How Toy Story 4 Served Justice With Finding Nemo’s Barracuda Easter Egg

Toy Story 4 served up an Easter egg featuring the barracuda from Finding Nemo, which gave fans a sense of justice. It isn’t easy to forget Finding Nemo’s tragic opening in which a savage barracuda kill Nemo’s mother and all his future siblings. It’s a death that hasn’t left audience members of all ages ever since the film’s release. Sixteen years later, the barracuda reappears in Toy Story 4 – mounted and stuffed in an antique store.

The Easter egg is spotted hanging when Bonnie, Woody and co.’s new kid, and her mother walk into Second Chance Antiques while her dad is fixing the RV’s flat tire and “using some words.” The shop serves as a smorgasbord of Pixar Easter eggs. Throughout the studio’s history, Pixar has made excellent use of plenty of Easter eggs, including in Finding Dory. But this one is particularly emotionally impactful.

Related: Every Pixar Movie Easter Egg That Teased A Future Film

Seeing the barracuda’s fate in Toy Story 4 was nothing short of justice. The villain who killed Nemo's mom (confirmed via Buzzfeed) has apparently been caught stuffed and ultimately discarded. Seeing this confirmation is cathartic for many who were the target demographic when Finding Nemo was first released. That opening sequence, while still staying within what’s appropriate for Pixar, manages to feel very violent. Its survival in the public consciousness is likely helped by its beautiful animation and heartbreaking vocal performance from Albert Brooks as he calls for Coral, Nemo’s mother. While she is unlikely to make a return, at least the barracuda doesn’t totally get away with its crimes, providing a much-needed moment of victory in a film that features Woody’s Captain-America-like ending. Putting concerns about animal cruelty aside, the sight of the predator in its current position in Toy Story 4 is like a gift for previously traumatized viewers.

The final resting place for the barracuda is called Second Chance Antiques for a reason. While it speaks to the themes of transition and new beginnings in Toy Story 4, it also delivers some delicious irony regarding the barracuda, who very much is not getting a second chance. A fate fitting for most Disney villains. The shop also gives different Pixar designs from over the years a second chance to shine. Besides using Easter eggs to invite Fox into Disney, one of the other references stored in the antique shop is a toy version of Elastigirl’s motorcycle from The Incredibles. Viewers can also spot Carl’s walker from Up, a case of Casey Jr Cookies also used by the circus in A Bug’s Life, and a model of Arlo from The Good Dinosaur. The goggles of the diver who captured Nemo are also present. Fans can assume that the diver possibly decided to pursue a different career that doesn’t involve kidnapping young clownfish. Or perhaps the diver also received some fateful punishment. Speculation aside, nothing will top seeing the definitive fate of that barracuda.

Toy Story 4's Easter eggs also carried on the long-time tradition of teasing future Pixar films. This tradition began with Monster's Inc. when Boo shows off her toy Nemo-like clownfish to Sully. In Finding Nemo, a kid in the dentist's waiting room was reading a Mr. Incredible comic book. Toy Story 4 introduced Onward via a Pegasus design upon a bouncy castle, identical to the one on the side of Barley's van. Besides referencing the past or future, Pixar's Easter eggs have been able to complete a story arc, as seen with the barracuda.

Many audience members have likely imagined what Nemo’s life would’ve been without that barracuda. He’d have siblings instead of a fin injury. And with his mom around, maybe Nemo never would've tested Merlin's strict boundaries and gotten caught by that diver. However, that would mean they’d never encounter Dory or Dory’s real short-term memory loss condition, nor would the group have gone on such an entertaining adventure. Maybe after some reflection, fans actually have the barracuda to thank for such a beloved movie. But it’s unlikely the pain that the barracuda caused can be gotten over any time soon, even after eighteen years. Toy Story 4 didn’t just serve its audience a Finding Nemo barracuda Easter egg – it served justice.

More: Why Pixar Can't Let Toy Story Die

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