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How Pixar’s Onward Became An Urban Fantasy Film

For Onward to work, it needed to be in a place where magic existed, but where it was also unreliable, in order for the film’s central conflict to make sense, that meant moving the story forward in time to an era where the characters had largely forgotten about magic. As Onward will explain in the film, while magic works, in this world, it was simply more complicated than technology, and so it was supplanted as the main way people got things done over time. Dan Scanlon admits that he was far from an expert on the topic of fantasy worlds, there was a group of passionate Pixar employees in charge of helping to create those elements, but the sword and sorcery-adjacent movie worked for telling the story he wanted to tell.

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