While Pixar's Soul is now widely considered one of the best movies that the animation studio has ever produced, there is a particular way that it stands out from the rest: it's the only movie in the canon that doesn't feature the voice of John Ratzenberger. This aspect of the film has had many fans scratching their heads since the debut on Disney+, particularly since director Pete Docter confirmed that he is in the movie, but now the weird mystery has been solved. It turns out that while it's true that you can't hear the Cheers actor in the streaming blockbuster, you can see him animated as a background character in a scene.
This cool bit of trivia has been confirmed with a screenshot and a thumbs up from Soul writer/co-director Kemp Powers on Twitter. Replying to a tease-y post by the filmmaker, The Pixar Post asked him if they had spotted the special cameo, and Powers responded with a "Boom." You can check out the post and the screenshot below:
For those of you who want to find the cameo for yourselves in the movie, you can boot up Soul on Disney+ and scroll to the 1:08:19 timestamp. In the scene, Joe is racing to make it to the Doretha Williams set at the jazz club, and when he goes down to the subway he crawls underneath the turnstile instead of paying. The shot lingers for an extra second on a man who shoots a look at Joe as he runs away, and the guy certainly does bear a striking resemblance to John Ratzenberger.
To see the full context of the shot instead of just the zoomed in bit above, check out the image below:
It's usually pretty easy to register John Ratzenberg's roles in Pixar movies given that his voice is so distinctive, but it's cool that the animation studio decided to mix things up a bit this time around. Of course, it shouldn't be all that surprising at all that fans were able to find him so quickly.
For those who don't know the full history, John Ratzenberg has been viewed as a kind of good luck charm for Pixar ever since Toy Story debuted in 1995 – in which he starred as Ham, the piggy bank. He's had a mix of significant roles outside the Toy Story series, P.T. Flea in A Bug's Life and The Abominable Snowman in the Monsters, Inc. series, but usually his roles are small enough that you have to pick them out as Easter eggs. Soul is a new twist on that tradition, and now we can enjoy spotting him whenever we rewatch the film on Disney+.
The question now is how Pixar can go an extra step further. Maybe find a way to get John Ratzenberger to play an animated version of himself?