Pixar's Onward By the Numbers

April 3rd, 2020Pixar's Onward By the Numbers

When we watch a Pixar movie, we get transported into their worlds, from under the sea, into space, back in time and into the toy box. We become a part of the characters' stories, and we see their experiences through their eyes. But what we don't see is the amount of work that goes into each scene in each Pixar animation.

For the first time, the studio built a brand-new world from the ground up for ONWARD, a part fantasy, part familiar movie that follows two elf brothers (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) as they try to bring back their late father for one more day. ONWARD is a world of magic and possibility, which made the creative process both exciting and challenging for the filmmakers. Check out a few of the behind-the-scenes stats:

  • 97,759 storyboards
  • 240 characters
  • 100 trolls
  • 85 animators
  • 70 authentic spells
  • 13 species of creatures
  • 7 years of development
  • 3 rules of magic

There are so many parts to the ONWARD world — from the characters to the settings to the fantastical elements — and with so many artists working on the film, collaboration was key to create and keep a cohesive design. The filmmakers shared all about the process, which you can hear more about in our exclusive interview below.

The ONWARD filmmakers also needed to come up with "rules," so they didn't drift too far away from the story, a deeply personal and heartfelt tale about loss and love inspired by director Dan Scanlon's own childhood. For starters, the artists had to maintain a balance of 30 percent fantasy (e.g., stray unicorns) and 70 percent familiar (e.g., cell phones). They also had to define limitations of the magic — a spell couldn't be used as a fix-all for brothers Ian and Barley as they embarked on their ambitious (and dangerous) quest.

"We just wanted to have some way that these brothers could get an opportunity for a day to meet their father," Scanlon said. "Magic felt like the most kind of beautiful way to do it, and that really led to the magic of the movie — that’s why it’s in the film."

The ONWARD filmmakers put so much thought, effort and passion into the new animation, and the result is an extraordinary world that's grounded in a relatable, emotional story audiences will enjoy. If you haven't yet, see ONWARD this weekend on AMC Theatres On Demand.