Seeing this excerpt from Wall•E

Young kids learning

in Richard's answer to another Wall•E question I wondered how the kids came into being.

Surely they must have been conceived on the Axiom as humans have been confined to it for several generations by now.

However, considering that people don't seem to interact physically with each other and that their physique seems to prevent them from moving themselves, it looks like they would not be able to reproduce in the "natural way".

For me, this raises the question of how children are concieved on the Axiom. As this is a movie for kids I doubt that there will be explicit explanations but maybe there are some hints?

  • 20
    "There are fields, Wall•E, endless fields where human beings are no longer born...we are grown"
    – Valorum
    Mar 17, 2016 at 17:30
  • 9
    @Richard: I think there is a difference between fat people and people whose skeleton and muscles have degenerated over generations. After all, that was a plot point in the movie. Mar 17, 2016 at 20:33
  • Children's movies have adult easter eggs all the time. I'm guessing that the problem with finding info on this has more to do with it having very little relevance to the story.
    – Misha R
    Mar 19, 2016 at 7:20
  • It's also quite notable that everyone on the Axiom appears to be approximately the same age (somewhere between their 20s and 40s), except for a very small group of children aged between 1-4
    – Valorum
    Mar 19, 2016 at 23:45
  • “Well, @NobodyMovingAwayFromSE it’s like this. There are birds. There are bees. Oh, just take this book, and go to your room.” Jan 4, 2022 at 3:46

2 Answers 2


We don't know, but looking at it objectively leads to some deeply unpleasant conclusions

An extensive review of the film and its additional materials reveals no obvious way that humanity has been able to survive. The demographics are just weird (loads of adults of breeding age but almost no children?) which is great from a story-telling perspective, but almost impossible to justify from a worldbuilding POV.

We could solve these problems by simply having thousands of passengers and hundreds of children elsewhere on the ship (e.g. that we simply didn't happen to see) but we know from the script that this isn't the case when the entire passenger complement is summoned to the lido deck in the final sequence.

What we know

  • Based on the captain's portraits, a healthy human can live as to be as old as 130. It's likely that women in the future are capable of breeding from the ages of 15+ to around 70+, giving a total 'lifetime window of fertility' of some 55 years.

  • The total number of adults seen (in the final sequence where all of the passengers gather on the Lido Deck) is less than 15,000, down from an original complement of 600,000. We know from an earlier answer that Auto is probably turning any dead bodies into food. But wait, it gets worse.

  • The total number of children seen on screen is approximately 30. It should be closer to 700, even assuming you only want to keep the population stable at 15,000

  • Everyone on board appears to be aged between 20-40 years of age. There are no old people and no teens.

  • Even if pod-breeding was possible, it's highly unlikely that a cruise ship could be retro-fitted with the hundreds of pods that would be needed to maintain a stable population without massive internal changes, none of which are obvious in the ship's deck map.

Conclusions (look away now, not for the squeamish)

We know that the passengers enjoy virtual dating and it's not hard to imagine that a good virtual date would end with virtual sex, affording the ship the opportunity to impregnate the woman with a viable sample of the man's sperm.

MARY: Date?! (derisive snort) Don't get me started! Every holo-date I've been on has been a virtual disaster! If I could just meet one who wasn't so superficial. There are no good men out there!...

Alternatively, the women on the ship are simply impregnated at an appropriate moment (again, by robots) in waves, thus allowing the ship to repopulate itself periodically.

The reason that the passenger complement looks so odd is that we're looking at a quiet period where Auto is only breeding small numbers of humans, presumably to rebalance the number of male and female births from the last big fertility "wave" and replace any children that they've had to euthanise due to birth defects. Obviously anyone over breeding age is also worthless to the ship, and again it's likely that they've either been dumped overboard or mulched up into soylent-green-in-a-cup.

  • +1 Thanks for another very thorough answer Richard. I am sorry that this journey down the rabbit hole made you see Auto's real face, which is even more disturbing than what the captain found. Mar 20, 2016 at 20:40
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    ...Or they just tend to die of heart attacks by the age of 40.
    – Misha R
    Mar 21, 2016 at 7:58
  • 3
    @MishaRosnach - That's certainly possible. It would explain the presence of defibrillator-bots
    – Valorum
    Mar 21, 2016 at 10:24
  • Obesity and poor health also have negative effects on fertility. Jan 4, 2022 at 9:43

In my rigorous search of one exact hour, I can find no in-universe explanations for you. But then you didn't exactly expect any. There is plenty of fan speculation, but that's all it is, speculation.

I'll keep searching, fitfully, but I don't expect to find anything. In the meantime, there seem to be these choices:

  • Actual sex between Axiom passengers and crew, depending on their degree of degeneration.

  • Artificial insemination, either in a natural or artificial uterus.

  • Frozen embryos.

  • Cloning.

  • A deliberate omission or accidental oversight on Disney's part. We never thought anyone would notice!

  • Richard's explanation by way of The Matrix. Is there some Ingmar Bergman in there as well?

  • The stork.

I favor the stork. It has a cartoon pedigree, albeit on the Warner Brothers side of things.

enter image description here

  • What, are you discounting the Stork in Disney's Lambert the Sheepish Lion?
    – Broklynite
    Mar 19, 2016 at 11:57
  • @Broklynite - true dat. Mar 19, 2016 at 13:33

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