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Pixar's Onward: Release date, plot, cast, pictures, trailers, soundtrack and everything else we know

The urban fairy tale starring Chris Pratt and Tom Holland hits screens in March 2020.

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Chris Pratt and Tom Holland bring the magic.

Pixar Animation Studios

Onward is the next big film from Pixar Animation Studios. The movie features the voices of Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Chris Pratt and Tom Holland as two brothers on a quest. Pixar first teased Onward back in December 2018 via a tweet.

Here's everything we know so far.

Plot: What's it all about?


Ian and Barley Lightfoot try to restore their father's top half.

Screenshot by Corinne Reichert/CNET

Onward sees two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, struggling with a magical spell to bring their father back for 24 hours on Ian's 16th birthday. Their mom, voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, gives them a wizard's staff passed down by their father to cast the spell.

But when Holland's character Ian can't hold the staff for the duration of the spell, they only get back their father's legs. So starts a quest to restore the rest of his body.

The quest sees them travel to a gas station overrun with pixies and a tavern with a fire-breathing monster. Another spell-casting attempt gone wrong shrinks Barley to the size of, well, barley.

There are unicorns that act like raccoons, mushroom-shaped houses and dragons as house pets.

Pixar released four new character posters on Dec. 16, revealing three new characters. In celebration of the 50-day countdown until the launch of the movie, Pixar released another three new Onward character posters on Jan. 16, featuring the trash panda-esque unicorns, the legs-only father and three pink pixies.

Trailers: What's it going to look like?

The Disney-owned studio dropped the first trailer in May, and we got a small glimpse of Onward footage during Disney's D23 Expo in August.

A more expansive trailer finally launched on Oct. 10, showing more details about the brothers' quest to restore their father using the wizard's staff.

On Oct. 9, Pixar posted a video on its Instagram account showing how Pratt and Holland reacted to the new trailer. "I look so sweet!" Holland says of his character. "I love this so much," he adds later about the movie.

Disney announced in mid-December that a new trailer would be dropping soon. Pixar then showed off the second trailer for Onward on Dec. 17, showing the brothers getting quest advice from the manticore in a diner, including a map and a gem. Unfortunately, she forgot to tell them about the curse, and she sets off on a rescue mission with the boys' mother.

It's also revealed in the second trailer that their father wrote the spell himself so he could see who his boys grow up to be. "He wanted to meet you more than anything," their mother tells Ian.

Cast and crew: Who's in it?

Having two of the Avengers -- Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy's Star-Lord -- reunite for Onward brought more fun to the voices, Onward writer and director Dan Scanlon told People in May. Their character traits are "the exact opposite," the director, who also headed up Monsters University, told the publication.

"The best part about the job is I got to do it with my buddy Chris," Holland said in a featurette posted to YouTube on Feb. 6.

Louis-Dreyfus, who voiced Princess Atta in Pixar's A Bug's Life, is voicing the brothers' mom. As the mother of teen boys who are "the joy of my life," Louis-Dreyfus said she has that in common with her character.

On Dec. 16, Pixar also announced Ali Wong, Lena Waithe and Mel Rodriguez will be joining the cast, voicing what look to be police officers.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Laurel Lightfoot.

Screenshot by Corinne Reichert/CNET

The full cast includes:

Release date: When can I see it?

Onward is scheduled for release on March 6, 2020.

Soundtrack: What will it sound like?

Pixar Onward soundtrack
Disney Pixar

Disney Pixar announced the soundtrack will drop online on Feb. 28, a week before the release of the movie. The end credits song, "Carried Me With You," is being performed by Brandi Carlile. It's "a song about not taking love for granted [and] accepting love even when you don't feel like you deserve it," she said in a statement Feb. 12.

The movie's score, which was recorded by a 92-piece orchestra and features folk guitars and "magical" notes, was written by composers Mychael Danna, who won an Oscar for the Life of Pi soundtrack, and Jeff Danna -- brothers who had a story similar to the characters of Onward.

"The whole story: father is an accountant and dies when the brothers are young, and how the relationship of the brothers is affected," Mychael Danna said. "In our case, we were 19 and 13."

Originally published Oct. 10, 2019.
Update, Dec. 16: Adds info on three new characters, four new posters and new trailer coming soon; Dec. 17: Adds detail on second trailer; Jan. 16, 2020: Adds detail on new character posters; Feb. 7: Adds detail from new featurette; Feb. 12: Adds soundtrack details.