what actually happened to carl in up

Carl's fate in 'Up' may be a little more tragic, according to an internet theory


Oct. 9 2020, Updated 8:32 a.m. ET

At the end of the beloved Pixar movie Up, Carl and Russell grow closer and, presumably, spend several years in a friendship Carl needed badly after his wife Ellie died. But, according to a theory about Up, the truth of what happened to Carl is a bit darker. And, if you were one of many who bawled like a baby within the first 10 minutes of the movie, you may not be able to handle what some deem as the true plot.

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So, what actually happened to Carl in 'Up'?

A theory was posted on Reddit in 2012 that points to Carl’s fate in Up being different from what we remember. The theory states that Carl actually died in the beginning of the movie and everything viewers see, from him meeting Russell, to the house being carried away by balloons to South America, is part of his afterlife journey.

carl in pixar up
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If you remember, the very end scene of the movie does show Carl’s house situated right next to Paradise Falls, where Carl and his late wife Ellie had planned to go before she died. It’s a whopper of a theory that makes the movie even more heartbreaking than it already is. Russell might also be an angel meant to guide Carl since he needed his "wings" by doing good deeds. But if it’s true, then everything that happened to Carl was part of his adventure back to Ellie.

There's also a dark theory about what really happened in 'Finding Nemo.'

Despite there being a sequel to Finding Nemo, there is also a Reddit theory that negates the original plot of the first movie. According to the theory, Nemo was never real and his father, Marlin, is going through the five stages of grief throughout the movie as he "finds" Nemo. The word Nemo also means "nobody" in Latin, so there’s that.

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The theory doesn’t quite explain what it means for Marlin to find his son at the end and, presumably, live happily ever after. But it does point out how other characters in the movie urge Marlin to let his son go, or "let it go," meaning to let go of his loss of his wife and their eggs, which were all attacked at the start of the movie.

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Pixar movies are known for having deeper meanings.

Pixar movies are commonly recipes for giving us all a case of the weepies. If you are a parent and have watched Inside Out with your kids at least once, then you know exactly what that means. Or, try watching WALL-E without being terrified for our planet. There’s also the idea of losing parts of yourself while growing out of your childhood that make the Toy Story movies so emotional.

It’s no surprise, really, that Up is potentially much sadder than everyone originally thought. Of course Pixar movies are meant for kids, so the deeper and darker meanings behind them might be in everyone’s head. Or, they are meant for the adults, while kids can enjoy them on a more superficial level. Just don't feel bad if movies like Up still turn you into a blubbering mess.


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