Onward Story / Synopsis + Complete Story - An1 2020

Is magic a thing of the past?

Or is it still alive, waiting to be discovered?

These are the questions that Pixar's latest masterpiece, Onward, dares to explore. Set in a modern-day suburban fantasy world, this enchanting tale takes us on a thrilling adventure filled with heart, humor, and a touch of magic.

As we delve into the story of two elf brothers on a quest to bring their father back to life, we are reminded of the power of belief, the strength of family bonds, and the extraordinary possibilities that lie within each of us.

So, grab your spellbook and join me as we uncover the captivating story of Onward.


In a world where magic has become obsolete, two brothers embark on an extraordinary adventure to bring their father back for one day. Ian, a self-doubting elf, and Barley, an enthusiastic gamer, receive a magical staff and a rare gem from their late father.

But when their first attempt at a resurrection spell goes awry, they must race against time to find another gem and complete the spell before sunset.

Their journey takes them to the Manticore's Tavern, a once-thriving hub for adventurers, now reduced to a family restaurant. Along the way, they encounter fiery mishaps and uncover clues that lead them to "Raven's Point," a mountain guarded by a curse that can only be defeated by an enchanted sword.

With their mother and a newfound friend in tow, they face perilous challenges, including a gelatinous cube and a stone dragon made of their own school building.

As the brothers confront their fears and learn to rely on each other, they discover the true meaning of family and the power of self-belief. With magic making a comeback in their world, their journey is just the beginning of a new quest.

Join Ian and Barley in this heartwarming and magical tale that will leave you inspired and believing in the extraordinary.

List of Chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Main Theme: Love and Loss
  3. Main Characters
  4. Central Conflict
  5. Challenges and Obstacles
  6. Supporting Characters
  7. Conclusion


The movie "Onward" (2020) was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film was directed by Dan Scanlon, produced by Kori Rae, and written by Scanlon, Jason Headley, and Keith Bunin.

It features the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer.

The movie is an American computer-animated urban fantasy adventure film set in a suburban fantasy world.

It tells the story of two elf brothers who go on a journey to find an artifact that will bring back their father.

"Onward" premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival on February 21, 2020, and was theatrically released in the United States on March 6, 2020.

Main Theme: Love and Loss

The main theme of the movie "Onward" (2020) is love and loss, specifically exploring the relationship between two brothers and their journey to reconnect with their late father. The film delves into themes of brotherhood, mourning, overcoming hardship, and finding one's inner self.

It is a heartfelt and moving adventure that deals with loss in an accessible way, resonating with both children and adults.

The story is set in a magical world with technological advances, where the two brothers embark on an adventure to resurrect their father for a day.

The film combines elements of urban fantasy, adventure, and family drama.

It received generally positive reviews from critics and is praised for its emotional depth and balance of pathos.

Main Characters

The main characters in Onward are:

Character Voice Actor
Ian Lightfoot Tom Holland
Barley Lightfoot Chris Pratt
Laurel Lightfoot Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Corey the Manticore Octavia Spencer
Colt Bronco Mel Rodriguez
Officer Spector Lena Waithe
Officer Gore Ali Wong
Officer Avel George Psarras

Central Conflict

The central conflict or problem in the 2020 Pixar movie "Onward" is the loss of the main characters' father and their desire to bring him back to life for one more day. The two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, discover an old spell that can bring their father back to life for a single day, but the spell goes wrong and they only manage to bring back the lower half of their father's body.

The rest of the movie follows their quest to find another gem to complete the spell and bring their father back fully before the day is over.

Along the way, they encounter various conflicts that reveal different layers of their characters.

Challenges and Obstacles

In the movie Onward, the main characters face various challenges and obstacles throughout their journey. Here are some of the challenges faced by the main characters:

  • Ian's fear of driving: At the start of the movie, Ian is afraid of driving and can't even merge into traffic during his driving class.
  • Peer relationships of high school: The characters face complex and awkward peer relationships of high school.
  • Avoiding feral cave unicorns: The characters have to avoid hissing feral cave unicorns.
  • Figuring out who you want to be: The characters have to figure out who they want to be.
  • Obstacles and challenges on the quest: The quest is filled with obstacles and challenges to overcome.
  • Episodic structure of the movie: The movie is episodic in structure, leaping from one place to get one thing before leaping to another place to get another, and so on in a series of breathless fetch quests.

Despite these challenges, the characters learn to grow and overcome them, reminding us that the business of growing up is challenging and painful at times, but that doesn't mean we have to stop playing, or to stop learning and growing.

Supporting Characters

In the movie "Onward" (2020), there are several notable supporting characters. Here are some of them:

  1. Corey the Manticore: Voiced by Octavia Spencer. Corey is a manticore who owns a restaurant in the film.
  2. Police Officers: Voiced by Mel Rodriguez, Ali Wong, and Lena Waithe. Rodriguez, Wong, and Waithe play police officers in the movie.

These are just a few of the supporting characters in "Onward". The film also features other characters, both main and supporting, that contribute to the story and add depth to the world of the movie.

The conclusion of the story in Onward is emotional and poignant, and it reflects an epiphany that the director, Dan Scanlon, had about his sibling.

The movie tells the story of two elven brothers, Ian and Barley, who embark on a road trip to complete a spell to briefly bring back their father.

Along the way, they encounter various obstacles and challenges that test their relationship and their individual strengths.

In the end, Ian chooses to fight the dragon to let Barley say goodbye to their father, realizing that Barley has been the father figure in his life.

This moment is a culmination of the themes of loss, growing up, and complicated family relationships that the movie explores.

The ending sets up a potentially exciting future for the core characters that could see the further expansion of magic in their world.

Overall, Onward is a sweet and heartwarming film that creates a beautiful fantasy world grounded in real-life drama.

Discussion topics

  • 1) How would you summarize the story of "Onward" and what do you think are its main themes or ideas?
  • 2) In what ways does "Onward" challenge traditional fantasy tropes and expectations? How does this affect your interpretation of the story?
  • 3) Can you relate to any of the characters' struggles or experiences in "Onward"? How does their journey resonate with your own life or perspective?
  • 4) How does the urban setting in "Onward" contribute to the overall story and themes? Do you think the story would have been different if it were set in a more traditional fantasy world?
  • 5) How does "Onward" explore the concept of family and sibling relationships? Can you think of any other movies or stories that tackle similar themes?
  • 6) In what ways does "Onward" comment on the role of technology and its impact on society? How does this relate to our own world and current events?
  • 7) How does "Onward" challenge societal norms and expectations, particularly in terms of gender roles and stereotypes? Do you think this is an important aspect of the story?
  • 8) What do you think the significance of the magical quest in "Onward" is? How does it reflect the characters' personal growth and development?
  • 9) How does "Onward" explore the theme of loss and grief? Do you think it effectively portrays the emotional journey of the characters?
  • 10) Can you think of any other movies or stories that share similar themes or ideas with "Onward"? How do they compare and contrast in terms of storytelling and execution?
  • Concluding thoughts

    So, you've just finished watching Onward, huh? What a wild ride that was! I don't know about you, but I was left with a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions after experiencing this urban fantasy adventure. Pixar really knows how to tug at our heartstrings, don't they?

    Let's talk about the story. Onward takes us on a journey with two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, as they embark on a quest to bring back their late father for one day. It's a tale filled with magic, mythical creatures, and a whole lot of heart. But what struck me the most was the underlying message that sometimes, the most extraordinary adventures can be found in the most ordinary of places.

    Throughout the movie, we see Ian and Barley face numerous obstacles and challenges, all while trying to navigate their own personal growth. It's a beautiful metaphor for life itself, isn't it? We all have our own quests to embark on, our own battles to fight, and our own lessons to learn. And just like Ian and Barley, we often find that the answers we seek are right in front of us, hidden within the everyday moments we tend to overlook.

    But what really got me thinking was the idea of embracing imperfection. In a world where magic is scarce and technology has taken over, Onward reminds us that it's okay to be flawed. It's okay to stumble and make mistakes along the way. Because it's through those imperfections that we truly find our strength and discover who we are meant to be.

    So, as you reflect on the story of Onward, I encourage you to ponder the magic that exists in your own life. What quests are you currently on? What obstacles are you facing? And most importantly, what everyday moments are you overlooking that could hold the key to your own personal growth?

    In the end, Onward is more than just a movie. It's a reminder that life is an adventure waiting to be embraced, and that sometimes, the most extraordinary stories are the ones we live every day. So go forth, my friend, and create your own magic.

    Onward | Official Trailer

    Tip: Turn on the caption button if you need it. Choose 'automatic translation' in the settings button if you are not familiar with the english language. You may need to click on the language of the video first before your favorite language becomes available for translation.

    Links and references

    Onward explained / Understanding the ending and story - AN1 2020

    Onward / Alternative ending - AN1 2020

    Unleashing Magic, A Quest to Rediscover the Extraordinary - AN1 2020

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