The Hidden Emotion That Almost Ruined Inside Out

The creators of Inside Out picked five emotions to bring to life in order to help tell Riley's (Kaitlyn Dias) coming of age story, but an emotion that remained hidden in the final cut, Gloom, was nearly personified as well, and it could have ruined the movie. With many comparing Inside Out to Pixar's Soul, the 2015 blockbuster includes Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and focuses on their growth in understanding themselves and each other, and consequently, Riley must work through these evolving emotions as she deals with a challenging time of change in her life. The movie features lots of unique characters who represent feelings that are often hard to describe with words, and personifying such complicated emotions resonated with young and old viewers alike.


Riley, a young girl growing up in Minnesota, finds that her whole world is about to be turned upside down when her family moves to California for her dad's new job. The five personified emotions inside her don't exactly know what to think of the situation, and Sadness begins behaving rather oddly in a way she can't explain. While the Pixar movie includes imaginary friends, like Bing-Bong and a whole production crew that acts out Riley's dreams, there are also implied feelings that aren't personified, but instead are hidden in the narrative.

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When Inside Out was in the initial planning stages, the creators needed to narrow down their list of 27 emotions to just a few, and one of the emotions that didn't get personified was Gloom. The character was actually meant to be a sort of villain, but as the story unfolded, Gloom was starting to sound like depression. With the writers not wanting to get into a clinical diagnosis and suggesting that depression was just a villain that could be beaten like other, more traditional villains in Disney movies, personifying the emotion was abandoned, but the idea remained hidden in the final cut, and that decision made the movie more sensitive and relatable.

Inside Out's Sadness On A Cloud

When Riley's family arrives in California, Sadness begins to act a little oddly, touching a yellow, joyful memory and turning it blue. Joy tries to contain Sadness in a little circle she draws on the floor. Eventually, with sad emotions becoming overwhelming for the young girl, her personality islands turn gray and collapse, and even the control panel in headquarters turns gray, becoming harder and harder to use. Concept art of Gloom portrayed the emotion as a gray and black character, which can be seen represented in the colors that her personality islands and control panel turns. Rather than including a personified version, the Pixar movie broke tradition and made the villain more metaphorical, giving viewers space to interpret what Riley and Sadness were feeling in a way that was meaningful for them.

Pixar has been tackling the portrayal of difficult emotions for years now, but the sensitivity with which the creators of Inside Out approached the subject in Riley's story shows that they really had a handle on how the movie would affect audiences. By not including Gloom, what was originally supposed to be a villain, they have acknowledged that the very emotions they were trying to represent were not so simple, and that is what made the story more relatable. Pixar's spin on the traditional movie villain, focusing on emotions, is a refreshing approach and one that resonates with viewers on a much more personal level than any scary, unrealistic dark villain ever could.