The Hidden Easter Eggs And Delights of “Strange World”

With Strange World now available on Disney+, a release on Digital Platforms, and an upcoming physical media release, those viewing the latest film from Walt Disney Animation Studios can now stop and pause and examine with precision, looking at the vast landscapes for hidden nods and easter eggs that are there. While not the treasure trove that other films can be, there are still plenty of fun things to find throughout, and I’ve listed what I’ve found so far below.

Alan’s Demise

Having appeared in every Walt Disney Animation Studios film since Wreck-It Ralph, Alan Tudyk once again makes a vocal appearance in Strange World. While other films relegate his Julliard education to making chicken noises (Hei Hei in Moana), he does have several speaking roles in this adventure. Providing the voice of the narrator and a reporter, Tudyk’s most significant role in Strange World is that of the pilot of the Venture, Duffle.

Spoiler Alert: Don’t get too attached to Duffle though, right after an exchange with Searcher, we get into one of the first action sequences of the film. Duffle doesn’t make it. In fact, it’s quite similar (or at least similar enough to draw comparisons to) a previous death that a character of Tudyk’s has endured. In Serenity, his character, Washburne, meets his maker after crash landing and is impaled as an object comes crashing through the windshield of the ship. Possibly paying homage to this role, as the Venture dives deeper into this strange world (hey! That’s the title!) they are attacked by mysterious creatures, one of which blasts through the windshield with their tongue, and attacks Duffle, pulling him out of his seat and out of the movie.

Maybe the Computer Froze?

As we see the Clades make their deliveries throughout Arendelle, I mean, Avalonia, you’ll see some decorative patterns that look like those that adorn the aforementioned kingdom from the Frozen franchise. While nothing is entirely indicative or specifically references the blockbuster films, the patterns are similar and possibly “borrowed” from a hard drive full of models and patterns to flesh out this society a bit for the brief moments that we see the city streets in this film.


In the city streets as Searcher and Ethan are making their pando deliveries, there are moments where we see background details featuring smiling pods of the energy source. Rumor has it that these are leftovers from an earlier character who was inevitably scrapped, a joyful mascot who promoted the plant life that Avalonia adopted as its main power source, thrusting the society decades in advancement. Only one major moment seems to call attention to this as we see a billboard rise for pando, but the happy-go-lucky looking orb can be seen on crates and other materials in background details throughout those quick moments that we’re in the city portions of Avalonia.

Pando Box

When the reapers attack the Venture after they pass through the sea of acid, Searcher brings out a box of Pando to use against the creatures. The box has some stickers on it, one of which reads “The Best Safety Advice is a Cautious Crew,” but painted on the box in a less-poppy style is a crate number that reads “WDAS61 VEN.” Ven is obviously a reference to Venture, the name of the ship they are on, and WDAS is Walt Disney Animation Studios. As for the 61? Well, Strange World is the 61st full-length feature film released by Walt Disney Animation Studios since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs back in 1937.

You can see this again when they are transforming the Venture into a crop duster and they are pulling out of crate of Pando aboard the ship.

The Atlas of the Strange World

It was widely publicized and evident when watching Strange World that it was inspired by Pulp comics of the early 20th century. Many point to a great transitional wipe in the movie as a hidden reference to Star Wars, but that movie was influenced by earlier films in the same genre, as well as spaghetti westerns. Moments in Strange World also feature 2D animation that also feature comic covers, with the branding Atlas Comics. Not to be confused with Avon Comics, who published a serial known as Strange Worlds in the 50s, Atlas Comics is also a real publisher, however, a story lengthy in its own right, you might now know the brand in which it has evolved into, Marvel Comics.

The Language of a Lost Continent

The very last shot of the film features the closing of a comic book. Nearby on the table reveals another book, and the cover is adorned in a mysterious language familiar to fans of 2001’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as it is Atlantean. Now, I was once able to read it pretty easily, thanks to synergistic software released circa the original film, but based on my shoddy memory and the amount of lettering on the cover of the book, I do believe it translates to “Atlantis: The Lost Empire.” On the table, you’ll also spot a metallic spyglass. While nothing in the details specifies or references a title in particular, it could very well be a reference to Treasure Planet, which was also produced by Strange World producer, Roy Conli. Speaking of Roy, you can also catch his name as one of the authors of the comic.

A Hall Of Easter Eggs

Strange World is directed by Don Hall, along with Qui Nguyen, who previously co-wrote Raya and the Last Dragon. As such, there are plenty of nods and hidden items that reference Hall’s career at Walt Disney Animation Studios. He served as director on Winnie The Pooh, Big Hero 6, Raya and the Last Dragon, Strange World, and has had his hand in nearly every production in some way since 1998’s Mulan.

DH Comics

The first example is not quite a reference to a previous film, but the filmmaker himself. Similar to Atlas comics as seen at the beginning of the film, the film wraps with the closing of a comic book that features a “DH” Logo in the top left corner. DH refers to the film’s director, Don Hall.


In Hall’s recent hit film, Raya and the Last Dragon, maps of the kingdom of Kumandra and its five realms are heavily featured. Fans will recall a distinct style that appears to have been carried over to the map of Avalonia featured on the back wall of the cockpit in the Venture.

Fans may also notice the river near Clade Farms also has a distinct shape (on a smaller scale) to that of the river that divided Kumandra, though there is never a stagnant moment long enough to confirm. Rumor also has it that Raya’s faithful…creature, Tuk Tuk, is hidden somewhere in the film, but I have yet to spot him personally.

Charged to the Max

As the group enters the Strange World, they get separated. When the Clades have been reunited and are back aboard the Venture, Searcher can be seen with a member of the ship’s crew examining the Pando. While all eyes are on the study, take a look on the shelf in the upper left corner of the screen, and you can see what appears to be Baymax’s charging station. Too bad nobody is activating everyone’s favorite robot healthcare companion, as we’re sure he’d have a lot to say, likely revealing more of the story than necessary at this point.

Winnie The Pooh

The first film Hall helmed was 2011’s Winnie The Pooh, which featured a giant creature with a tail, a hide like a shaggy rug, and a face that was a surely ugly mug with two sharp horns atop his head in between a mop of hair that’s red. That’s right! The Backson! And you can spot him if you stay through the end credits. As you see sketches of Strange World creatures alongside those who contributed to the film, a sketch of the Backson, as depicted in Winnie the Pooh will scroll by. But, that’s not the only thing to be rewarded with if you pay attention…

Wish Upon A Star

A tradition at Pixar Animation Studios where an Easter Egg is planted for the next animated feature to be released by the studio has been picked up by Walt Disney Animation Studios in some of the more recent features. The next film from the studio is slated to be Wish, announced at the recent D23 Expo in the fall. During the announcement, we were treated to music and art from the new film, including a new character just named “Star.” As the credits come to a close, one of the last sketches of the Strange World creatures we see is actually Star, blending in and heralding the arrival of the 62nd animated feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Wish.

You can look for these Easter Eggs, Nods, and more when you watch Strange World, now streaming on Disney+, digital platforms, and a physical media release in February.

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Tony Betti
Originally from California where he studied a dying artform (hand-drawn animation), Tony has spent most of his adult life in the theme parks of Orlando. When he’s not writing for LP, he’s usually watching and studying something animated or arguing about “the good ole’ days” at the parks.