Onward is the latest offering from Pixar that tells the tale of two elf brothers, who set off on a quest to bring their dead father back to life for one more day. It is the first time Pixar has ventured into the realm of magical fantasy. But as director of the film, Dan Scanlon revealed, the original plans for the film was grounded much more in the real world.
"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. 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 he hoped could 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. 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."
Yikes. That's a far cry from the version of the movie fans finally got to see onscreen. Pixar is known for hitting close to home when it comes to exploring the darker emotions, but perhaps the thought of showing a couple of brothers Frankensteining their dead father back to life one limb at a time proved too much for the company's heads.
As it is, the fantasy version of the story proved quite palatable to audiences, and the movie received good reviews by critics upon release. Unfortunately, the shutting down of theaters worldwide prevented the film from making a dent at the box office. But with Onward arriving on digital platforms on Friday, it now has a chance to provide some much-needed diversion to adults and children cooped up at home. This comes from ComicBook.com.