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Inside Out 2 Post-Credits Scene Explained: What Is Riley's Big Dark Secret?

Much like it does in 2015's "Inside Out," the ending of "Inside Out 2" sees the emotions in Riley's (Kensington Tallman) head learn to coexist with some feelings that aren't always so pleasant. This time around, Joy (Amy Poehler) comes to terms with Riley's manifesting Anxiety (Maya Hawke) as Riley discovers a new sense of self, setting her up for future happiness (and sadness and fear and everything else). But for those who stick around the credits, there's a special and amusing surprise waiting for them. 

Earlier in the film, the main five emotions are locked up with some repressed thoughts, including Riley's Deep Dark Secret (Steve Purcell). At the moment, it's not revealed what this secret is, but the post-credits scene of "Inside Out 2" sheds light on it. So what is Riley's big dark secret? Joy goes back to see the big guy, who states how Riley once burned a hole in a rug. Joy finds this amusing, as she was certain it would've been the time Riley peed in the pool, which seems to make Deep Dark Secret even more depressed.

It's an amusing joke to end the film on. After all, Riley's a 13-year-old girl, so it makes sense what she would perceive to be a dark secret is something fairly innocuous. Looper's review of "Inside Out 2" praised the movie's heart and humor, so after seeing Riley experience a panic attack, ending the film on a lighter note is a good move to make. 

Some fans assumed Riley's big dark secret was something else

The post-credits scene for "Inside Out 2" may have been disappointing for some who assumed it would be used to confirm an "Inside Out" fan theory. This posits that Riley is LGBTQ+, perhaps genderfluid or non-binary, due to how the emotions in her head are voiced by a mix of female and male actors whereas most other people's emotions are one gender. Going further, Redditor u/Agreeable-Writing166 theorized for the sequel that Riley's deep dark secret was that she's gay. That didn't end up happening, but it doesn't close the door to it being explored later.

Some hate noted how Riley is obsessed with an older girl, Val Ortiz (Lilimar), in "Inside Out 2." One interpretation is that it borders on romantic feelings, but she could also just want to make a good impression on a popular girl. However, the movie also shares how Riley harbors a crush on a male video game character named Lance Slashblade (Yong Yea), and there's also a 2015 Pixar short called "Riley's First Date?" where she (sort of) goes out with a boy. Granted, Riley could always be bisexual, or she's lesbian but going through the motions of heterosexuality due to societal pressures. 

For the time being, Riley's sexuality hasn't been confirmed, and that's okay. "Inside Out 2" has blown everyone away at the box office, making the proposition of "Inside Out 3" all the more enticing that could continue to explore Riley going through puberty and figuring out who she is. Besides, it's probably for the best if Riley's sexuality isn't first presented as a "big dark secret" she's ashamed of but simply an extension of who she is.