Feb. 25, 2014 at 3:51 PM ET
The "Toy Story" trilogy has become a children's classic, and even though the third film came out in 2010, fans are still mulling over possible plot twists and hidden meanings.
Writer Jon Negroni made animated waves last fall with his development of a Cracked.com theory about how all the Pixar movies are connected. Now, inspired by a reader tip, he's got a new theory, and it seems pretty solid. Negroni claims that toy owner Andy's mom is also Emily, the original owner of cowgirl Jessie.
In "Toy Story 2," sheriff Woody meets Jessie, who in the heartbreaking song "When She Loved Me," tells of being abandoned by Emily, who grew up and shifted her interests from horses and dolls to nail polish and boys.
Negroni's evidence includes the fact that young Andy is seen wearing a Jessie-style hat, not the same kind of hat his own Woody wears, and said hat is missing a ribbon, indicating it may be vintage. And when Andy's mom (voiced by Laurie Metcalf, of "Roseanne" and "Big Bang Theory" fame) is seen, she has similar, if lighter, hair worn in a style similar to young Emily's. Her first name is never given in the films.
"Here’s what we know for sure," Negroni writes. "We don’t know the first name of Andy’s mom. We don’t know Emily’s last name. We know that Andy’s hat and Emily’s hat are the same. We know that Emily is old enough to be Andy’s mom. We definitely know that Pixar is perfectly capable of sneaking this in without being overt about it."
"Toy Story" fans posting on Negroni's site mostly applaud the theory. "Where else would Andy have gotten that peculiar old hat, but as an accessory to an original Cowgirl Jessie doll, owned most likely by a little girl?" writes David Jack.
Others have some doubts. "Wouldn't you assume that Jessie would realize Andy's mom was her prior owner?" asks C. Koch.
Another reader points out that children's films are known for Easter eggs. The "Toy Story" series itself rewards smart viewing. Terrifying toy-torturer Sid from the original film shows up as a garbageman in the third film. (Same skull T-shirt, same voice actor.) The Pizza Planet truck that plays a role in "Toy Story" has made cameos in most other Pixar films, and "Cheers" star John Ratzenberger always has a voice cameo in the studio's movies.
Even the recent Disney hit "Frozen" features numerous nods to other Disney films — sharp-eyed fans will see a brunette Rapunzel and her love interest, Flynn Rider, both from the Disney film "Tangled," entering the Arendelle castle for Elsa's coronation.
TODAY asked Disney/Pixar for comment, but whether or not the studio admits to a mom-Jessie master plan, isn't it more fun to just play with the theory and argue out the evidence on either side, to infinity and beyond?