Elemental Easter eggs explained: Director reveals the animators even hid them from him

The pizza planet truck, luxo ball and more are hidden in the animation

ELEMENTAL, Disney and Pixar’s all-new, original feature film releasing June 16, 2023, features the voices of Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie as Ember and Wade, respectively. In a city where fire-, water-, land-, and air-residents live together, this fiery young woman and go-with-the-flow guy are about to discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common. “Elemental” is directed by Peter Sohn and produced by Denise Ream. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
Ember and Wade in Elemental (Disney/Pixar)

Pixar is well known for hiding Easter eggs throughout their films, from the iconic pizza truck to A113, and even ones representing the films coming ahead of them, and the studio's latest feature Elemental follows this same pattern.

Elemental focuses on Ember Lumen (Leah Lewis), a fire person whose parents immigrated to Element city to give her a better life, and when she puts the family business at risk she enlists the help of city inspector Wade Ripple (Mamoudou Athie) to stop their shop from being closed down, with the pair finding love along the way.

Read more: 22 mind-blowing Pixar and Disney in-jokes

The film's director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream tell Yahoo UK that the animation team hid a number Easter eggs within the movie, some of which they don't even know about.

"I don't know how I feel about them just shoving ideas in that we don't even know where they are, I begged them to tell me," Sohn says.

Elemental (Disney/Pixar)
Elemental (Disney/Pixar)

He adds: "It's a natural thing that starts to happen when you start getting into production, when the story gets locked down, like when we're in story phase we are not even even thinking about [Easter eggs].

"It's 'can we survive? Is this film gonna work? Are we gonna get fired?' You're just trying to make it work then once production gets into full gear and everyone's in it then all of a sudden someone's like, 'oh, I thought about putting that here', so we like to evolve toward the tail end of the production."

Read more: Elemental director hopes film helps children realise 'where emotions are coming from'

Of the process of adding Easter eggs, Ream says: "Well, as the producer, I look at it late in the game, I go 'OK is the Pizza Planet truck in there? Do we have all the things we need?' Because you're just focusing on so many bigger issues with it."

Elemental easter eggs explained

Doug from Up

Dug Days  Carl
Dug Days Carl

Doug, the adorable dog from Pixar's Up, not only features in the animation studio's new short film, Carl's Date, that will be shown ahead of the animation, he also makes a fun cameo in the film itself.

Ream shares, "Pete was told that we have Doug from Up in there, but they took the fur off and put grass on him and we haven't been able to find him."

Read more: Elemental review: Pixar film is not a firecracker but its heart is in the right place

The dog is a pet of one of the residents of Element city who can be seen in the background whilst Ember explores the town.


When Elio is inadvertently beamed up to an interplanetary organisation, he's mistaken for Earth's ambassador.  (Disney-Pixar)
When Elio is inadvertently beamed up to an interplanetary organisation, he's mistaken for Earth's ambassador. (Disney-Pixar)

Elio — Pixar's next project — follows its titular character as he is transported to space when aliens arrive on Earth demanding to speak to humanity's leader.

In Elemental there is a poster advertising a space club which is a reference to Elio, but Ream shares that the main Easter egg is actually a character: "That's in the water stadium. That one's fun, that's one of my favourites."

Read more: Everything you need to know about Pixar's Elio

She adds that the Elio Easter egg was decided on quite far into production: "That was pretty late in the game that we put that character in."

The Luxo ball

Another Easter egg that regularly appears in Pixar films is the Luxo ball, which was originally featured in Toy Story.

In Elemental the ball can be seen on Wade's popcorn bucket whilst he and Ember watch a match at the Cyclone stadium.

SUPERFAN -- In Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental,” fire-woman Ember (voice of Leah Lewis) and water-guy Wade (voice of Mamoudou Athie) track down air-resident and superfan Gale (voice of Wendi McLendon-Covey) at Cyclone Stadium where the crowd cheers for their home Air Ball team, the Cropdusters. Directed by Peter Sohn (“The Good Dinosaur,” “Party Cloudy” short) and produced by Denise Ream (“The Good Dinosaur,” “Cars 2”), Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental” releases on June 16, 2023. Photo credit: Disney/Pixar
Gale, Ember and Wade in Elemental (Disney/Pixar)

The pizza planet truck

Rather than feature a pizza planet truck as usual for the studio, Elemental has a pizza planet boat which can be seen when Ember's mother Cinder (Shila Ommi) follows her daughter.


Pixar always makes reference to A113, the name of the classroom in CalArts that was attended by most of the studio's creators.

In Elemental the Easter egg is a bit more subtle as it is featured on a sign in Element city that has 'A H AI' written on it, the latter two representing the elements Hydrogen and Aluminium.

On the periodic table, Hydrogen is the number 1 and Aluminium is the number 13.

Elemental will be released in cinemas on Friday, 7 July.

Watch: Elemental director Peter Sohn discusses the examination of mental health in the animation.