how the human mind works, and he and Disney decide that These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, so they scrap any sequel ideas and bury their knowledge (not removing the movie completely, mind you - that would be too suspicious and attention-getting).
  • No Pixar film was originally supposed to get a sequel. Heck, the only reason Toy Story 2 and 3 exist is because Disney wanted them. It's not up to Pixar whether or not there's a sequel, solely Disney. Unless Pixar decides to become independent or switches owners, but neither will ever happen.

The Sequel will be a Perspective Flip of sorts
Either it will focus on the movie's events from Riley's Parents' points-of-view, or - more likely - follow Riley in her adult years as she raises her first daughter. For the sake of parallelism, she has a daughter who winds up going through an emotional struggle like Riley did when she was her age. This would be a fun way to explore an adult's mind that goes through different kinds of mental obstacles than a child's mind.
  • Or maybe it's about Riley regaining her child-like imagination. She's a kids' author now - that's her job, and she's struggling to come up with another story idea before her deadline. That's when she sees her four-year-old daughter playing with an imaginary friend, pretending to fly off into space. The gears begin clicking, and - well - you know where this is going. Joy (and any other emotion who winds up tagging along, hopefully all five, because that would make for a different adventure than last time) go on a rescue mission to have Riley recreate Bing Bong using long-thought-forgotten memories and pieces of her imagination. In the end, Riley's latest children's book - "Me and Bing Bong go to the Moon" - is a smash hit (if not with the public, then at least with her daughter).

Riley is subconsciously aware of the emotions inside her head.
The striped shirt that Riley wore on the day she and her family moved to San Francisco contains the colors that matched her emotions'. With yellow, blue, green, purple, red and an additional orange color (possibly hinting a new emotion when she grows up?) Also, Bing Bong has a flower badge that has all the aforementioned colors on his jacket, and since he is created from Riley's imagination, Riley could be inspired by the emotions inside her head, too.

Rainbow Unicorn is not a figment of Riley's imagination, but rather a cartoon character or character that appears on merchandise such as stationary like the Lisa Frank animals or Hello Kitty.
During the "an empty room is an opportunity" scene, a poster with Rainbow Unicorn appears at one point.

Time moves slightly faster in the mind than it does outside.
That gives the emotions time to discuss actions, call up memories, etc, without leaving Riley standing there blankly for several minutes.
  • Any explanation as to why the emotions don't perceive everyone from the outside as speaking like a slowed-down record? Even a ratio of 95% would correspond to the voices being lowered by a semitone, which would be fairly noticeable (just try it in Audacity).

Anger is Meat Boy
No reason really aside from the fact that they look identical.

In the sequel, Bing Bong will come back back as the emotion Love.
Bing Bong's sacrifice showed that he truly cared for Riley. Maybe in the sequel, he will be reincarnated as Love, who will look identical to Bing Bong, who is in the same style of the other emotions.

The trip to the moon was actually an airplane trip which caused Riley to forget Bing Bong for a while.
Since Riley was a toddler at the time, she possibly didn't understand the concept of flying in an airplane, and thought her parents were taking her to the moon. However, when she got on the plane, she realized that it couldn't take her to the moon, and she enjoyed the vacation destination more than Bing Bong, so she forgot him.

After his death, Bing Bong became Mumfie.
Both are childish, misdefine words, have pink theme colors, thought things that were dangerous weren't so, love tea and breakfast food, and went on adventures where they sacrificed themselves for their friends.

Before Riley told the truth after breaking a plate in Honesty Island's core memory, she first blamed it on Bing Bong.
She looks older than she does in the Hockey Island core memory that's displayed when we learn about the personality islands, and it's a common trope to blame accidents on imaginary friends-this troper recalls reading a story about a girl who had an imaginary friend who was the size of a doll that she blamed for every mistake she made. A major clue that hints that this could have been the case is that the collaspe of Honesty Island lead to Bing Bong's death, as well as a quiz on Disney's official site saying that all the core memories were made when Riley was three.
  • Except we know for a fact that Hockey Island was created last (at least out of her 11yo self's Islands).

The Bing Bong Book is one of Riley's dreams.
The Emotions' Survival Guide has a new illustration with Bing Bong walking through Dream Productions, and we see a protein blob with a drum behind him, just like on the inside cover of said book. Maybe the book took place a week after the nightmare Riley had, and someone wanted to make a play as a satire of the person who ruined the nightmare.

The emotions are Nigh-Invulnerable
Emotions are essential for the human they're in to function properly, so they're made impossible to hurt or kill. This explains why Fear is able to take so much damage throughout the movie and come out just fine, and why Joy also isn't hurt at all after her high fall into the memory dump.

Emotions can reproduce.
Though extremely rare, it sometimes happens (usually if the emotions are mixed-gender, like with Riley, though there may be exceptions). The result is, as linked to on the Headscratchers page, fusions of emotions. (For example, Fear x Sadness would create Anxiety, Fear x Disgust would create Repulsion, etc.)

Surprise was there all along.
It's just that while all the other emotions are in the console room, Surprise is working maintenance on the mental systems.

The first blue core memory symbolized...
  • Sentiment, to show that Riley is one to be open with how she feels.

Riley and Bella Swan are related.
Riley's father looks a lot like Charlie Swann, and Bella went through a similar ordeal when she moved shortly before the beginning of Twilight. The difference is that her inner control board shut down for good, which explains her dullness.

Riley's mother was given the donor cell of a British person, and that's why Riley has a somewhat weird accent when she talks.

Bing Bong has autism.
Although he was created when Riley was a toddler, Bing Bong displays some traits of a person with autism: misunderstanding words, having difficulty with cognative functions and crying during situations others would otherwise deal with in a positive manner.

In this universe...

Brain surgeries must be very, VERY interesting for the doctors performing them, assuming that the emotions and personality islands aren't just metaphorical embodiments of the feelings and characteristics they're meant to represent and are actually physically present within people's minds, controlling their behaviors.

  • Word of God confirms that the emotions actually live in Another Dimension, so brain surgeons wouldn't see anything unusual. The Mind World may be affected though.
    • Given that brain surgery is generally done because there is something very wrong with the brain, those in the Mind World would probably experience massive, rapid fixes to their infrastructure. For instance, if surgery is done to remove a stroke-causing blood clot, the affected parts of the Mind World might regain power, allowing the person to recover via the workers doing repair work.

Going along with the "Joy secretly wants to be Riley" WMG above, Joy may fantasize having a life as a human does, and she expresses it by living through Riley, such as miming her skating. According to concept art in the art book, Joy has a myriad of drawings in her room... and one of them is labeled "Me & Mom".

When a person dies, everything collapses into the memory dump and evaporates.
Don't feel down, though - maybe a new person is installed over the memory dump, allowing reincarnation.
  • And occasionally, some of the memories get left on the edge, to be found by the new person's emotions. This would be the cause of the controversial "past life memories" you sometimes hear about.
  • What if someone were to figure out a way to access their mind world and close up the memory dump?

Joy and Sadness's adventure is not an accident.
This happens to every brain. It's engineered that way as the early introduction to puberty. A combination of emotions end up sent out of headquarters for one reason or another - sometimes for dire reasons, sometimes benign - and always (well, usually) end up back there a little wiser.

The Angry Video Game Nerd has five shades of anger in his head like the bus driver.
  • this would explain why he so hot headed all the time.
The emotions don't drive Riley
It's more complicated than that. The emotions are Riley. For instance when Anger comes up with the plan to run away, Anger is just a representation of what's actually going on in Riley's head, not coming up with a new idea Riley hadn't thought of yet.
  • Word of God confirmed the emotions aren't Riley, they just serve as her guides.

The difference between Bing Bong and the Imaginary Boyfriend
When toddler Riley imagined up Bing Bong, she treated him like he was real — "talked" to him, "played" with him, went to "the moon" with him, etc. This makes him as "real" (within the world of her mind) as other figures like the emotions and mind workers. When pre-teen Riley mentally designed an imaginary boyfriend, however, she never pretended he was real — she never talked to him or interacted with him like she did with Bing Bong, just formed a picture in her mind that she liked but knew wasn't real and never acted like it was. So the boyfriend's not "real" within the mind world in the same way that Bing Bong is (and we don't have to worry about Joy possibly letting so many of them fall into the Memory Dump to get her and Sadness back to Headquarters).
Riley is Daisy from Toy Story 3.
  • One of Riley's memories shows the daycare at Sunnyside Daycare, and we never see Daisy's face throughout the entire flashback about Lotso's former life with her. Also, both girls have blond hair worn in pigtails.

Riley's mom is pregnant as of 'Riley's First Date'
  • Nothing really solid to base this on, but she's definitely has the Hartman Hips at that point.

Jordan is nuerodivergent
  • From what we see of the inside of his head during 'Riley's First Date', his emotions seem to be unable or have little interest in guiding him the way Riley's do. They skateboard around, get in pointless fights, and don't really seem to react to what Jordan is experiencing (GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS being the exception.) The control room is a complete mess, with memory spheres scattered all over the place. What this would mean psychologically, I'm not sure.
    • He's a typical teenage boy. The place is going to be a mess until he's closer to his mid-twenties, at which point things will settle down and get more organized.

The emotions are not in charge as much as they think they are
Someone or something else is issuing directives to the worker units inside Riley's brain that Joy and the other emotions are oblivious to. Who wrote the operating manuals that Sadness knows so well? Who's in charge of Dream Studios? Who maintains the timetable for the Train of Thought? Who decides the schedule behind long-term memory purge? Who sends the command to hit the Puberty button, and when? Something not shown in the movie, analogous to the pituitary gland, is operating beneath the system.
  • It goes deeper. The emotions aren't even in control of themselves. Not even Sadness knew why she was touching and corrupting the memories. It's like she was compelled against her will. Like something else is controlling the emotions. After all, Riley never would've matured and grown if Joy and Sadness didn't learn a lesson from their adventure.

People with mental/emotional disorders went through similar incidents in the movie with a less than happy ending.
Going from the earlier WMG about this kind of incident being common with emotions being out of HQ. Except for some people, their emotions don't make it back to HQ and they get permanent disorders. For instance, emotions could get destroyed in the abstract rthought machine, fall into the memory dump, or just plain get lost to the point where they never find their way back.

Alzheimer's is overzealous or disgruntled mind workers indiscriminately dumping memories.
Getting a song stuck in your head is trolling workers sending the memory up to HQ for laughs. Memory disorders like Alzheimers is disgruntled or overzealous workers dumping even perfectly good memories. Then the core memory machine just breaks down.
  • Alternatively, it manofests as earthquakes and all the memories just fall into the dump and theres nothing the mind workers can do about it.

A mind worker was trying to foil the run away scheme.
The Triple Dent commercial was more than just a Running Gag. The first appearance was just a joke by the worker, but the second and third appearances were done as an attempt by the worker to foil anger's plot to run away. Notice that the second appearance of the tune comes when Anger tries to summon a memory of Riley's friends in Minnesota to persuade Disgust and Fear. A worker knew his intentions and swapped it. Unfortunately for the worker, Disgust was on his side anyway and majority rules. The third (and final - in Riley's head) appearance of the commercial is when Anger is trying to remember where Riley's mom put her purse. The worker was trying to prevent him from calling the real memory and went to a default memory of the commercial jingle. Again the worker failed since Anger already had a vague idea of where she put her purse. But hey, he tried.
  • At least one of the Mind Workers that rescues Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong from the Train of Thought when it falls into the memory dump is aware of the scheme, lending some credence to this theory.

The bus driver has anger management issues.
Every one of his emotions was anger. That can't be good.

Anger is gonna grab the Triple Dent Gum jingle and throw it down the Memory Dump.
Unless it makes a Call-Back in the sequel. Which means Anger never went through it, or the Forgetters grabbed it before it fell in and put it back in the memory storage.By the end, Anger forgets all about the song. Besides, the Forgetters exist to throw away faded memories. The song, as they say,"will never fade".

In the Honesty Island core memory, Riley broke the plate because she was pretending that the hammer was a magic wand.
Either she was playing an imaginary game where she used the hammer this way to do magic, or her mother couldn't afford a toy magic wand and she thought the hammer, being an object on a stick, was the next best thing.

The memories Sadness "corrupted" will eventually change back to happy.
They changed when Sadness touched them because Riley was homesick for Minnesota. As Riley grows to accept San Francisco as her, the sorrow in the memories will fade.

The story of the film was a plot to assassinate Bing-Bong
So that shit like this here (warning, spoiler!!) doesn't happen.

Headquarters is split into two or more compartments in multilingual people.
People who speak more than one language fluently often report having slightly different personalities when speaking and interacting in different languages (more deferential in one, more assertive in another, or more polite in one than in another, etc). The set of emotions in the native language compartment hold sway over the other emotions, but they can still act with some autonomy, leading to the personality changes between languages. And the constant communication between a second language compartment and the native language compartment also leads to the phenomenon where a person tends to be more logical in their second or third language than they are in their first language.
  • This could apply even more to people with some form of multiple personalities, dissociative identity disorder being the most well-known example.

People who are experienced in meditation or take certain kinds of drugs can access their Mental World in some way.
In real life, people who meditate a lot can develop some interesting mental abilities. (No, not that kind of "mental abilities"; they just develop a lot of control over their mental processes.) It seems reasonable that, in the Inside Out universe, this would take the form of them being able to directly access their Mental World, at least to a degree. This would certainly give them a lot of control over their psychological processes.

There's also a real-life drug known as dimethyltryptamine, or DMT for short, that causes vivid lucid dream-like experiences that feel very real. People who take it often describe the feeling as if they're transported to an alternate dimension and meet benevolent extra-dimensional entities. In real life, this can easily be explained as working the same way dreams do. But if DMT exists in the Inside Out universe, it's not hard to imagine what alternate dimension people likely see, or who these entities are.

Riley eventually fessed up about stealing her mom's credit card to pay for the bus ticket when she tried to run away from home.
Her parents, understanding the distress she was under at the time, forgive her and opt not to punish her. This, in turn, forms the core memory for the new Honesty Island.

Everyone's mind is in the same dimension
While not supported by science, the idea of a shared "astral plane" is common in some circles. Perhaps that's how Inside Out works. In the far distance, you can see what looks like buildings. These might be other people's Headquarters, personality islands, etc. There are also beams of light resembling searchlights, which is pretty interesting, because searchlights are at Dream Productions, right? But those searchlights are clearly coming from multiple sources. Maybe those are other people's Dream Productions. If this is true, it would imply some type of psychic communication is possible.
  • This could also answer all the questions of what happens to the emotions when a person dies... their emotions are not killed, they get reassigned to a new person instead!
    • Unfortunately, that would have to mean they get completely mind-wiped by the process, as Joy popped into newborn Riley's Headquarters with no recollections of any past. Else, she wouldn't have been surprised that it wasn't just the two of them "forever".

Accepting all of the emotions is a test for getting the new console.
At the end, Joy accepts that Sadness is important, and then the console gets upgraded. Maybe something similar happened pre-movie with Disgust, Fear, and Anger, and once all of the emotions know their and each other's purpose, they're shown as "worthy" of the upgraded console. Something similar probably happened within the minds of Riley's parents, who are shown with an upgraded console and all of the emotions working together peacefully.
  • Better yet, the last emotion to be accepted gets to occupy the central chair once the person becomes fully adult. Which would mean that Riley's mom's Sadness went through the same ordeal of not knowing her purpose as her daughter's Sadness did, whereas her dad's last-reconciled emotion was his Anger.

Joy wasn't always so oppressive to Sadness.
We see Sadness making Riley cry shortly after she's born. Crying is a baby's way of communicating when they need to be fed/changed/etc. Riley probably wouldn't have lasted too long if Sadness wasn't allowed to do this, so Joy was probably forced to acknowledge her importance at that stage of Riley's life. However, as Riley got older, her parents likely responded less and less to these crying tantrums(they'd have to unless they wanted Riley to become a Spoiled Brat) as evidenced by the last two flashbacks we're shown of toddler Riley crying. As such, crying—and thus Sadness—became less useful, and better, more patient behavior brought on by Joy was rewarded. Thus, Joy began to feel that Sadness was overstaying her welcome, as now the former was yielding better results than the latter.

Emotions are capable of other feelings.
After all, there are a lot of combinations a person can have of these basic emotions. For example, Joy can feel melancholy, Disgust can feel intrigue, Fear can feel surprise, and Anger can feel righteousness. The feelings are still related to their emotions, but they work in tandem with the other emotions. See this chart for more information.

How Bing-Bong can come back....
When the moving van finally shows up, Riley helps her parents unpack. While doing so, she realizes that her mother saved a lot of her old drawings and homemade Mother's Day cards. After being touched that her mother cared enough to not only save these keepsakes but brought them with her when they moved, Riley decides to look through them. One of the drawings is of a pink elephant/kitty hybrid wearing a jacket with a flower and a hat. She looks at the strange creature and whispers "Bing-Bong?" Memory jogged, Bing-Bong is back.
  • This would work if, and only if, Bing-Bong were still in long-term memory, but the film makes it clear that once something has gone to the memory dump, it's forgotten for good. A drawing of Bing-Bong might remind Riley that she had an imaginary friend, but she wouldn't be able to remember anything about him, and even her parents trying to remind her ("He was part dolphin, and when he cried, it was candy — come on, you remember?") would not trigger any actual memories. Children don't tend to have great recall of their earlier lives. If Riley's forgotten Bing-Bong for good, she might find the idea of him amusing, but she would eventually start to be annoyed by efforts to get her to remember him.

Emotions are lost souls needing to redeem themselves by helping other people
Sure, they might be specialized in some ways, but they all are meant to be there for a person, to guide them through life and react appropriately. And more appropriately, all the emotions seem to have a wider range of emotions beyond their own. Fear seems to have anger at denying reality or satisfaction at successfully protecting Riley. Sadness is happy when Riley finds help she need or is mildly disgusted/angry when Joy doesn't treat her with respect. It doesn't seem like these are just shades of their own emotion, but rather different emotions as well. So, I posit that they too were once men or women, and now given a second chance to redeem themselves through serving people.
  • Mathematically, that wouldn't work: it takes five Emotions to guide a single human from birth to death, after which you're left with a maximum of six souls (5 from their HQ plus the dead person's own) to set up shop in new babies. Even if every single person winds up a lost soul and it takes hundreds of tenures for any of them to earn redemption, population-growth will out-strip supply. Plus, there's the question of animals' Emotions: dogs and cats generally aren't expected to need redemption, so where do their Emotions come from?
  • What if most, but not all emotions, are lost souls?

The console can call emotions forward just like memories can call emotions to hold them.
It's stated in one novelization that the memories were drawing Sadness towards them, rather than her wanting to paint them of her own will. Since she made a beeline for the console the moment it was unoccupied(when all the other emotions were trying to dislodge the projected memory that she painted), it's not too far of a stretch to say the console has the same ability. And it's not just Sadness we see succumbing to it—why else would Anger feel the need to intervene when Riley botched the hockey tryouts? (The arguments with her family and friend are more understandable.)

The reason this movie bombed in China
I read the entry under YMMV for "Stoic Woobie": The movie shows why you shouldn't keep your emotions bottled up when you're suffering inside. This is in direct odds with a facet of Chinese culture, where being emotional in public is seen as somewhere between rude and insane and you are expected to keep a Stiff Upper Lip. You can see this to varying extent in most of east Asia too, such as Japan, Korea, and Thailand. Inside Out is basically a case of Values Dissonance, the equivalent of Americans watching a movie whose message is, "Don't accept gifts from other people, because they'll see you as greedy and Taking Advantage of Generosity": There will be a great deal of annoyance.

This is, of course, just WMG. There's no way of really knowing why this movie bombed in China without someone asking movie fans there about why Inside Out did not interest them.

Meditation works by forcing/encouraging a person's emotions to socialize/bond with one another.
By withdrawing from outside activity without actually going to sleep, a person creates a situation where the emotions are all awake, but don't have any situations that need their input. They might stand watching for something to happen for a little while, but would eventually get to talking amongst themselves and learn to understand and accept each other better. This is what creates the calm feeling after a long meditation session and an overall smoother experience of emotions in general with regular practice.

A future sequel will be a tv show
  • Namely, as a way to capitalize on this world of Mundane Made Awesome for how we react to the world, the series is going to be about Riley's year of adjusting to San Francisco. Her growing, learning how to make friends again, making new cores, etc. It allows for the same kind of comedy as before, but with more scenarios not touched on in the movie to work with. Plus, it could also show how the grand adventure affected the emotional dynamics once Sadness performed her little saving grace for the other emotions.

A sequel will take the franchise in a totally different direction
A lot of these WMG's assume that the general rules of this universe will keep it as close to our world as possible in how things happen for Riley in the future. However, I propose a different possibility highlighted by one fan writer: What if one day Riley began to hear her emotions?
  • Given how that writer is taking her story, it would probably end up being a series rather than a movie, although that vision could also be changed to be a one off thing where things are condensed/changed around to be movie length.

The leader of the emotions and their relative importance is decided by their order of appearance in the mind
Joy was the leader in Riley's head, and she appeared first. Sadness was the second most important emotion, and the entire movie was about realizing that, and she came around second. It is possible that the hierarchy in all the other people's control centers were formed like this as well when the were born.

The Brazilian Helicopter Pilot is an advertising mascot for a travel campaign
Rather than Riley's Mom and her teacher happening to have dated / had direct contact with the exact same Brazilian helicopter pilot, it's a bit more likely (to this troper at least) that he's actually been in an advertisement for travel in Brazil that both women have seen. Riley's Mom wants to get away from the stressful situation that her family is embroiled in, Riley's teacher is looking forward to her vacation away from all the brats she's in charge of, and of course neither of them particularly objects to fantasising about a nice hunk of beefcake in the process. Plus, "Come — fly with me, gatinha!" totally sounds like an advertising catchphrase, like a less overtly-sexual Spear Counterpart version of the infamous "I'm Cindy, fly me to [x]" airline adverts of the 1970s.

Riley will be a rather sentimental romantic when she gets older.
Between grinning at the imaginary boyfriend and expressing a preference for "Tragic Vampire Romance Island", Sadness appears to be the most romance-inclined of the emotions. Consequently, once that puberty button is hit and Riley starts showing an interest in romantic relationships, Sadness will probably see a lot of activity.

Some minds, possibly even Riley's, don't actually exist.
When talking about "the mind world", the directors pose it in contrast with "the real world". Of course, this is only to imply that the mind is a metaphysical location, but what if... some, maybe even all, minds aren't real? Add to that the fact that many minds don't follow the pattern that Riley's mind, the most well-established mind of them all, establishes, and the fact that emotions usually talk about their actions in what, in many cases, would be a split-second reaction, and, well, it is fairly easy to reach this conclusion.

The two main varieties I see are as follows:

  • Riley's mind is real, and others were imagined by Riley's emotions. Joy, in particular, is the one to voice the oft-memed "Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head?", which seems like rather obvious projection, and she does have a framework to build upon but not the full view of other people's deepest fears and desires, which explains the relative underdevelopment of other minds.
  • All minds (including Riley's) were imagined by Riley, and are simply a much more elaborate version of her playing with Bing Bong. Eventually, she realized that having an imaginary friend is stupid, but didn't want to forget Bing Bong outright, so she simply constructed a world around him, hence why he appears to be represented alongside the emotions on his flower. The Joy and Sadness plot seems like just a natural consequence of Riley, at first, missing Minnesota and feeling sad, but then deciding to instead be angry with her parents, and Bing Bong's death is just a natural consequence of an elaborate fictional mind being established, as it has completely supplanted Bing Bong, removing the need for him. This is also why some of the concepts in her mind, like the Imagination Land, don't have a solid footing in science, which wouldn't make sense if a metaphysical world like the one of Inside Out did exist. Not only does this explain the relative underdevelopment of other minds, it also explains why only Riley (and not any adult) has multicolored emotions; Riley could easily see herself as the most emotionally complex person in her surroundings.

Anger is the one with least experience, not Sadness
Up until the move, anyway. Remember that Joy was ready to snatch the controls back from anybody, to keep Riley happy. You can get sad about all sorts of things really, although clearly Joy didn't see use in it. But ultimately Riley had a happy home life, her needs provided for, with good parents and good friends. The things she got angry about were even more trivial than the things she got sad about. Anger had so little experience, that it's no wonder that throughout the move, rather than becoming absolutely determined to stick it out until Joy came back, he just kept throwing tantrums and acting rashly.
  • Alternatively, Anger might have gotten a lot of work when Riley was little: part of his job is to ensure that things are fair for Riley, and very small children don't have the best grasp on what's fair. For instance, little Riley might have thought that not getting ice cream for dinner wasn't fair, so Anger takes over to express how unfair it is. As she gets older, she gets a better grasp on what's fair, leading Anger to take a back seat.

Bing Bong is never coming back. Sorry

I love Bing Bong. But you don't see a sixth emotion called 'childhood imaginary friend' hanging in the headquarters of mom and dad. If Bing Bong came back it would kind of spoil a beautiful moment in the original because now Bing Bong's death meant nothing.

Bing Bong's rocket was smashed, the memories of himself he's gathered are no longer on the shelves (and therefore will fade because they can't be recalled) and even the original Imagination Land has been completely demolished and is being rebuilt with things he doesn't understand, like imaginary boyfriends. Sorry, Bing Bong... I love you...

Riley reconnected with Meg after the events of the movie
Just makes sense.
  • Alternatively, they made up at some point during the one year timeskip between the ending of the plot and the epilogue. This, in turn, formed the core memory for the new Friendship Island.

Riley's hair and eye color will change to brown when she gets older
Her blonde hair and blue eyes have stirred up some theories of her being adopted. They may have been inherited by other family members. Or alternatively, the eye colors of babies can change with age, the same going for hair. Riley's hair already appears to be getting darker.

The entire movie is meant to satirize Animation Age Ghetto.
Okay, stick with me here. Let's think of the emotions as filmmakers making a movie. Specifically, an animated family-friendly movie. Riley represents the target demographic for this type of movie. Joy could represent the executive producer who only sees animation as kid stuff and thinks the only way to make these kinds of movies successful (which, in the producer's mind, usually only refers to how much money it makes and how many awards it wins) is to distract the kids with bright colors and nonstop jokes. (Looking at you, Minions. And you too, Emoji Movie.) I mean, look at how she acts when she sabotages Riley's dream - which, need I remind you, is made to look like a film studio.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Sadness, who represents a creative mind who wishes to challenge audiences with more emotion than just blind amusement. Sadness wants Riley (and therefore, the audience) to watch these movies and go through multiple emotions. At the end, Sadness has inspired Joy and the other emotions to work together to make Riley's life more meaningful. And that's what this movie does. It presents itself as a silly comedy about little people in your head, but then it makes you feel all the emotions you see onscreen - sometimes more than one at a time. Which is really what Pixar does best.

What different mental illnesses might look like in Headquarters

  • Depression: Like we saw in the movie, the control panel greys out and stops responding to input.
  • ADHD (speaking from personal experience): A million TV screens all playing at the same time, blasting different TV programs, songs, videos, lists, news feeds, etc.
  • Anxiety: Fear has too much control over the console.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Fear is pressing the same buttons over and over in a repetitive motion.
  • PTSD: A Core Memory of the traumatic event keeps being triggered and can't be turned off, like a malfunctioning record player.
  • Schizophrenia: The emotions see and hear things through the person's eyes that aren't there, and react accordingly.
  • Antisocial personality disorder: Sadness either isn't doing her job or is being prevented from doing it, keeping the person unable to empathize with others (or maybe she's not there at all). Joy may take enjoyment in hurting others and seeing them suffer.

Surprise doesn't have an Anthropomorphic Personification but is controlled by the console itself

I'm aware Word of God said Surprise was covered by Fear. But I personally don't like that explaination since it doesns't reflect how surpise realy works. Surprise isn't just about jumpscares, it can be a positive thing as well. In real life surpise is a "brief" emotion that is usally followed my another emotion, Fear only being one of them.

My theroy?

Surprise is built into the console and makes the person react in a surpised way until the appropriate emotion takes over. Notice in the end credits when Jordan see's Riley. An "girl" alarm goes off in his head, yet non of his emotions are at the console (Fear is notably in the corner crying) yet Jordan is still in shock. His consol made him feel surprise, but his emotions didn't take over, so he stayed surpised.

Basically. All six of Ekmans emotions are there. But only five of them are characters and the sixth is the consols default emotion.

  • This makes sense in a certain way— one of the primary functions of the console is to show emotions new things.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


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