What Happened to Russell’s Dad in ‘Up’? Fans May Have Identified Him

You'll never watch 'Up' the same again after learning about this fan theory that tries to identify Russell's dad.

Sarah Kester - Author

Apr. 17 2024, Published 10:16 p.m. ET

Carl and Russell riding on Kevin in 'Up'
Source: Disney/Pixar

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Russell's father in the beloved Pixar movie Up. Although he doesn’t appear in the film, some details about his life are shared, such as why he's divorced from Russell’s mom. He also has a girlfriend named Phyllis.

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Russell’s dad may be labeled an “absent father” in the film, but he might not be as absent as fans may think. According to a resurfaced viral theory, fans may have finally identified him as a character in the film. Keep reading to learn who fans think is Russell's dad in Up.

What is 'Up' about?

Up is a Pixar-animated film about a 78-year-old balloon salesman named Carl who’s mourning the loss of his late wife, Ellie. To fulfill his dream of moving to South America, he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away.

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What hHappened to Russell’s dad in ‘Up’?

According to a resurfaced viral theory, Russell’s dad is the construction supervisor who's shown at the beginning of the film.

This theory was shared by Reddit user newfoundtheorist on the subreddit Fan Theories.

“I was recently watching Up and during Russell's introduction in the movie, I had a strange thought,” the user began their post. “As far as I know, his father has always been a sort of mystery (as in nobody knows for sure who he is) so I began to kinda wonder who it could be."

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They continued, "After a few minutes of pondering this in my head, an idea struck. Russell's father is none other than the Construction Supervisor himself! (or at least I think so).”

The Reddit user did some research to see if their theory holds up. First, they looked at the genetics to see if Russell and the construction supervisor may be related.

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"They both have the same color hair, both have attached ear lobes, and the eye color can't really be seen as the construction supervisor wears glasses,” they wrote.

One hiccup was ethnicity since Russell is assumed to be Asian and the construction supervisor is white. But they explained that Russell may get his Asian heritage from his mom.

There are some clues about Russell's dad in the film.

“Being a construction supervisor is a very demanding job I imagine so that matches up with Russell telling Carl that his dad used to spend a lot of time with him,” they wrote. By this logic, they believe that getting promoted to supervisor has taken up a lot of his dad’s time.

Another clue is the GPS Russell says his father bought for him. “I can’t imaging it being very cheap so it makes perfect since that the father, being busy all the time, would buy him this expensive gadget,” they explained.

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If Russell's dad got promoted, he would have extra money to buy his son something to make up for the guilt he has over being busy. His dad's girlfriend Phyllis always tells him to stop bugging his dad whenever he calls.

The theory that Russell’s dad is the construction supervisor was a plausible theory on the thread. Other Redditors even shared their evidence to support the poster’s claims.

“This would also explain why Russell was so adamant about helping Carl Fredrickson," a deleted user commented.

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"As it means that Carl's house being in the construction site is a means to be near his father, even if he happens to just be working," they explained.

“Carl is the only residential person in that neighborhood, refusing to sell his home, as well as an elderly man so that Russell could get his badge, this is a viable excuse for Russell to both be there and why it was an aggressive attempt to help Carl Fredrickson,” they continued.

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Another user pointed out that the construction supervisor isn't wearing a wedding ring.

Since Russell’s dad isn't married to Phyllis, this is further proof that the theory is correct. What do you think about the theory? Could the construction supervisor be Russell’s dad?

A third user had an entirely different theory on who Russell’s dad is. They pondered whether he’s away in the military. To support their claim, they pointed out the dad’s survival skills, his absence from deployments, how Russell bothers his father while he’s overseas, and how military stress can cause some couples to divorce.

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