Pixar’s latest film, Onward, is set in a modern fantasy world and follows two elf brothers who journey out on a quest to discover the lost magic and bring their dead father back to life for one day.
However, according to director Dan Scanlon, who modelled the characters and relationships from his personal relationship with his real-life older brother, Onward originally involved two human scientists who brought their deceased father back, piece by piece, before realising it felt “a little episodic.”
“Initially we thought, ‘Well, we want to have a story about these two brothers who get an opportunity to bring their dad back to life,” Scanlon told ComicBook. “And my early version of the story was in our world and they were humans and their father was a scientist who had invented a machine that could he hoped communicate with the dead in some way, but it didn’t work. And so after the dad died, the boys were scientists too and they were trying to prove that their father’s machine would work. And in doing so they inadvertently brought parts of him back. And we could have gone that way. It started to feel a little episodic because they were bringing back pieces of dad, like his feet first, then his legs, then his torso. And it also just felt a little cold and clinical. And then the idea of magic as a way to bring him back felt way more romanticized and just special.”
“And that led to the thought of, ‘Well, we don’t want to set this in some era long ago, like a lot of fantasy films are set,’ and because this was such a personal modern story,” Scanlon continued. “And then again, that led to the idea of what about a modern fantasy world, which got us laughing because it’s ridiculous and would lead to really funny scenes. So it’s kind of a long way to get there. But I think one of the things I like is the world matches Ian in some ways. The world is a place that’s lost a little bit of its potential and Ian’s a kid who’s not living up to his potential and so you get to see both the world and Ian grow and live up to their potential together.”
What do you think of the original story for Onward? Are you glad Dan Scanlon decided to change the synopsis into a modern fantasy tale? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @flickeringmyth…
Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney-Pixar’s Onward introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left in the world.
Onward features a voice cast that includes Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer.