Onward Movie Poster

Trivia for Onward

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  • According to director Dan Scanlon, who lost his father at a very young age, the film is inspired by the question he's always asked: "who was my father? The story is set in a world with no humans. Elves, trolls, sprites, and "anything that would be on the side of a van in the '70s," exist in this world, said the director. "In the film, we're going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father."
  • Pixar's 22nd feature film.
  • Chris Pratt and Tom Holland starred in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), which is also owned by Disney, both playing Peters: Peter Quill / Star-Lord and Peter Parker / Spider-Man, respectively. Coincidentally Octavia Spencer has a minor role in Spider-Man (2002).
  • Pixar's first film without any involvement from John Lasseter, following his departure as CEO of Disney's Animation Areas.
  • The song featured in the teaser is 'Magic' by The Cars.
  • This is Pixar's first original film since The Good Dinosaur (2015) and Coco (2017). Every Pixar film since 2016 (with the exception of Coco) has been a sequel to one of their previously existing franchises like Finding Dory (2016), Cars 3 (2017), The Incredibles 2 (2018) and Toy Story 4 (2019).
  • On January 27, 2020, a San Francisco tattoo artist named Sweet Cecily Daniher filed a lawsuit against Disney, Pixar, and Onward (2020) 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.
  • The movie will be accompanied in theaters by "Playdate With Destiny," a short cartoon featuring The Simpsons (1989). Tracey Ullman voices the pawn shop owner Grecklin, and The Simpsons was originally spun off from The Tracey Ullman Show (1987).
  • Pixar's iconic Pizza Planet truck appears in the troll bridge toll scene.
  • 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". A113 was the classroom used by John Lasseter, Tim Burton and Brad Bird at the California Institute of Arts and appears in all Pixar films. This is the first time that it only appears verbally.
  • During a scene towards the end of the movie, when the brothers exit a manhole in the street, background greenery and foliage heavily resembles Arlo from The Good Dinosaur (2015).
  • 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.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first Disney movie to be released for digital download while still in theaters.
  • The sixth Pixar film to have Bret Parker as a voice after Monsters, Inc. (2001), The Incredibles (2004), Monsters University (2013), Inside Out (2015), and Incredibles 2 (2018).
  • One of the three consecutive Pixar films to be produced by Jonas Rivera and to have Josh Cooley as a voice, the previous being Toy Story 4 (2019) and the later being Soul (2020).
  • Barley's van is based on a 1978 Chevrolet Chevy.
  • The movie begins and ends with a character (Wilden and Ian respectfully) talking about the world and magic's place within it
  • Triple Dent Gum is sold at the gas station Ian and Barley visit; which is an Easter Egg for Inside Out (2015).
  • Barley's tabletop game is heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, a couple of artifacts and creatures from D&D are featured in the film, and Wizards of the Coast receives thanks in the end credits.
  • The stereo in Barley's van is from the brand LOR.
  • The portrayal of unicorns harks back to the very first myths about them being aggressive and untameable, rather than graceful and magical. It's only on screen very briefly and you need to look closely to make it out, but Laurel apparently buys milk from Audhumla Dairies - Audhumla being the name of the primeval cow, one of the more obscure figures from Norse Mythology.
  • Magic is illustrated using the example of a great wizard, who looks strikingly similar to Gandalf the Grey from The Lord of the Rings. Later, Barley does indeed reveal the wizards of old had formulaic names like "Wilden the Whimsical," a detail seen in both The Lord of the Rings and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. In those long-distant days, sorcerers were adored as the easiest solution to the world's many crises - until technological development made the impossible a part of everyday life. Why train to generate magical light when you can just flick on a light Conceptually, this is reminiscent of subplots in The Incredibles.
  • The wizard of old is shown being watched by an adoring crowd. Attentive viewers will notice the wizard is surrounded by Night Howler flowers from Zootopia (2016), and he's being watched by a satyr version of Bonnie from Toy Story 3 (2010). There are also a group of rock trolls from Frozen (2013).
  • One store is called "Sword & The Scone," a pun on the animated classic The Sword in the Stone (1963); this is actually a repeated gag, because this was the name of a meal on the breakfast menu in Toy Story 4 (2019).
  • Barley is obsessed with ancient history, and as such he collects his world's equivalent of Magic: The Gathering cards, called Quests of Lore. To his delight, he and his brother wind up on a magical quest of their own; it incorporates the classic Gelatinous Cube from Dungeons and Dragons, and ends with a confrontation with a dragon, just like one Dungeons & Dragons mission. Barley's jacket includes stitchings of the D20 dice.
  • A couple of amusing nods to Triple Dent Gum (previously seen in Inside Out and Toy Story). There's a pack in Ian's room, and an advert at the gas station trashed by the pixies. Also on the counter is a cup of pens with the chicken logo, a reference to Poultry Palace, which has frequently been seen in the Toy Story films and shorts.
  • Pixar traditionally get in a Pizza Planet Easter egg, and in Onward it's switched up; the company is called Pizza Realm instead. Signs are shown in the background of several scenes, and a Pizza Realm truck joins the queue for the toll booth. A box in the back of Barley's van has a Pizza Realm sticker on it.
  • The toll bridge features a number of Cozy Cones from Cars (2006).
  • One of the brand names advertised at the gas station is called "Longbottom' a reference to one of the most popular characters in the Harry Potter universe. This may also be a reference to Longbottom Leaf, a variety of pipeweed smoked by characters in The Lord of The Rings.
  • One of Ian's classmates is apparently studying the concept of transforming matter, which was mostly concerned with turning baser metals into gold. alchemy is what passes for "science class."
  • One item that is apparently quite similar is the candy known as Pixie Sticks. It's little more than pure sugar, but in the film, while it might have the same name, it's actually something quite different. According to the package, Pixie Sticks are actually 100% real Pixie Dust.
  • the Pizza Realm delivery vehicle can be spotted during a scene involving the toll booth. As Barley and Ian make their way through the magical land, the modern-styled world sees them travel on a highway and come across a toll booth (appropriately manned by a troll). In the background of this shot, the Pizza Realm truck can be seen as it tries to get through the long line of cars. This appearance by the truck isn't the only Pizza Realm reference though, as the logo can be spotted on signage in the background of multiple scenes, as well as on a box in Barley's car.
  • Barley's decked-out vest includes an Infinity Gauntlet Patch on the left breast pocket. It's a bit hard to spot, As the patch rocks a red and black design that's different than the Gauntlet's classic gold look. However, the design is clearly meant to resemble Marvel's iconic Infinity Gauntlet. And a sticker of the same design on the back of the passenger seat inside Barley's van.
  • The Manticore is lifted straight from Dungeons & Dragons. Present since Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in 1977, manticores exist as an evil race of lion-like creatures who seek to EAT THE FLESH OF MEN. They are lethal predators, as detailed in the short story "The Ecology of the Manticore" written by Spike & Jones and published in the 153rd issue of the official Dungeons & Dragons magazine, Dragon. Persian mythology the name "manticore" derives from Middle Persian for "man-eater" (mardya and khrowr) manticores have humanoid heads, lion bodies, scorpion tales, and dragon wings.
  • One of the most frequent starting settings in D&D games are taverns, where villagers drink, gossip, and get involved with the other side of the tracks. It's an ideal starting point for all adventures, even if it is a cliché.
  • One of the most iconic monsters in Dungeons & Dragons is a giant cube of Jell-O. Imagined by creator 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. (It has an entry-level challenge rating of "2" in the current version of D&D. That's low.) 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.
  • In an email to Inverse, Wizards of the Coast confirmed it collaborated with Disney and Pixar over the use of D&D characters and story elements in Onward. "The D&D team was super excited to meet with the writers and producers of Pixar's Onward," Wizards of the Coast told Inverse. "There was a lot of back-and-forth in the room discussing how best to portray D&D monsters like the beholder and the gelatinous cube. We love that Onward is bringing fantasy to a whole new audience, and it's a testament to how D&D storytelling is part of the mainstream culture now."
  • Pixar's tenth film to not have a co-director after Toy Story (1995), The Incredibles (2004), Wall-E (2008), Toy Story 3 (2010), Monsters University (2013), The Good Dinosaur (2015), Cars 3 (2017), Incredibles 2 (2018), and Toy Story 4 (2019).
  • Disney's seventh computer-animated film to release during the spring season after Dinosaur (2000), Finding Nemo (2003), The Wild (2006), Meet the Robinsons (2007), Up (2009), and Zootopia (2016).
  • Chris Pratt's first theatrically released animated film outside the Lego Movie franchise.
  • Pixar's fifth film to feature no humans after A Bug's Life (1998) and the Cars trilogy.
  • Disney's eighth computer-animated film to feature no humans after A Bug's Life (1998), Dinosaur (2000), Chicken Little (2005), Cars (2006), Cars 2 (2011), Zootopia (2016), Cars 3 (2017).
  • In the Manticore's Tavern, there is an arcade claw type game, called Gauntlet. It looks a lot like the MCU Infinity Gauntlet and even has artwork showing the gauntlet holding a star, the same way Thanos held an infinity stone.
  • The film received great reviews from critics and audiences, with its Rotten Tomatoes scores being 87% and 95% respectively. Unfortunately, it was released during the rise of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic when movie theaters were either closing or limiting capacity in an effort to limit the spread of the virus (and even with this measure many people felt it was still unsafe to go to the movies). Eventually, it got so severe that all movie theater chains were forced to close before the film could recoup its budget. As a result, Disney made the unprecedented move of making the film available for digital download only two weeks after its theatrical release as it was now the only way people could view it.
  • Barley's copy of Quests of Yore is set to be real, curtesy of USAopoly.
  • In one scene, Barley and Ian's father's legs help them make up by encouraging them to dance along. When he tries to pull Ian over, Ian repeatedly says that he isn't a very good dancer. Tom Holland, is, in fact, a talented ballet/hip hop dancer; his acting career began as the title character of West End's Billy Elliot the Musical.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Openly lesbian Lena Waithe provides the voice for Specter, a cyclops cop who passingly mentions having a girlfriend.
  • Wilden is the sixth deceased Pixar father after Auguste Gusteau, Poppa Henry, Héctor Rivera, Papá Julio, and Mr. Deavor.
  • Corey's name may have been derived from the name of her own species (manti'core').
  • Although she is a manticore despite her name, she is depicted with an actual lion's head instead of a man's head (one of the common characteristics of a manticore) in mythology. Like in modern depictions, Corey is depicted with wings despite the historical records mentioning the manticore did not have wings.
  • Laurel's design bears a very similar appearance to Sadness from Inside Out.
  • The Guinevere paint design was featured in the 2019 animated Disney/Pixar film Toy Story 4 during the epilogue.
  • "Gore" is an English verb that refers to an ungulate (specifically a bull, a ram, or a goat) that uses its horns to attack its enemies.
  • Laurel drives a 2005 Opel Zafira.
  • Officer Bronco's cop car is a, 1989 GMC Jimmy SLX [K-1500].
  • The student driving car is a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria.
  • The tiny red skull pin on Barley's vest could be a nod to the Marvel villain Red Skull who at the time was the head of Hydra and there's a potential nod to that organization via the Hydra badge also on Barley's vest.
  • When Ian walks into the gas station there are 'magic beans' on sale referencing the fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk Later Ian and Barley drive through fields filled with giant beanstalks that stretch all the way into the clouds possibly a nod to Disney's Gigantic which was to be released the same year as this film but it was cancelled.
  • Laurel uses 'Whey Strong' chocolate flavored protein powder for her smoothies.
  • Ian eats 'Trollios' a possible pun on Cheerios cereal.
  • In the arcade, a centaur is playing a video game called 'Prance Prance Revolution', a play on the music video game 'Dance Dance Revolution'.
  • There are many beverages advertised in the gas station called Cloak and Cola and Mountain Doom (also a Lord of the Rings reference to Mt. Doom) and Satyrade, referencing the real life beverages Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, and Gatorade
  • The toll booth troll works for "Under The Bridge Transportation' a joke on how in fairy tales trolls wait underneath to prey on those who try to pass. It also says you can pay them in cash or riddle.
  • In Ian's room he has a wooden dinosaur figure, similar to the mysterious pet collector from The Good Dinosaur (2015).
  • Barley has a D20 dice pin on his vest and a D20 dice stitching with lightning bolts on his arm cast referencing the board game Dungeons & Dragons.
  • The pixie biker gang members are shown devouring Pixy Stix before their confrontation with Ian and Barley.
  • The main conflict is the brothers' journey to find the Phoenix Gem in order to complete the resurrection spell needed to bring back their father. The closest thing to villains are the Pixie Bikers, the artificial dragon made by the curse that guards the Phoenix Gem, and the sleazy pawn-shop owner Grecklin.
  • The pawn shop owner, Grecklin, resembles Gollum from the animated The Hobbit (1977). Both characters also possess an object of great importance, desire to keep that object, and have the object stolen from them.
  • The chalice adorned with red and blue gems in the opening sequence of the film appears later on the counter in the pawn shop.
  • In the scene where Ian and Barley's dad starts dancing, the song's beat sounds very similar to "Hold on Loosley" - a classic rock song released in 1981 by the band 38 Special.
  • When Barley is listing wizard names, he mentions "Allura the Magnificent."
  • The Pixar ball is show at the maticores tavern when Ian and Barley open the door to the birthday song, above them it's on a wall like a trophy.
  • The high school looks similar to Southgate high school part of the Los Angeles school system right down to the number of doors and windows.
  • When Ian and Barley go to the manticores tavern the claw game in the back, it's called 'Gauntlet" and the claw is very clearly an Infinity Gauntlet.
  • There is a Skyrim logo on the dashboard of Guinevere 2.
  • The rock the van crashes into looks like the Grizzly head rock at California adventure Park at Disneyland.
  • The badges from Up (2009) are shown on a bulletin board.
  • The birthday song in the manticores tavern is the same tune as the one from The Emperor's New Groove (2000).
  • The stickers on the back window of Guinevere contains an Easter egg of Luci (short for Lucifer) from Disenchantment.
  • Barley's vest jacket has the word 'Smote' referencing Moana (2016) when she meets Maui.
  • The mountain with two peaks in the background at the drawbridge looks similar to the mountain from The Croods.
  • A Mickey-lookalike troll is seen paying at the tollbooth in the particular tollbooth shot next to the "Pizza Realm" truck at the right.
  • The construction worker's name is Felix, a reference to Fix-It Felix from Wreck-It Ralph (2012).
  • Among the stores in the shopping center, which are all closed for the evening, is what appears to be a bakery or cafe called "The Sword in the Scone," which is clearly a spoof of the title of the medieval tale. While the Easter egg is easy to miss, the bakery storefront can very briefly be viewed behind Laurel and Corey as they exit Laurel's car and head into the pawn shop. The joke was introduced in Disney's Toy Story short Small Fry, the fourth installment of Pixar's classic animated franchise following Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and the rest of Andy's hand-me-down toys as they transition into their new lives with their second kid, Bonnie.
  • A book next to the Phoenix Gem map in the Manticore's Tavern shows a sword and Celtic knot, a reference to Brave (2012).
  • If you read the kids menu of the Manticore's Tavern, you'll notice "kraken legs" are an option.
  • An annotated version of Barley's copy was released as a tie-in book for the film. Additionally, a fully playable board game, "Quests of Yore: Barley Edition", is set for release in the Fall of 2020.
  • Guinevere is named after King Arthur's wife in Arthurian legends.
  • Pixar has revealed there's an Easter egg for Soul (2020), their next film coming out. This may be in the scene where the father's shirt is briefly shown; it's emblazoned with the Trinity Knot symbol, which refers to the connection between mind, body, and soul.
  • 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 Fantasia (1940).
  • Look closely at the Manticore's Tavern. The cook is actually Remy, the rat from Ratatouille (2007), while other members of the staff are wearing Sorcerer Mickey hats. There's even a Pixar ball in the background, emblazoned on a shield. The prize area includes the toy frogs from Toy Story 4 (2019).
  • The calendar in Ian's room has a picture of the woods from Brave (2012) on it. Also, Barley's map refers to "Brave Wilderness" and "Lock Lake," nods to Brave and the animated short The Ballad of Nessie.
  • Director Dan Scanlon voices the fitness instructor on Laurel's workout video.
  • On one of the pixie fairies jackets is a a skull similar looking to the one on Sid's shirt from Toy Story (1995).
  • A scene where Laurel steps on a soldier figurine belonging to Barley and berates him for leaving it in the hallway might be a possible nod to Toy Story (1995), where Andy's mom stepped on one of the Green Army Men and annoyingly mentions she thought she told Andy to pick them up.
  • Laurel uses Aurora brand dish soap, as in the Disney Princess in Sleeping Beauty (1959). Aurora is also a play on Dawn, a popular real-life brand of dish soap; "aurora" is a synonym for "dawn".
  • While having recorded most of their lines separately, Tom Holland and Chris Pratt did some of their recording sessions together since, according to Dan Scanlon, "they've worked together before and hung out together". According to producer Kori Rae, Holland and Pratt improvised some of their lines while recording together.
  • Wilden Lightfoot's (the dad) socks are the same color as the Cheshire cat from Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951). The Cheshire cat can disappear and reappear with different body parts visible or missing. Wilden is missing his upper half for most of the movie.

Spoilers

  • When Officer Bronco is chasing Ian and Barley on their way to Ravens Point, we can see that his police car is actually a Ford Bronco.
  • John Ratzenberger turns up in every Pixar movie, and this time he plays Construction Worker Fenwick, who tries to stop Barley from climbing all over historical monuments.
  • The magic of Onward is heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. Magic itself can only be wielded by a specific "class" of character, notably Ian himself. Just as in these games, spells have specific requirements that must be met in order to perform them. They are: *Someone must harness their "heart's fire," i.e. speak with confidence when casting *Other spells require a focus of attention, such as a growth spell *In addition, others require absolute self-belief, with Ian using magic to create an invisible bridge *The most complex spells require all three of the above *Finally, advanced magic is only possible with an assist element such as the Phoenix Gem
  • In the gas station there is a very sneaky Toy Story reference via a tiny cup with pens on the cashier's counter, the chicken logo was from Poultry Palace referencing Toy Story 4 and the short film 'Small Fry'
  • The Phoenix gem is orange colored just like the MCU Soul Stone. It gives Ian and Barley a day to interact with their father, in Avengers Infinity War (2018) the Soul Stone temporarily allowed Thanos to communicate with his dead daughter Gamora in the Soul world.
  • Barley plays a special mix tape titled: 'Rise to Valhalla' when he sacrifices his beloved van. In Norse mythology Valhalla is where many fallen warriors go to after death. The parking violations flying out of the windows giving the sense that Guinevere has wings and the sound of the van's tires on the stones create galloping sound, as if she's riding into battle.
  • Ian's wardrobe undergoes a few changes over the course of the film. Initially he wears his father's sweater, showing how much he wants to emulate the man he never met. For the bulk of the quest he sports a red flannel over a white tee, but covered with black accents that represent his insecurities. During the final battle that same flannel is ripped open to show off Ian's long-dormant Hot-Blooded streak. By the end he's back to a buttoned shirt, but fully red this time, showing how he's grown into his own man.
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