The following contains some spoilers for Pixar's Luca.
Over the weekend the newest Pixar movie, Luca, arrived and if there's a silver lining to the fact that the movie was released on Disney+ rather than in theaters, it's the fact that Pixar fans can indulge in their favorite Pixar pastime (after watching the movie, of course) which is hunting for Pixar easter eggs. There are always a bunch of fun easter eggs, to be found in Pixar films, and since we have the ability to take the movie frame-by-frame from the beginning, those easter eggs aren't going to stay hidden for too long.
There are a lot of easter eggs and references to be found in Pixar's Luca. There are a lot of references to Italian films that eagle-eyed viewers will likely catch, but here we're focused on the intentional references that are common to all Pixar films, as well as a couple of notable references to classic Disney movies.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
While Disney, like Pixar will always be a name that conjures up animated images, the Mouse House has been making live-action movies for decades, and the absolute best thing about Disney+ is that you now have easy access to so many of them. Perhaps after you watch Luca, you could take in another film from Disney that takes place largely on the ocean, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
It's a great movie, and a great movie poster, that can be seen in a couple of different shots as Luca and Alberto find their way around town. It's in the back of this image in about the center of the shot, just to the left of the people with the large baskets.
There are a few different Disney references found in Giulia's bedroom. There's a version of the Pinocchio storybook seen there, though it's a more traditional version of the character and not specifically the Disney version. Although, the reference is likely just as intentional. However, there's a much more overt Disney reference found in the bedroom as well, as there's a stuffed Donald Duck toy found at the foot of the girl's bed. Check it out next to the open suitcase
While Donald Duck traditionally is known for his temper, this Donald looks to be the most chill we've ever seen him. He's just hanging out, without a care in the world.
Of all Pixar easter eggs none is more classic than the Luxo Ball. It's a reference to the first animated short from the studio, Luxo Jr. and the ball has made an appearance in all major features from the studio. It doesn't always take the form of an actual ball, but the familiar stripe and star can always been seen someplace.
In the case of Luca, the Luxo Ball is an actual ball, but it's a "blink and you'll miss it" sort of easter egg as it goes by pretty fast. Near the end of the film, after Luca has begun the bicycle race, we get a top-down view of the racers, and off to the right, on the roof of a building, we see the Luxo Ball.
Pizza Planet Truck
The Pizza Planet Truck is one of my favorite easter eggs in Pixar films because it can take such unique and interesting forms. While it has simply been a pizza delivery truck in the first couple Toy Story movies, as well as Coco, it's a wood carving in Brave and it's an actual character in Cars 3. Even in the most recent Toy Story it took the form of a tattoo, on a guy who apparently really loved his pizza.
In Luca, the Pizza Planet Truck is simply a truck, but it's one with a very unique design as it blends in to the rest of the aesthetic, which is clearly meant to be from several decades ago. Shortly after the Luxo Ball can be seen, later in the race, Ercole races past the truck, which is recognizable thanks to the rocket ship logo, because otherwise we might have missed it. Apparently Pizza Planet got its start in Italy. It's no wonder everybody loves this pizza.
A-113 is an easter egg that exists in many animated movies, not simply those from Pixar, as it is a reference to classroom found at the California Institute of the Arts., or CalArts, a school in part founded by Walt Disney himself. Anybody who plans for a career in animation has made their way through this classroom, and it lives on thanks to its students.
At the end of the film, when Alberto gives Luca the train ticket he bought so that the boy can go to school, it's numbered with A113, which I guess in this case is the location of his seat on the train.
Finally we have the easter egg that we know is in Luca, but I'll admit, I have yet to find. Because Pixar movies are such labors of love, that take years to produce, we don't only see references to previous films, but Pixar movies always leave hints to the next movie that fans will see.
Director Enrico Casarosa has confirmed that Luca does contain an easter egg for Turning Red, next year's film about a young girl who transforms into a red panda when she gets excited. However, he's not yet telling anybody where to find it. And the simple fact is that, since we don't know a great deal about Turning Red, discovering the reference now would be pretty close to impossible. We might not be able to recognize the reference until we actually see the movie in March of 2022.
If you caught all these easter eggs on your first watch of Luca, then you have an impressive eye. If not, you can keep an eye out for them the next time you watch the film, and it's a movie worth checking out more than once. We can also expect Disney's next animated film, Encanto, to be full of fun easter eggs as well, look it up on our list of 2021 new movie releases.