One of the bigger surprises out of Disney Studio’s massive D23 presentation was Onward, the Pixar film I knew almost nothing about going in that completely won me over after eight minutes of footage. (And 10 seconds of Tom Holland crushing my soul.) Written and directed by Dan Scanlon, the film takes place in a fantasyland Los Angeles that’s lost most of its magic. A pair of elf brothers, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt), embark on a quest sparked by an artifact left behind by their late father.
The audience got a look at eight minutes of the first act, beginning with the brothers’ mother, Laurel Lightfoot (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) taking a package out of the attic, a gift for Ian and Barley that their father wanted them to have. It’s a wizard staff, wrapped with a letter. “The world found a simpler way to get by. Over time, magic faded away. I hope there is magic in you,” he wrote.
The staff comes with a magical item called a Phoenix Gem and instructions for a spell that would bring their father back for 24 entire hours. Barley tries the spell all night but nothing works. Defeated, Ian reads the spell as the sun rises and the Phoenix Gem comes to life. The staff starts to summon their father from the aferlife…but Barley bursts into the room, disrupting the spell halfway and leaving the brothers with just a pair of legs. “I definitely remember dad having a top part,” Barley says.
In classic Pixar fashion, this entire thing manages to be funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Ian, the younger brother, never got to know his father, and seeing him tearfully interact with a pair of his dad’s ghost legs sticking out from the afterlife is 100% more emotionally moving than it sounds. The legs sweep the floor, trying to find the son it never got to know and still can’t see. Killed me.
With 24 hours to complete the spell, Ian and Barley throw a very Weekend at Bernies-like disguise on top of the legs and head out to find another Phoenix Gem. The footage ended on Barley: “We’re going on a quest.”
For more out of D23, check out the links below:
- New ‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’ Footage Reveals Rey with a Red Double-Sided Lightsaber
- ‘Frozen 2’ Footage Showcases Flashbacks, Botched Proposals, and the New “Let It Go”
- Tom Holland Gets Emotional over Marvel-Sony Split at D23: “I Love You 3000”
- Disney’s Animated Movie ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Cast and Release Date Revealed
- First Images for Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Revealed; Cast and More Musical Details Announced