Onward would’ve been playing in cinemas right now if it weren’t for the Movement Control Order. In fact, it was playing in cinemas for a week or so before the world turned into what it is today. The film follows two brothers who embark on a magical adventure in search of a gem that could bring their father back to life. Their journey is filled with cryptic maps, imaginative obstacles and loads of wonder.
Interestingly enough, early versions of the Onward script was very much different from what we eventually saw on screen. In an interview with ComicBook.com, director of Onward Dan Scanlon said that the film was initially about two scientists who brought their father back from the dead, piece by piece.
“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 us. “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,” he 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.”
The original idea certainly does so intriguing, though, what we did get in cinemas was pretty alright as well. You can click here to check out my review.