Chances are you've seen the box office juggernaut Finding Dory by now. But if you haven't, you may be wondering about the veracity of a particularly persistent rumor claiming that the titular blue fish bites the dust before the movie's end. "Dory dies" is one of the first search terms to pop up on Google when typing in "Dory." So, could it possibly be true? Does Dory die in Finding Dory?
Spoiler Alert (but also not really because, come on, she's the protagonist of a comedy for children): No, Dory does not die. She gets the happy ending audiences would expect for a plucky fish voiced by Ellen Degeneres. Dory is such a fan favorite that if Disney/Pixar had killed her, the studio might also have killed its own box office future.
And furthermore, though Dory does get into some of the peril typical of Pixar protagonists (getting chased by various terrifying ocean creatures, careening across the highway in a truck driven by an octopus like you do), there are never any moments where she legitimately seems like she might die. Certainly nothing in Finding Dory comes close to the furnace scene at the dump in Toy Story 3 where (spoiler alert again, but if you haven't seen Toy Story 3 by now you need to stop reading this article and watch it immediately) I actually believed that all the main characters were going to be incinerated while holding hands and bravely accepting their mortality.
To be fair, Pixar has done some dark stuff in the past. Anyone who doubts that just needs to watch the first ten minutes of Up, or remember that Wall-E is about human beings destroying the earth with trash before fleeing and leaving one solitary robot amongst the rotting remains. So if any major children's studio was going to kill off a protagonist, I suppose it would be Disney/Pixar.
In children's movies, death is the domain of the villains, the parents (how many Disney movies can you name where the protagonist has both parents alive throughout the whole film?), and in extremely rare cases, the lovable-but-not-essential sidekick. But killing off the main character would be a huge risk, and though it's adorable and fun (and treats characters with disabilities with a new thoughtfulness), Finding Dory is never going to be considered the most innovative of Pixar movies. Also, HOW COULD YOU KILL THIS FISH??
So if you've been hesitant to take your little ones to the movie because you're afraid they wouldn't be able to handle the loss of Dory, or if you've resisted because you need to protect your own fragile heart, don't worry.
Dory just keeps swimming.