The quest for knowledge has begun! Think you know everything there is to know about Onward? Think again! Here are six things to look out for when watching the film, now streaming on Disney+!
1. Onward is inspired by director Dan Scanlon’s personal experiences.
Similar to Ian and Barley in Onward, Scanlon also lost his dad at a young age. It was his curiosity about what his father had been like that ultimately served as the starting point for the film’s development. If you look closely at Ian’s bulletin board, you’ll likely notice this photo, which draws inspiration from a real-life photo of Dan and his brother.
2. The title of the film holds a dual meaning.
“Onward” is first spoken in the film when Barley shifts Guinevere into “O” for “Onward.” But did you know that the title has a deeper meaning as well? According to Scanlon, the decision to choose Onward as a title was because the word really encompassed the journey of maturing and moving on from loss.
3. Look Out for Trolls! And Theo!
Similar to other Pixar movies, hidden details abound throughout this film. While watching, you just might notice a troll, or two, or three, or several! The Crowds team hid these creatures in the background of several scenes. See if you can spot them all!
Eagle-eyed viewers might also notice that an elf with buzz-cut hair, wearing a white striped shirt and khaki pants, appears every so often in the background of the film. This character, who the animators affectionately named Theo, became a running gag during the production, with animators trying to fit him into the background of several different scenes. Although his appearances were eventually scaled back, the famous Theo can still be seen in a few moments, including being bullied by the sprites at the Swamp Gas station, watching Barley try to find the phoenix gem at the high school, and outside the Manticore’s Tavern after the fire.
4. Quests of Yore is a real game, and you’ll be able to play it soon!
During the development of the film, the Story team created the elaborate fantasy roleplaying game to showcase Barley’s eccentric personality as well as to serve as a guide for the two brothers as they embarked on their journey. The development of the game proved to be so elaborate that the team ended up partnering with Disney Consumer Products to create a real-life version, which will be available later this year!
5. Research was crucial to the filmmaking process.
As with other Pixar movies, extensive research went into the making of Onward to ensure that every detail looked and felt just right. Several experiments were conducted, including pouring different levels of milk into several different gelatin molds to get the right opaque quality for the gelatinous cube, and taking a bunch of close up photos of cheese puffs — for science!
Another visual challenge was trying to figure out exactly how Dad (aka a pair of pants) might move on his own. To better understand the character, the filmmakers donned green suits, khakis, and a pair of shoes, and walked, stumbled, and danced their way around a green screen motion-capture stage.
6. A nod to another Pixar movie can be found in Ian’s bedroom.
When creating Ian’s bedroom, the artists designed several subtle nods to the character’s passions and personality. A poster for the fictional band called The Chanterelles can be found hanging on the wall, along with several astronomy posters and a few photos that are actually stills from The Good Dinosaur!
Whether it’s your first time watching Onward or your 50th, there’s always something new to discover in this magical film. Embark on a quest to Disney+ and stream Onward today!