Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, Margot Robbie as Barbie, and Chris Pratt as Emmet

Fan Theory Connects ‘Barbie,’ ‘The Lego Movie,’ and ‘Elf’ Through One Character

A new theory posits that three movies, Barbie, The Lego Movie, and Elf, may all be connected through one common character. Each of these films came out about a decade apart, and The Lego Movie is largely computer-animated, while Barbie and Elf are live-action. However, some similarities between each of these films make it possible that they occur in the same universe.

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Barbie and Elf are especially similar, considering they focus on Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Buddy (Will Ferrell), respectively, leaving their magical realms—of Barbieland or Santa’s toy shop at the North Pole—to brave the real world. Meanwhile, The Lego Movie, like Barbie, delves into the world of play and how what happens in the real world impacts the toy world.

However, there might be more than adventures in the real world and toys connecting all three of these films.

Fan theory suggests Will Ferrell is the center of the Toyverse

Will Ferrell as Buddy in New York in Elf
(New Line Cinema)

TikTok user Eli Salley posted a video sharing his theory that Ferrell is the thread that connects Barbie, The Lego Movie, and Elf. He starts by exploring Ferrell’s role in The Lego Movie. In the film, Ferrell is the voice of Lord Business in the Lego realm. However, he also appears in the real world as the father of Finn (Jadon Sand), the little boy who plays out the events of the film with Legos. It turns out that Finn’s Legos actually belong to his father, who is a Lego collector. His collection is massive, and he has constructed an entire city out of it. One can’t help but think that such an enthusiastic toy collector might be the CEO of a toy company in real life.

Meanwhile, in Barbie, we see Ferrell playing the role of the CEO of Mattel, and Salley thinks he’s the same person as the toy collector in The Lego Movie. This isn’t too difficult to believe. Neither role has an actual name, they’re both played by Ferrell, and their personalities are fairly similar. They both love toys, have no-nonsense personalities, and are a little prone to losing their temper before seeing the bigger picture. Salley takes the theory a step further by probing why Ferrell’s character is obsessed with toys in Barbie and The Lego Movie.

He theorizes that toys had a major impact on the collector growing up. Perhaps he worked in a toy shop, as Buddy does in Elf. Elf sees Buddy growing up in the North Pole and becoming a master toymaker. When he arrives in New York, viewers see him sneak into a mall at night to prepare for the holidays. In just one night, he builds an enormous Lego display that is just as sophisticated and detailed as the ones we see in The Lego Movie. Hence, this mind-blowing theory suggests that The Lego Movie and Barbie explore what happened to Buddy after Elf.

Considering how much Buddy loved toys and how good he was at making them, it’s not hard to believe he’d become the CEO of a toy company. Perhaps he moved to California to take on the role at Mattel. During the day, he makes toys at Mattel and watches for Barbies in the real world. He’s not phased at all by Barbie’s arrival because he probably remembers his trip from the North Pole to New York was eerily similar to Barbie’s trip from Barbieland to California. Then, when he’s off the clock, he returns home and continues playing with the toys he loves and building amazing Lego displays.

We all thought that the Mattel Cinematic Universe was on the horizon, but what if it’s bigger than that? Perhaps there’s a wider Toyverse built on the back of Buddy the Elf.

(featured image: New Line Cinema / Warner Bros.)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.