An Inside Out 2 Fan Theory and a Secret Fifth New Emotion, Explained

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  • There May Be Five New Emotions in Inside Out 2
  • What Does This Mean for Inside Out 2?


  • Pixar’s
    Inside Out 2
    may feature five new emotions, sparking intriguing fan theories on how they will manifest in the storyline.
  • Surprise, who was left out of the first film, would potentially make a physical appearance in the sequel as a neutral character like Bing Bong.
  • The sequel is expected to delve into themes of puberty and anxiety, with new emotions like Anxiety and Envy guiding Riley through this new chapter in her life.

It’s no secret that Pixar hides Easter eggs in plain sight. Sometimes, they’re a nod to the next movie, like when Hank the Octopus from Finding Dory showed up at the bottom of the lake in The Good Dinosaur. Other times, it may simply be the number “A113,” a reference to the Character Animation classroom at California Institute of the Arts, where many of their animators attended. So it’s no wonder why the Pixar Cinematic Universe has spawned so many fan theories.

Recently, folks found evidence pointing to five new emotions – not four, as all the promos suggest – joining the core five in Inside Out 2. Although some theories disagree on what emotion the late add-on will be, most agree but vary only in terms of how that emotion will manifest. So, without further ado, here are some of the most compelling fan theories about the secret final emotion in Inside Out 2.

There May Be Five New Emotions in Inside Out 2

Inside Out 2

Release Date
June 14, 2024

Kelsey Mann


Did you know that the emotions in Inside Out are based on Paul Ekman’s theory of emotions in psychology? Ekman concluded that all humans innately possess the capacity to experience the same core emotions: joy, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, and surprise. Sure enough, it was confirmed that Surprise was supposed to be among the main characters in the first film. In fact, they had been considering expanding beyond just six. These details Pete Docter revealed were part of the impetus for making a sequel in the first place; so much was left unexplored.

When Docter explained the original narrowing-down process in an interview with NPR, he stated that while doodling, he thought, “Surprise and fear – probably fairly similar, so let’s just lose surprise. And that left us with five.” But of course, just because surprise was excluded from being physically manifested alongside the others doesn’t mean it was excluded from being portrayed.


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One Redditor theorized years ago that Fear didn’t simply usurp Surprise in the first Inside Out. This is because surprise is its own neutral emotion that may be followed by another, like fear or joy. During the credits, we see an excellent example of that. When Riley meets Jordan, Jordan seems surprised. Then, interestingly, when we zoom inside his brain, we see that none of Jordan’s emotions are operating the console. A “GIRL” alarm goes off while pandemonium ensues… Fear is crying in a corner, and others are running around… yet Jordan is still clearly surprised. The theory goes that Surprise is the console when not being operated by anyone – in other words, the console’s default setting. Here is the theory in full:

What Does This Mean for Inside Out 2?

We know that Inside Out 2 will be about puberty and anxiety, with the four new emotions being part and parcel of coming of age. The new characters we’re introduced to in the trailer are Anxiety, Ennui, Envy, and Embarrassment – characters Anxiety sees as “more sophisticated” than the original Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. More sophisticated and, crucially, more equipped to guide Riley through this new chapter in her life, as the primary conflict in the film emerges when they suppress/replace the original emotions.

One recent offshoot of the original Reddit theory, discussed by Deluxe, posits that Surprise will be brought to life physically for Inside Out 2, not as another antagonist but as this film’s new Bing Bong. Bing Bong, as audiences may recall, was a manifestation of Riley’s innocence in Inside Out. His role was technically to assist the core crew in making it back to the command center, but in a deeper sense, he taught Joy that you can’t force happiness.

Bing Bong was an unbiased, non-emotion who was able to teach her this lesson precisely because he wasn’t trying. He was a neutral entity that Joy was able to project meaning onto or derive it from. This neutrality is why the theorist believes Surprise could fill these shoes in the sequel.


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Surprise is sure to come up when all the many changes in Riley’s life begin to occur. Though, who knows? Maybe the lesson will be taught to Anxiety instead, given all the hints we’ve been given about that emotion’s prominence in the film. Inside Out 2 releases in theaters on June 14, 2024.


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