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Cameos, in-jokes, re-used animation and other trivia from Monsters University.
- A113 is the number of the classroom where Scaring 101 is given.
- The Easter egg to 2015's Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur appears in a Scare Simulator: on the floor of those fake bedrooms, stuffed toys of dinosaurs can be seen.
- The famous Wilhelm scream is heard when Mike Wazowski runs over a student while driving the floor waxer carelessly.
References to Monsters, Inc.
- The beginning of the teaser trailer makes a nod to both Monsters, Inc.'s teaser trailer and the film's opening scene, using similar shot techniques and narration.
- When the scarers of Monsters, Inc. are first introduced entering the Scare Floor, the same shots and music as in Monsters, Inc. are used.
- Like for Monsters, Inc., the title card is accompanied with an animation sequence; it even reuses some elements from that of the first film.
- Mike takes a picture for his ID card, in which half of his face is cut off. After he sees the picture, he exclaims "I can't believe it. I'm officially a college student!", a reference to when Mike's face is covered by the logo of Monsters, Inc. in a commercial, in the first film, and he exclaims a similar line.
- Randall has a poster in his and Mike's room that reads "Winds of Change: Shhh. Do you hear that?", which is a reference to one of his lines in the first movie.
- When Sulley warns Mike that Archie the Scare Pig is a biter, Mike makes the same scream made in the first film when Roz closes her office shutters on Mike's hands, and when Baby Smitty bites Mike's hand.
- Some of the exercises Mike gives to the OKs mirror the morning exercises he made Sulley follow at the beginning of Monsters, Inc., like using a broom adorned with a drawing of a human head to simulate a child, and have Sulley jump and roar (in a way reminiscent of a push-up).
- While Oozma Kappa is chased by the Monsters, Inc. guards, the same music that plays in the first film, when Sulley notices one of the lamps as part of Boo's disguise in the trash compactor, is reused.
- When Mike goes to the school's door lab to prove that he really can scare a human child, he discreetly steals an I.D. card from a student leaving the door lab. This is reminiscent of the scene in Monsters, Inc. when he again steals another monster's door card in order to find a random door to put Boo in.
- Dean Hardscrabble scolding Sulley that his roar would make a child with a fear of snakes cry instead of scream and not only produce no scream energy, but would also tell his/her parents and therefore endanger the monster world foreshadows the fact that Sulley accidentally scaring Boo and making her cry before Waternoose banishes both him and Mike to the Himalayas caused him to realize that scaring is bad, and the fact that Boo was seriously afraid of Randall, a reptilian monster.
- Also, Hardscabble claims that a child crying produces no energy. However, when Boo cries in Sulley and Mike's apartment after Mike takes his Little Mikey teddy away, she did produce energy, which caused the lights to flare. However, it could be that the Monsters University staff thought it wouldn't.
- When Hardscrabble sees Sulley go into the door leading to the girls' cabin to save Mike Wazowski from several human policemen by roaring at them she yells, "Don't go in there!" The exact same line was said by Waternoose at the end of the original film when Sulley and Boo trick him into exposing his evil plans and being arrested by the CDA by luring him into the scare simulation room.
- Just right before scaring said policemen, Mike tries to open the cabin's closet door only to find it depowered by Hardscrabble, and starts slamming it repeatedly, similar to how Sulley was slamming on the door Waternoose used to banish both him and Mike to the Himalayas repeatedly before meeting the Yeti. The slamming of the door after banishment appears to symbolize the separation of the film series' protagonists from their goals: Mike from becoming a scarer, and Sulley from rescuing Boo. (It should also be noted that the real reason why they did not try scaring very hard on the other side to power up the door in the Human World in the original film again was because Waternoose purposely banished them to a region in the human world where there are no humans present, and therefore, the only way for them to go back is to borrow an already-activated closet door.)
- The scoreboard above the scare simulators during the final Scare Games event makes the same beeping sound as the Scarers' Leaderboard in the original film (ironically, the Scarers' Leaderboard in this film makes a mechanical clacking sound due to it being a split-flap display similar to a railway station timetable) as well as one of the dings from the Scream Canisters.
- In the teaser trailer, the snake monster from the intro of Monsters, Inc. appears on a poster to the right of Mike's room.
- When Sulley beats Randall in the final round of the Scare Games, Randall says "That's the last time I lose to you, Sullivan." This explains the start of their rivalry in their later job.
- Also, in the first film, after Randall hits Sulley with a scream canister, he exclaims "You don't know how long I've wanted to do that, Sullivan!", possibly as revenge for being humiliated at the Scare Games.
- During Roz' cameo, she says her famous line from the first film, "Always watching."
- Mike's MU baseball cap is somewhat a replacement for his Monsters, Inc. helmet in the first film. It should also be noted that after Mike and Sulley escape from the human world, his hat is burnt to a crisp in the explosion. This symbolizes that his time in MU is over, an he is ready to start a new life in Monsters, Inc., wearing a new symbol, his helmet.
- When Mike tells Randall that he should get rid of his glasses to help his disappearing effect, Randall does so and is forced to squint like in the first film.
- When Randall accidentally kidnaps Mike and is about to interrogate him with the Scream Extractor, he most likely captured him out of his poor eyesight.
- Some of the scarers working at Monsters, Inc. resemble Mike and Sulley's eventual co-workers: for example, Jerry Jablonski=Noodles Rivera, Rufus Remerez=Ricky Plesuski, Dorothy Newbern=Bud Luckey, Clive Carver=Spike Jones, etc.
- Throughout the first film, it's heavily implied that Mike and Sulley were expelled from college, as they were interacting with even the lowest-ranked employees like Needleman and Smitty. This was confirmed in this film.
- Mike makes Sulley get up at about 6 a.m. to work out in both movies (although Mike wakes Sulley up at 6:05 a.m. in Monsters, Inc.).
- When Mike sees Sulley come in his room through the window, he makes the same scream in the first film when Boo sneezes on his eye.
- When Sulley sees Mike sitting at the lake in the Human World, one of the same recordings of Sulley's line "Mike?" is used when he searches for Mike, who was captured by Randall, near the lab's entrance.
- If time passes the same in the Monster World as in ours, given the fact that the title school was founded in 1313, then Monsters, Inc. takes place in 2001. And if 10 years is between Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, then Monsters University takes place in the 1990s.
- Mike's initial fear of Boo in the original film was likely the result of him still being traumatized by his experience in the summer camp near the end of this film.
- The villains of both films, Henry J. Waternoose III and Johnny Worthington III, both have a last name that starts with a "W", and have names that end with a "III" (third).
- Throughout the original film, even though Sulley is the protagonist and Mike is the deuteragonist, Mike claims that he is the hero and Sulley is the sidekick. In University, Mike is the protagonist, and the deuteragonist is now Sulley.
- The door leading to the summer camp resembles either the door leading to the yodeler's chalet, the door leading to the Sherpa village in Nepal allowing Sulley to escape the Himalayas to save Boo from Waternoose, or the door leading to the trailer home in Louisiana to dispose of Randall.
- Some of the backgrounds cars are derived from Cars 2 characters. For instance, monster-stylized AMC Pacers can be spotted in several scenes. The PNKs are notably seen onboard a pink convertible model when they invite the OKs to a party. Some of these Pacers are painted in a blue color that matches that of the die-cast version of Petey Pacer. Additionally, cars based on the Zündapp Janus can be spotted, as well as cars based on the body of the lemons, Fred and Otis.
- The Pizza Planet Truck appears next to the JOX's house at the party.
- The Luxo Ball appears drawn on the wall in the toxicity challenge to demonstrate how children toys are toxic.
- Roz makes an appearance as Agent #001.
- When Professor Knight was showing what the kid look that was "scaring" on the final exam, it looks like one the kids from Toy Story 3. It is now known that this kid is afraid of spiders and Santa.
- In the OK's basement, there is a picture of a car that resembles Mike's car from Mike's New Car. Also, another picture of the car is seen in Mike's locker at the end.
- Mr. Waternoose and Celia are seen on pictures in Mike's locker at Monsters, Inc.
- The Scuba Diver from Partysaurus Rex is seen in the scare simulator when Mike goes in.
- This is Pixar's first prequel.
- Monsters, Inc. is the third Pixar film to become a franchise, after Toy Story and Cars.
- Monsters University is the fourth Pixar film to have a post credits sequence, after Finding Nemo, Cars, and Brave.
- Monsters University is also the second Pixar sequel or prequel that isn't based on Pixar's first movie Toy Story, after Cars 2, although Mike and Sulley's rivalry in MU is seen similar to Buzz and Woody's rivalry in Toy Story.
- Each background character was named after a Monsters University production member and each member is credited for the shots in which their character appears.
- The technology of monsters in the film appears to be older than that in Monsters, Inc., which emphasize on the fact Monsters University takes place some time before the first film, possibly 10 years. For example, door supports are larger, more bulky and complicate in appearance, Monsters, Inc.'s leaderboard is made of a table rather than TV screens, and Scare simulators are much less realistic, with rather crude crash test dummies-style children animatronics.
- When Mike receives the Scare Games trophy, the music has a resemblance to the A Bug's Life opening theme.
- The Greek alphabet depicted in this film is Argma (A), Gamma (G), Slugma (E), Theta (O), Eta (H), Howl (H), Kappa (K), Nu (N), Oozma (O), Python (P), Roar (R), Hiss (S), Phi (O), Chi (X) and Omega (O). Of the 15 letters, only Gamma, Theta, Eta, Kappa, Nu, Phi, Chi and Omega are real.
- Both Eta and Howl are represented by an "H", which adds to confusion.
- Argma, Slugma, Oozma and Python's symbols resemble Lambda, Sigma, Omicron and Rho, respectively.
- The song that plays at the end of the teaser trailer is True, by Spandau Ballet.
- According to story supervisor Kelsey Mann, they produced 227,246 storyboard drawings, the most of any Pixar film to date.
- The first major rewrite of Pixar's hair and cloth simulation software occurred for Monsters University. This software was first introduced on Monsters, Inc., where it was used to simulate a single garment, Boo's shirt. In Monsters University, 127 garments were simulated.
- The new Global Illumination software Pixar introduced on this film required a doubling in size of their render farm.
- It took over 100 million CPU hours to render the entire film. Each frame took an average of 29 hours to render.
- There are over 400 different characters and at least 100 different monster "races" seen in the film. On average, there are 25 characters in every shot (previously there was an average of 10 characters in a shot).
- Mike, Sulley and Randall Boggs are the only three monsters from the original film to have big roles in the prequel.
- This is the fourth Pixar film to feature a post-credits scene (also known as a stinger or a "monk's reward") at the end of the film, after Finding Nemo, Cars, and Brave.
- In the US release, the cupcakes that Randy shows Mike say: "Be My Pal". In the UK release, they have faces on them.
- Mike talking about him being a stable boy and Sulley a princess in his sleep is a likely reference to The Princess Bride, which starred Wallace Shawn, where Billy Crystal was cast as a pirate.
- For some reason, the scarers in this film do not return in Inc. However, given the fact that the original film took place during an energy crisis, it's implied that the scarers in University either retired or got laid off at some point between the two films.
- Conversely, the scarers in Inc. do not return in University, implying that they may have attended a different school such as Fear Tech, some other university, are too young to have been in college at the same time as Mike and Sulley, or may have been employed through the scare try-outs, like Mike and Sulley.
- When Mike raised his hand to say "A clown running in the dark," his fingers show the same shape as the Vulcan salute from Star Trek.
- This is the second Pixar film to have the word "lame", after Ratatouille.
- This is the only 2013 film to be G-rated.
- When Mike is training the OK team, he says, "If you walk by the door, you have to become the door." Steven Segal as Casey Ryback says virtually the same line in Under Siege: "You walk by a hatch and you see the enemy, you become the hatch."
- When Mike makes Sulley do push-ups in the rain, this is a reference to Richard Gere in the movie An Officer and a Gentleman when his character has to do push-ups while the sergeant sprays water on him.
- This is the third Pixar film to begin when the main character was a child, the first being Up, the second being Brave.
- There are at least 127 different garments (Mike Wazowski's hat, Sulley's T-shirt, Don Carlton's T-shirt and glasses, Terri and Terry's turtleneck, Squishy's sweater, Art's armbands, Roar Omega Roar's jackets, etc.) worn in the film.
- In the original film, Mike says Sulley has been "jealous of his good lucks since the third grade." This is a plothole as Mike and Sulley do not meet until college.
- The human world is noticeably portrayed as being completely dark, dreary and minimalistic (aside from the flashing lights on the rangers' trucks), as opposed to the bright and colorful appearance of the monster world. This is probably due to the fact that the human world's bleak appearance is the result of how exactly monsters view humans.
- When the green monster comes on to the simulator in the Scare Final, he is the height of the simulator, but when he scares, he is half his original size.