When Pixar first arrived with Toy Story, it made its bones on telling new, original stories. From Monsters Inc. to Finding Nemo to The Incredibles, every movie the company put out felt fresh. But since the Disney takeover in 2006, the production house has gotten more into sequels. This past decade saw new stories like Inside Out and Brave, but it also held Monsters University, Finding Dory, and Incredibles 2. But with Toy Story 4 finally ending the saga of Woody for good, Pixar is turning back to original films. The new Onward trailer reminds audiences why Pixar movies have always been some of the most reliable hits of the past 20 years.
Onward is one of two upcoming Pixar films based on entirely original material. (The other, Soul, comes out in 2020 as well.) For this new story, Pixar went with a solid premise. What if the magical land of fantasy was real, and functioning in 2020? What if it had airplanes, smartphones, and TV, just like the regular world?
That alone would sell viewers. (I am personally a fan of the idea of traveling Westeros by subway.) But Pixar doesn't just do concepts like "What's it like in a little girl's brain?" or "How does fish society function?" It does tearjerkers set in these dazzlingly creative worlds. And Onward, from the looks of it, will be no exception.
Check out the trailer:
Here's the synopsis:
This spring, Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) and his brother Barley’s (Chris Pratt) quest beginneth. Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there.
Of course, there's a little more to it than that. Upon reaching his 16th birthday, Ian discovers his late father was not an accountant, as their mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) believed. Instead, he was a wizard or at least had a wizard's staff. The staff comes with a spell that will bring their dad back for one full 24-hour period to get to know him.
Expect, of course, nothing with magic (or with life) ever goes to plan. But hey, this just means instead of spending time at home with dad as a family, the boys go on an adventure with dad's legs instead.
Pixar's Onward is the brainchild of Dan Scanlon, director of the Pixar movie Monsters University, who both wrote and directed the feature. In an interview with SyFy about the upcoming film, Scanlon revealed that he lost his dad at a young age, like the Lightfoot family. He grew up with an idea of his father as a "kind of mythic and almost magical" person.
As he sees it, Onward is for “people when they think about their family history or mysteries that they may have in their life.” So if the trailer made you misty-eyed before you burst out laughing at tiny Chris Pratt elf, you're probably not alone.
Onward is scheduled to be released on March 6, 2020.