• Mon, Apr 21 - 4:07 pm ET

This Fan Theory About Pixar’s Up Will Break Your Heart Into Tiny Little Pieces

Carl and Ellie in Up GIF(via)

Just when you thought you were gonna have a day sans heartbreak, here comes a fan of the movie Up to ruin everything.

As you’ve probably noticed, those pesky people in the Pixar universe (say that ten times fast) are constantly burying little hints and secrets in their movies, so it’s always a good idea to stay alert, and no theory is too crazy to be immediately ruled out. Particularly if it tugs at your heartstrings — that’s kind of their specialty.

And this theory is no exception, so grab some tissues and let’s get into it. You know that part at the beginning of the movie when Ellie has already died and your tears have already been shed? And then Carl is told he has to move out of his house and into a nursing home? Well I hope you didn’t burn through all your face-water, because this fan is suggesting that that moment is the last one that’s actually real. According to this theory, after Carl is informed he has to leave all his memories behind, he dies in his sleep that night. Everything from that moment is representative of his journey through the afterlife.

For example, that would make Russell his guardian angel, who shows up to guide Carl through his journey and get his ‘final badge’ in the process. Something the theory suggests could mean ‘earn his wings’, ala a little baby angel in training. And of course, the fact that he’s a child is no accident, as Ellie and Carl were never able to have children of their own. So he kind of wished him into being, with that logic.

And the reason that Carl needs all that help making his way UP (!!!!) to heaven anyway is because he has a strong attachment to his home. Which is signified when he literally tears it from the ground in an attempt to take it with him, straddling both sides of life and death for fear that he’ll lose his memories of Ellie. His house embodies his connection to the physical world, and Paradise Falls — I mean c’mon, it’s right in the name — is a representation of heaven.

Carl Fredericksen Up theory

E! Online points out that there are more scenes after that final Paradise Falls thing so it’s hard to make this theory stand up, but tell that to your tears and twanging heartstrings, amirite?

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  • elle

    Eh I dont really think that theory makes sense personally. Or are all the scouts dead along with their fathers and a woman who ispresumably his mother? Seems pretty silly to me…..

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah, I think the theory assumes that these are the sorts of things that would go on in Carl’s heaven. But I agree, it’s tenuous.

  • Jon

    Ever since that reddit thread about the Rugrats all being dead and ALADDIN taking place thousands of years in the future, these fan theories have just gotten crazier. That being said, I’ll devour every single one of them till the cows come home

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I don’t know if I ever read the Aladdin one!

  • rubellious

    This theory doesn’t work, seeing as Carl flies off within three minutes of the nursing home people visiting him. They come to take him, he asks to say goodbye to his house, they let him, he goes inside and releases the balloons and he flies off with the people from the nursing home WATCHING him. There is no transition indicating it is a different day, this all happens in the same scene.