Inside Out 2's Filmmakers Tried To Bring Back A Cut Emotion From The First Movie And Introduce A Whole Bunch New Ones That Didn’t Get Used

 Embarassment, Anxiety, Envy, and Ennui in Inside Out 2.
Embarassment, Anxiety, Envy, and Ennui in Inside Out 2.

In Inside Out 2, the emotional state of Riley is becoming much more complicated. In the previous film, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger all took turns at the proverbial wheel steering the young girl through a tumultuous time in her life (her family moving from Minnesota to San Francisco), but the sequel will see things shaken up significantly as the pre-teen becomes a full-on teen and starts going through puberty. A host of new emotions are introduced amid this biological change – including Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment and Ennui – which is a lot… but the original plan for the film actually saw the inclusion of a whole lot more.

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Last month, I joined a group of journalists on a trip to Pixar headquarters in Emeryville, California for an early look at Inside Out 2, and director Kelsey Mann and producer Mark Nielsen spoke about the new characters in the movie while fielding questions during a press conference. They revealed that the very first version of the sequel included a total of nine new emotions joining the original five in the story, including one that had been left on the cutting room floor in the making of the first film.

Schadenfreude Continues To Wait To Make Its Big Screen Debut In The Inside Out Universe

If you spend practically any time on the internet, there’s a good chance you are aware of the term “Schadenfreude.” Deriving from German, it’s an ugly emotion that is defined as pleasure taken in the misfortune of others. It’s an idea that one could see the filmmakers at Pixar having a lot of fun with in an Inside Out movie… but thus far, it is 0-for-2 in surviving the various stages of development.

Discussing emotions that were considered but ultimately not used for Inside Out 2, Kelsey Mann explained that he went back to the very earliest versions of the original Inside Out to see if there were any unused gems that could be resurrected for the sequel, and that process led him to reconsider Schadenfreude after it had been previously tossed around as an idea by Pete Docter:

Yes, there were lots of emotions that didn’t make the cut both for this film and the original film. In fact, I even started by rewatching every single screening of the first movie because I just wanted to see if there was any gems that were like in there that I could bring back in. One of them is the emotion of Schadenfreude. Pete [Docter], they had that idea in the first film and so we tried it again.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers couldn’t ultimately find a place for it, and it was because its inclusion ended up being part of a bigger problem: early versions of Inside Out 2 were trying to do too much.

The Earliest Version Of Inside Out 2 Had Joy Contending With A Dozen Emotions In Riley’s Mind

Given all of the big changes Riley goes through in Inside Out 2, the plan for the film was to always include new emotions – the trick was to come up with a manageable number. Mann explained that the first cut of the sequel bit off way more than it could chew by having the five established emotions joined by nine others:

But my first pass, my first screening that we did, nine emotions. Nine new emotions showed up. I really wanted Joy to feel overwhelmed by all of these new emotions that showed up. And I was like ‘Well, let’s have a lot show up.’ And then you couldn’t keep track. There were so many emotions and they all canceled each other out because you couldn’t keep up with everybody. And my first note from the first screening was, ‘Simplify.’

It was clear that the number of active characters needed to be trimmed, but, naturally, it wasn’t an easy process to pick who would stay and who would go. Fortunately for Kelsey Mann, he works at a studio with a lot of resources, and he was able to meet with Professor Dacher Keltner, who directs the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab at the University of California, Berkeley:

First and foremost, I knew Riley was gonna be dealing with becoming a teenager. So, I’m like it’s gotta be the emotions that show up and drive at the console when we’re teenagers. And I remember meeting with Dacher Keltner – he’s a professor over here at Berkeley, and he was our emotional expert on the first film. So, I brought him back in when it was just me by myself in development. I brought Dacher in and I had a list of emotions, and he saw them over my shoulder. I had written them all down on the wall, and he’s like, ‘What are those?’

Mann explained to Keltner that they were the characters being considered to be introduced in Inside Out 2, and he inquired which emotions stuck out to the professor as being the most important for a teenager. The filmmaker continued,

He looked at the list and he’s like, ‘It’s all the ones that are the self-conscious emotions.’ We’re hardwired at this age to start to become really self-conscious. And in part we’re doing it because when you’re a kid, you’ve got your parents and your caregivers taking care of you, and eventually, you’re gonna have to take care of yourself. And that’s why we’re hardwired to push our parents and our caregivers away is so that we can become independent people that can take care of ourselves.

Fittingly, Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment and Ennui are all emotions that can driven from relationships. Anxiety is premeditated stress from external judgement; Envy is the desire to have what others have; Embarrassment is the recognition of shame from others’ eyes; and Ennui covers social detachment. As Kelsey Mann detailed, these are all feelings that come front and center when we are reaching adulthood:

It’s all about fitting in at that age. And it’s part of our design of who we are, because if you don’t like me, you’re gonna banish me and I’m gonna go out into the woods and die alone. That’s why we worry so much about what others think about us at that age. And it kinda turns on and it kinda never goes away. You kinda have to manage it, which is a big reason why I’m making this movie.

Featuring a stellar cast that includes Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Lewis Black (Anger), Tony Hale (Fear), Liza Lapira (Disgust), Maya Hawke (Anxiety), Ayo Edebiri (Envy), Adèle Exarchopoulos (Ennui) and Paul Walter Hauser (Embarrassment), Inside Out 2 has completed production and is now waiting for its tent pole summer release on June 14. Be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more stories from behind the scenes of the new Pixar feature, and check out our 2024 Movie Release Calendar to discover all of the big movies coming out in the coming months.