|Behind the Scenes|
Since Mal's death, Cobb has been separated from his two children, who have been in the custody of their maternal grandparents, Professor Miles and his ex-wife Marie. The younger child of the two, James, does not appear to understand that his mother is dead and inquires on whether she is with Cobb during Cobb's telephone call after the failed Saito extraction job.
The possibility of reuniting with James and Phillipa is what motivates him to undertake the assignment offered by Saito to implant an idea into Robert Fischer's mind in exchange for "one phone call" that will clear Dom's name. Throughout Inception, projections of James and Phillipa appear in Cobb's dreams as he recalls them before their separation, reflecting his desire to reunite with them, as well as in the memories of his family during happier times.
Neither James nor Phillipa appear in reality until the very end of the film, when Cobb is finally reunited with them in their home in California.