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Inside Out‘s Film Editor Explains Movie’s Alternate Storylines

Pretty sure they're all still sad.

Pixar Post - Inside Out Joy Cheers Up Sadness

If you haven’t already had the privilege of having your heart ripped out and toyed with by Pixar’s new movie, Inside Out, you should probably skip this post.

But if you have seen Inside Out, then let me apologize for your dehydration brought on by excessive crying. Sorry. Okay. We have to talk about that ending, because apparently according to Kevin Nolting, the movie’s editor, they were working on a few different storylines before they decided on the one that made us all cry.

The Hollywood Reporter shared Nolting’s explanation. He said:

In earlier versions, Riley [already] lived in San Francisco, and the story was basically about growing up and having the arc be Joy realizing that the emotions have to work together. The appreciation of Sadness came much later.

In the second version it was Fear who went off with Joy, and Sadness didn’t play that big of a part in the story. It was about Joy clinging to this childhood version of Riley. On her first day of middle school, Riley would embarrass herself by acting very childish. This was all Joy’s fault because she wouldn’t let Riley grow up. She was like the overprotective parent who didn’t want this happy kid to ever feel any pain. And we ran with that for over a year. The story revolved around Riley [and] a high school party.

While the high school party storyline sounds pretty intriguing, the ending they went with seemed to just… fit. If nothing else, reading the full story lends a sense of appreciation for how the stories in our favorite animated movies develop, and what goes into making these creative decisions.

Placing value in Sadness was an interesting choice. The message of trying to get people to appreciate sadness instead of outright rejecting it was particularly potent, one that they arrived at after a lot of thought, much like Joy.

Speaking of appreciating sadness: ♫ Who’s your friend who likes to play… 


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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.