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There’s nothing quite like a good fan theory to get you to see a well loved movie in a whole new light. Pixar’s films seem to be particularly susceptible to fan theories. People love to read into them a bit deeper and look for hidden meanings and connections. However, not everything means what you think it means.
Pixar’s Ratatouille tells the story of a rat named Remy that loves to cook. It’s also the story of a young chef named Linquini and a restaurant critic named Anton Ego. One interesting fan theory is that Remy and Anton Ego are connected, and that Remy learned to cook in the same house where Anton grew up. The basis of this theory is that two separate scenes, one showing Remy learning to cook, and another showing Anton Ego remembering his childhood and his mother, appear to take place in the same kitchen.
Unfortunately, Ratatouille director Brad Bird has revealed that the reason for these two kitchens looking the same has a far more mundane origin. It had nothing to do with making a secret connection in the plot, and everything to do with saving time animating.
The idea that Remy and Anton have this connection was posted by a Twitter account trying to show off movie easter eggs, but it turns out this wasn’t really an easter egg, just a time saving move. If you’ve already created the objects needed for a kitchen in your computer animated movie, you can do it all again, or save time and just reuse the objects. Brad Bird apparently decided to go with the latter option. Why reinvent the wheel?
This is actually pretty funny. While this particular fan theory doesn’t exactly totally change Ratatouille in any meaningful way, it was a cute way to look at the story. When Anton Ego eats Remy’s dish of ratatouille, he is transported back to his childhood and the food his mother made, it wasn’t a crazy idea to believe that Remy might have learned to make the dish from Ego’s actual mother.
Of course, fan theories are really just for the fans, and the fact that the filmmakers didn’t secretly mean for us to make this hidden connection doesn’t actually mean we can’t still hold on to the fan theory. Most fan theories are built on less evidence than this, and those fans still hold on to them, not because they’re real, but simply because they’re fun.
Although, some people, like Ratatouille voice actor Patton Oswalt, thinks Brad Bird should have kept his mouth shut and made it look like he was a genius.
Brad Bird may not have intended for fans to draw this particular conclusion, but reusing the assets, he still ultimately makes the conclusion plausible. Whether you choose to believe the theory or not is up to you. That’s how fan theories work. Once a piece of art is out in the world, the audience gets to interpret what it means, and no theory is truly wrong.