Ellie was Carl's childhood sweetheart and wife. Her idol (along with Carl) was Charles F. Muntz. Her life with Carl and subsequent death were what inspired Carl to embark on his adventure in the film.
In her youth (age 8), Ellie met Carl (who was 9) and they instantly became best friends; she passionately shared with him her dreams of travelling to South America, along with her desire to move her clubhouse -- an abandoned house in the neighborhood -- to a cliff overlooking Paradise Falls, making Carl promise to help her; a moment that left a deep and lasting impression on him.
Adult LifeYears later, Ellie and Carl (as young adults) married each other and decided to turn her old clubhouse into their new home, then became employees of the local zoo (a zookeeper and a balloon salesman respectively). Their marriage was a happy and loving one, and they looked forward to starting a family together. Alas, Ellie learned that she was infertile and could no longer have children; the tragedy broke her heart. Carl then showed Ellie her old Adventure Book to remind her of the childhood promise that brought them together, quickly bringing her out of her depression. Over the intervening years they made several attempts to save up for the trip, but other pressing needs in their lives forced them to keep spending their earnings.
Ellie eventually forgot about the promise as her and Carl's marriage continued to flourish blissfully into old age. Then one day while out on another picnic with her husband (who was planning to surprise her with the plane tickets he had bought), she collapsed from illness and became hospitalized. Before passing away, she gave Carl her old Adventure Book, but she was unable to tell him of its true meaning (possibly due to infirmity). Her funeral was held in the same church where she and Carl had their wedding.
Unbeknownst to her husband, Ellie had added photos of their happy life together in the Adventure Book and a final message saying: "Thanks for the adventure - now go have a new one!" It is only near the end of the film - after mourning her for several years - does Carl finally come across the new content, reinvigorating him at last.
- Ellie has full speaking lines during her childhood years, but has no dialogue in her depicted adult years.
- Ellie's name is based off her voice actor, Elie Docter, Pete Docter's daughter.
- In Toy Story 3, a signature of Carl and Ellie Fredricksen was seen in Andy's room.
- Ellie has her own musical theme composed by Michael Giacchino that's first heard when she and Carl meet as children and plays several times throughout Up after her death, particularly when Carl gets the house up in the air with the balloons and during the climactic battle between Carl and Muntz as it plays against Muntz's theme.
- The balloon with a stick, which is the same one that Carl got, resembles the balloon (nicknamed "Balloon") from the Winnie the Pooh franchise.