Onward - Tom Holland Archives Tom Holland Archives


Character: Ian Lightfoot
Directed by: Dan Scanlon
Written by: Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin
Produced by: Kori Rae
Other cast: Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer
Release date: 6 March 2020
Premiere date: 21 February 2020
Genre: Fantasy
Running time: 102 minutes

Two elven brothers embark on a quest to bring their father back for one day.


In a world inhabited by mythical creatures, magic was commonplace several millennia ago, though difficult to master. After technological advances over the centuries, magic became obsolete and was largely discarded.

In the modern day, two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, live in the city of New Mushroomton. Ian, the younger of the two, is a high-school student lacking self-confidence, and Barley is an enthusiastic, impulsive history and RPG fan. Their father Wilden died of a severe illness shortly before Ian was born, and their mother Laurel has a new boyfriend, centaur police officer Colt Bronco, whom Ian and Barley dislike.

On Ian’s sixteenth birthday, Laurel gives her sons a gift from Wilden: a magical staff, a rare Phoenix gem, and a letter describing a “visitation spell” that can resurrect their father for a single day. Ian accidentally succeeds in casting the spell, but only the lower half of Wilden’s body is reformed before the gem disintegrates. The brothers embark on a quest to acquire another gem and complete the spell, taking Barley’s beloved van “Guinevere”. Finding the boys gone, Laurel leaves to look for them.

Ian and Barley visit the Manticore’s Tavern, named for a monster possessing a map to the gem. The tavern has become a family restaurant managed by the Manticore (“Corey” for short). While arguing with Ian over the map, Corey realizes how boring her life has become and drives the customers away in a fit of insanity, accidentally setting fire to the restaurant and the map. The brothers’ only clue to the gem is a children’s menu suggesting “Raven’s Point”, a nearby mountain. Laurel later arrives at the scene and befriends Corey, who agrees to help her. Corey warns Laurel that the brothers’ journey may awaken a curse that can only be defeated by her sword, which she and Laurel steal from a pawn shop.

Traveling to the mountains, Ian and Barley narrowly escape the police and a motorcycle gang of pixies,[7] relying on Ian’s newly awakened spell-casting abilities and Barley’s RPG instincts. “Raven’s Point” leads them on a trail indicated by a series of raven statues, but Colt follows them, calling in reinforcements. After coming to a dead end, Barley sacrifices Guinevere to cause a landslide, blocking their pursuers. Following the statues, the brothers descend through a cave and avoid a series of traps and deadly creatures, during which Barley reveals to Ian that he was unable to emotionally bring himself to say goodbye to Wilden when he was dying in the hospital. The final obstacle sends them back to the surface, where they find themselves in front of Ian’s high school. Infuriated at Barley’s advice, Ian lashes out at him for leading them on a wild goose chase and walks away with Wilden.

Rereading his list of things he always wished to do with Wilden, Ian realizes that Barley has been a father figure throughout his entire life, and returns to make amends. Barley discovers the needed gem inside a historic fountain across the street from high school and retrieves it, unwittingly triggering the curse Corey spoke of, which creates a dragon-shaped golem out of pieces of the school and other nearby objects, bent on claiming the gem. Ian’s staff is knocked into the ocean during a battle with the golem, but he reforms it from a splinter embedded in his hand and continues the fight. Corey flies in carrying Laurel, who plunges the magic sword into the golem’s heart, buying Ian time to cast the visitation spell and fully reform Wilden’s body. Ian sends Barley ahead to finally give his proper goodbye to Wilden, and holds off the golem long enough for Laurel to destroy it. After Wilden dissipates, Barley tells Ian that their father is proud of him, and the brothers share a hug.

Some time later, Ian’s confidence and spell-casting have improved and he surprises Barley by painting his new van, christened “Guinevere The Second”. Corey reopens her tavern in its original spirit, drawing in customers with tales of past adventures. She and Laurel become friends, and Ian and Barley develop a better relationship with Colt, who was inspired to start galloping with his own feets. As the world begins to rediscover the magical arts of the past, the brothers set off on a new quest.


In July 2017, Pixar announced a suburban fantasy world film at the D23 Expo, with Dan Scanlon directing and Kori Rae producing. The film was inspired by the death of Scanlon’s father when he and his older brother were very young children, and their relationship with each other. He decided to write the story after hearing an audio clip of his father. On 12 December 2018, the film’s title was revealed, as well as Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer’s involvement in the film. While having recorded most of their lines separately, Holland and Pratt performed some of their recording sessions together since they had experience working together in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame

On 16 April 2019, Mychael and Jeff Danna were revealed to be the film’s composers. Later on in 2019, Jason Headley and Keith Bunin were hired to rewrite the screenplay and story, while Ali Wong, Lena Waithe and Mel Rodriguez’s involvement in the film was confirmed on 17 December 2020. On February 12, 2020, Brandi Carlile stated she recorded the song Carried Me With You for the film’s end credits. On 18 February 2020, Wilmer Valderrama, Tracey Ullman, Kyle Bornheimer and George Psarras were revealed to have voice roles as well, and John Ratzenberger’s appearance was officially confirmed.


In May 2019, two stills from the film featuring Barley, Ian and their mother were revealed. The following day, the film’s teaser poster was released, and the teaser trailer debuted during ABC’s broadcast of the 2019 NBA Finals. The teaser trailer was also shown with Toy Story 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home in the summer of 2019. Full trailers were released in October alongside Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and December 2019 alongside Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Onward premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival on 21 February 2020, and was theatrically released in the United States on 6 March. A short film titled Playdate with Destiny, which is centred around Maggie Simpson of The Simpsons and was later released on Disney+, appears before the feature film.

After its theatrical release, the film’s soundtrack was released on 28 February 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic receded, the film was released in Australia and New Zealand on 24 April 2020, in South Korea on 17 June 2020, in Italy on 19 August 2020, and finally in Japan on 21 August 2020.

Onward was released digitally on the night of 20 March 2020, and became available for Disney+ subscribers on 3 April 2020, as the direct result of movie theatre closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The digital release date was just two weeks after the film’s theatrical debut and before the end of the usual 90-day theatrical run. The announcement followed Disney’s earlier than planned release of Frozen II on Disney+ and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Digital HD.

Over its first week of home release, the film was the sixth-most watched on Amazon Prime and second-most on the iTunes Store. In Australia and New Zealand, it was released on Disney+ on 24 April 2020, and on Disney+ in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2020.

The film was released on DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray on 19 May 2020.


One of the most iconic monsters in Dungeons & Dragons is a giant cube of Jell-O. Imagined by creator E. Gary Gygax himself in the very first edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 1974, the gelatinous cube is a staple foe that players encounter early on in their adventuring. The cube moves slowly but can be very dangerous once it gets close, as it absorbs victims and slowly digests them while they float helplessly inside.
The Burger Shire, a fast-food restaurant, has a sign reading, “Now serving second breakfast.” In the Lord of the Rings books and movies, second breakfast is a meal enjoyed by the Hobbits, who all live in The Shire.
Pixar’s iconic Pizza Planet truck appears in the troll bridge toll scene.
Pixar’s first film without any involvement from John Lasseter, following his departure as CEO of Disney’s Animation Areas.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first Disney movie to be released for digital download while still in theaters.
The popular “A113” reference is present in this film as it is in all Pixar films. The Police call that comes through near the end says, “A 113 in progress”. This is the first time that it only appears verbally.
Triple Dent Gum is sold at the gas station Ian and Barley visit, which is an Easter Egg for 2015’s Inside Out.
The portrayal of unicorns harks back to the very first myths about them being aggressive and untameable, rather than graceful and magical.
The toll booth troll works for “Under The Bridge Transportation,” a joke based on the idea that, in fairy tales, trolls wait underneath bridges to prey on those who try to pass. It also says you can pay them in cash or riddle.
In the arcade, a centaur is playing a video game called “Prance Prance Revolution,” a play on the music video game franchise “Dance Dance Revolution.”
Specter’s line about her girlfriend’s daughter was improvised by Lena Waithe, who asked if she could switch the line from “husband” to “girlfriend.” Waithe is openly lesbian.
An early draft of the movie focused on two young scientists trying to bring their father back to life piece by piece. He was trying to invent something that could allow someone to communicate with the dead, but he ended up dying instead.
The song featured in the teaser trailer is Magic by The Cars.
Ian performs a fireworks spell that includes a Hidden Mickey. When he turns to a page of a book of magic detailing growth spells, the wizard pictured looks like Yen Sid from 1940’s Fantasia.
On January 27, 2020, a San Francisco tattoo artist named Sweet Cecily Daniher filed a lawsuit against Disney, Pixar and producer Kori Rae. In September 2018, Pixar rented a van owned by Daniher and decorated with a unicorn-themed mural for use in a one-day festival. She learned about the production of Onward in May 2019 and, after seeing images of the van used by Ian and Barley Lightfoot in the film, came to believe that Pixar had stolen the design of her van in violation of her rental agreement with the company. Daniher is suing for copyright infringement and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Visual Artists Rights Act, and California Artists Protection Act. She is also suing to prohibit distribution of the film and any infringing advertisements or merchandise. The suit is pending as of February 2020.
This is Pixar’s first original film since 2015’s The Good Dinosaur and 2017’s Coco. Every Pixar film since 2016 (with the exception of Coco) has been a sequel to one of their previously existing franchises.
Barley’s van is based on a 1978 Chevrolet Chevy.
Guinevere is named after King Arthur’s wife in Arthurian legends.
The construction worker’s name is Felix, a reference to Fix-It Felix from Wreck-It Ralph (2012).
Ian eats Trollios, a reference to Cheerios.
Officer Bronco’s cop car is a 1989 GMC Jimmy SLX [K-1500].
The toll bridge features a number of Cozy Cones from Cars.
One of the biker pixies is named Mustardseed, a fairy from William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The mountain with two peaks in the background at the drawbridge looks similar to the mountain from The Croods.
Chris Pratt’s first theatrically released animated film outside the Lego Movie franchise.
The student driving car is a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria.


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