"Inside Out 2" has broken records as the highest-grossing animated film of 2024 with its heartfelt story and clever references.

The film features many Easter eggs, including a "Back to the Future" reference in the post-credits scene.

"Inside Out 2" also teases Pixar's next film, "Elio," with a subtle reference in Riley's memory spheres.

Inside Out 2 has been breaking all records for an animated movie, becoming the biggest hit of 2024. The sequel to the 2015 original has colorful animation, a heartfelt story, and lovable new characters. The plot of the movie is set two years after the first movie, and some of Riley’s new emotions have been introduced in the new movie.

Inside Out 2
Inside Out 2 | via Pixar YouTube

Just like many other Pixar films, Inside Out 2 also has hidden details and Easter eggs for eagle-eyed viewers to spot. The studio has a history of putting in references to its other movies and pop culture references that excite its audience even more.

Back to the Future Reference in Inside Out 2

Deep Dark Secret in Inside Out 2
Deep Dark Secret in Inside Out 2 | Credits: Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures

While many have been trying to spot familiar Pixar characters or nods to other animated films, there’s one particular reference that has been noticed by fans. It’s a subtle reference to Michael J. Fox‘s 1980s classic.

The most talked-about running gag in Inside Out 2 is Riley’s mysterious “Deep Dark Secret.” Viewers are left wondering what this big secret could be throughout the movie. The post-credits scene finally reveals that, and it turns out to be a nod to Back to the Future.

In the scene, Joy visits the vault where Riley’s secrets are kept. The Deep Dark Secret reveals that Riley was actually the one who burned a hole in her parents’ rug years ago. This might seem like a random confession, but it’s actually a reference to a line from Back to the Future. Just before Marty McFly heads back to 1985, he tells his parents,

If you guys ever have kids, and one of them, when he’s eight years old, accidentally sets fire to the living room rug… go easy on him.

It’s a subtle connection between Riley and Marty McFly. Both of them had a little accident with their parents’ rug when they were young. The difference is that Riley got away with it, while Marty probably got in trouble.

This isn’t the first time Pixar has referenced Back to the Future. In the original Inside Out, there’s a scene where Bing Bong watches his hand disappear, just like Marty does in the movie. In Toy Story, Rex repeats a line from Marty and George, “I just don’t think I could take that kind of rejection!”

Inside Out 2 is filled with other Easter eggs as well. There is a Toy Story throwback when Joy gives Lenny the binoculars to Sadness. Riley’s room has a poster of ‘4*Town’ which was the boy band from Turning Red. There is a reference to Pixar’s Onward when Joy tries to pronounce Ennui’s name.

According to Variety, Inside Out 2 has become the fifth highest-grossing animated film of all time, with a global collection of $1.22 billion. It seems like Pixar’s blend of heartfelt storytelling and hidden jokes is a winning formula.

Inside Out 2 Teases Elio

Elio | via Pixar YouTube

Along with Pixar’s past movies, Inside Out 2 also gives a sneak peek at what’s coming next and some viewers might have spotted a reference to Elio, which is going to be Pixar’s upcoming movie for 2025.

During a sarcastic scene in Inside Out 2, there is a small shot of several memory spheres. One of these spheres is dedicated to Elio, which will be the main character of Pixar’s next film. It is a very short moment, but it has gotten the attention it wanted.

Elio is the story of an 11-year-old boy who accidentally becomes Earth’s ambassador to alien races. He gets taken away on an intergalactic adventure, dealing with aliens and the fate of the universe. It’s a classic Pixar move – taking a wild concept and turning it into something heartfelt and relatable.

The movie is being directed by Adrian Molina, who co-directed Coco. It has got some big names attached, like America Ferrera voicing Elio’s mom and Yonas Kibreab as Elio himself. Jameela Jamil and Brad Garrett are there as alien ambassadors.

Elio was originally supposed to come out before Inside Out 2, but it got pushed back due to the SAG-AFTRA strikes. According to IMDb, it will be released in theaters on June 13, 2025. The delay is something that is not good for the studio, but it gives Pixar some more time to polish their product.

Inside Out 2 is running in theaters.

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