ByJonathan Sim, writer at
I'm a writer/film theorist. Check out my articles on Pixar, Harry Potter, Back to the Future, Die Hard, politics, and more!
Jonathan Sim

Pixar's Inside Out has been nominated for "Best Animated Feature Film" and "Best Original Screenplay" in the 2016 Academy Awards, aka the Oscars. You know the Oscars, right? The show that keeps on nominating Leonardo Dicaprio but never gives him the award.

And I'm going to do a little theory on Inside Out that says the main character, Riley Anderson, is adopted.

So here's the theory...

You may think this theory is stupid because at the beginning of the movie, we see Riley being born, right?


The scene doesn't show Riley ACTUALLY being born. Pixar wouldn't do that to us. It shows her opening her eyes for the first time and her parents talking to her.

If you look at Mrs. Anderson, she appears to be standing up, which you wouldn't do once you gave birth. And she also doesn't look like the way you should when you give birth. She doesn't look like she just went through a lot of pain. She doesn't look like she just did something extremely painful and arduous.

Also, take a look at this pic.

Note: You'll notice that in the picture of the parents where they're looking at the POV, you'll see the mom isn't wearing glasses. In the picture above, she is wearing glasses. Just a continuity error. Doesn't really matter.

The mom in this scene appears to be wearing regular clothes instead of a hospital gown which is usually what you wear when you go to a hospital. And you'll also notice that in this scene, Riley is very calm and when you are first given birth to, you'll likely be screaming, drooling, and crying. This means that after another woman gave birth to her, they cleaned her up and gave Riley to the parents we see in the movie.

Secondly, both Riley's parents have brown eyes and brown hair, whereas Riley has blonde hair and blue eyes.

OKAY. HOLD UP. Before you can grab your baseball bat and start murdering either yourself, me, or the computer because of what you just read, let me just make this straight: 1) I'm not a genetics expert. 2) I didn't create this theory. I got a lot of comments on my "Anna and Elsa Weren't Sisters" theory criticizing it because it also had some genetics in it. Keep on reading and if you still find that there's a genetics error, go ahead and post as many negative comments as you want.

What I mean is that it's HIGHLY unlikely that a brown-eyed brown-haired woman with a brown-eyed brown-haired husband would have a blue-eyed blonde child. But it's not impossible. Here's some science behind it:

Here's what Punnet squares are: when you're born, your parents each pass you a pair of alleles shown here by letters. Uppercase letters are dominant traits and lowercase are recessive traits. If we cross those letters in a Punnet square we can predict what features you will have when you're born. If a dominant gene is present at all, it will mask a recessive gene.

The odds of Riley having blue eyes
The odds of Riley having blue eyes

Brown eyes are dominant and blue eyes are recessive, so for Riley to have blue eyes, both her parents would need to be carrying a dominant brown allele, to explain their own hair color, and a recessive blue allele to pass on to Riley. As you can see. that would still just give her a 25% chance of having blue eyes.

But this 25% chance is also the same for Riley having blonde hair. So Riley has to win the 25% lottery twice. As seen in the picture above, 1/4 * 1/4 is 1/16 which is equivalent to just 6.25%. Granted, it's STILL POSSIBLE, but the chances are very slim.

And here's some more proof that Riley was adopted. In Riley's head, different aspects of her personality are on different islands One of them is family island.

If you look at the family red which is in the back on the left, you'll see that there is only one person on the top of the tree. It is possible that this person at the top is Riley. She knows she's adopted and she doesn't know who her real parents are. So, this may mean that Riley is the beginning of her own family and the people beneath her are her future kids.

But here's the question...

So Riley's adopted. Why does it matter? Why wasn't it bought up anywhere in the movie? The person that directed this was Pete Docter, who also directed Monsters, Inc. and Up. In Up, we have Carl and Ellie, probably the most famous Pixar couple ever. And in Monsters, Inc., we have Mike and Sulley, two father figures to Boo (I'm not trying to imply anything). Docter likes to play around with what a parent is.

And why does it matter anyway? It doesn't. Riley being adopted doesn't advance the plot at all. Her being adopted would pretty much just throw off the entire movie.

And that's the theory!

This theory was created by Jonathan "J'' Carlin of the YouTube channel, SuperCarlinBrothers. He posted a video on the theory here:


Latest from our Creators