Finding Nemo Ending Explained (2024)


  • Finding Nemo is praised for its storytelling, animation, humor, and emotional narrative, making it one of Pixar's best feature films.
  • Marlin's journey to find his son Nemo helps him grow and realize the importance of not smothering him and shielding him from the world.
  • The sequel, Finding Dory, focuses on Dory's backstory and her search for her family, expanding on the character development from the original film.

Finding Nemo is undoubtedly one of Pixar's best feature films, thanks to its unique storytelling, emotional narrative, humor, voice performances, animation, and more. The 2003 animated comedy-drama adventure movie tells the story of a father and son and the risks one would be willing to take to save their child. Like most Pixar films, Finding Nemo began with a tragedy — Marlin, a clownfish living in the Great Barrier Reef, and his partner, Pearl, were waiting for their eggs to hatch when a barracuda attacked, killing Pearl and all the babies except for one, Nemo. From that day on, it was just Marlin and Nemo.

Given the trauma that Marlin experienced, he became the very definition of a helicopter parent while raising Nemo. When he finally let him attend school, Nemo was kidnapped by a human diver, who took the young clownfish back to his dental office and placed him in a tank with his other fish. Marlin, accompanied by his new friend Dory, swam across the ocean to find his son, and he was ultimately successful. Marlin and Nemo returned to their home in the Great Barrier Reef, and all was well, but the journey to the ending in the 2003 Pixar movie was quite treacherous.

How Marlin Was Finally Reunited With Nemo

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As mentioned, Marlin immediately swam after the boat that took his child in Finding Nemo. However, he was just a clownfish and couldn't keep up with the vessel, so he eventually lost it. Marlin asked other fish nearby if they had seen a boat, and he came across a blue tang named Dory. Dory helped him travel in the direction of the vehicle, and together, they set out on an adventure to rescue Nemo. The duo found the diver's goggles, which had an address written on them (P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney), and that helped them locate Marlin's son.

Once Marlin and Dory arrived at the dentist's office (while in the mouth of a pelican named Nigel), they saw Nemo floating upside down in a plastic bag full of water. Nemo was playing dead so he could be flushed down the toilet and return to the ocean, but Marlin thought he had truly lost his son. Marlin and Dory returned to the water, where Marlin, in mourning, rejected Dory and left her to go back home. However, Nemo completed his mission and found his way to the ocean, where he ran into Dory. Nemo and Dory found Marlin, and after one fishing boat mishap, the trio swam back to the Great Barrier Reef and rested easy.


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Marlin Found More Than He Was Looking For

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Of course, there was more to the story in Finding Nemo than just "Father loses son. Father finds son. Father and son live happily ever after." Along the way, Marlin grew and adapted his way of thinking concerning how to raise Nemo. He began the Pixar animated film as a strict parent who wanted to keep his son as close as possible to ensure that nothing horrible happened to him.

Marlin's journey with Dory helped him understand that shielding Nemo from the world wasn't healthy for Nemo or his relationship with his son. Marlin became more confident and trusting of Nemo, as witnessed at Finding Nemo's end, and he found a friend his age who could help him look after Nemo.

Are Marlin & Dory Together At The End Of Finding Nemo?

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Marlin and Dory's dynamic is one of the highlights of Finding Nemo, but their relationship never progressed past the friendship stage. They developed a deep trust in one another, and Dory felt as if she had finally found a home in Marlin. At the end of the Pixar animated movie, Dory joined Marlin and Nemo in returning to the Great Barrier Reef, and Dory pledged to help her new friend raise his son.

How Finding Nemo Foreshadows The Sequel

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It took 13 years, but Pixar finally released a sequel to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, in June 2016. The movie picked up where the 2003 film left off, with Marlin, Dory, and Nemo living together in the Great Barrier Reef. However, unlike the first animated picture, the sequel focused on Dory and her backstory. Finding Nemo did little to inform viewers about where Dory came from and who her family was. The only bit of information that the movie revealed was that Dory had short-term memory loss, which meant that she couldn't remember her parents. Additionally, Dory's ability to talk with whales was explained in the sequel.


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What Happens To The Tank Gang

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Aside from his father and Dory, Nemo's biggest allies in Finding Nemo were the Tank Gang (Gill, Deb, Bloat, Peach, Bubbles, Gurgle, and Jacques) at the dentist's office. They were all so welcoming of Nemo and helped him hatch a plan to escape and return to the ocean. So it was only right that they could have a chance to be free, too. The fish formed a similar scheme to the one they used to help Nemo break free (dirty the tank, get put in bags, and roll out the window and into the ocean).

However, as witnessed in the final scene of Finding Nemo, their plan was flawed since they were stuck in the bags once they got to the water. Unfortunately, the movie ended there, and fans didn't learn what happened to Gill, Deb, Bloat, Peach, Bubbles, Gurgle, and Jacques until Finding Dory. The sequel's post-credits scene revealed that the Tank Gang had found their way to California with their bags still intact. Marine Life Institute workers retrieved them and assumingly took them to the aquarium.

Finding Nemo's Post-Credits Scene Explained

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Finding Nemo contains a minuscule post-credits scene, which only lasts a few seconds. After the credits finish rolling, a small fish is in dark waters and looks around, evidently anxious. An anglerfish slowly approaches the tiny fish, and viewers assume this is the end of the line for the small guy. But in a sudden turn of events, the little fish eats the bigger fish.

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One interesting tidbit from Finding Nemo's ending is that it shared one thing in common with another Pixar film, A Bug's Life. Both movies, which were co-written by Andrew Stanton, featured a title screen that read "The End" when the film concluded. Not every Pixar project uses titles to indicate that the movie is over, but Finding Nemo and A Bug's Life were the exceptions.

Who Is Glenn McQueen & Why Is Finding Nemo Dedicated To Him?

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After the screen showed "The End" in Finding Nemo, another title popped up that read, "for Glenn McQueen 1960 - 2002." The 2003 Pixar animated feature film was dedicated to McQueen, an animator at the computer animation studio. McQueen worked on Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, and Monsters, Inc. during his time with the company, and Pixar later named the Cars character Lightning McQueen after him.


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The Real Meaning Of Finding Nemo's Ending

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The father-and-son relationship between Marlin and Nemo was at the heart of Finding Nemo's story, and the ending paid tribute to that goal. The entire arc of the 2003 animated film was Marlin's development as a parent and how he learned to trust Nemo, even if it went against everything he believed after he suffered tremendous trauma. By the end of Finding Nemo, Marlin, through his experiences swimming across the ocean to find his son and his burgeoning friendship with Dory, finally figured out how to hold Nemo close without smothering him and shielding him from the world.

Finding Nemo Ending Explained (2024)


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