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Throughout Pixar's history, the studio has created some of the most memorable worlds that we've had the pleasure of visiting in film. We've visited worlds where toys come to life, where superheros are real, and where robots feel love. And yet, with Onward, Pixar will create yet another new world, one where magic is real, though where it has also been largely forgotten.
In Onward, a magic spell gone slightly haywire is what sends to the main characters of Barley and Ian, played by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, on their quest to try and bring their father back to life for a single day. As we've seen in the trailers, the brothers will do a bit more magic over the course of the film, but during a visit to the studio last year, it was revealed that the team that created the magical world of Onward did a lot more work than we'll ever see in the final product.
Much of the magic in Onward was created by a group of people from within all the various departments of Pixar known as the "Fellowship." It was this group that helped to determine how magic worked, how spells were cast, and other details that helped make the magic system feel complete. As Pixar Story Artist Louise Smythe revealed, the magic team created many more magic spells for Onward than the movie will ever show.
We made probably almost 100 [spells] or something, but for what ended up in the final film...it looks like about seven or eight-ish. Depending on what ends up in the final [cut].
In the trailers for Onward we've seen the magic spell that attempts to bring back Ian and Barley's father, we've also seen a growth spell, that doesn't go according to plan, and what appears to be a lightning spell or some other sort of magical blast. I spied a list of what appeared to be the other spells being used in the movie, and saw one other, while i was at Pixar, but you won't be getting spoilers form me.
However, while we'll only see a handful of spells in Onward, it seems quite a few more were created. Based on the comment, it seems likely that several other spells were created for scenes that ended up not making it into the final version of the film. Animated films quite often go through greater changes during their life than live-action films do. Quite often entire plots and characters can be created and then dropped when a new direction is found.
Still, it seems unlikely that something in the neighborhood of 90 different spells were created for scenes that ended up not being completed. Some may have been made just as part of giving the world some added flavor. Although, not all the spells that we won't see are going to be entirely ignored. Recently, Pixar released Quests of Yore an actual hardcover version of the fictional role-playing-game book featured in Onward. While an RPG like Dungeons & Dragons deals with a fictional world for us, Quests of Yore is more of a historic game, since magic once existed there.
In the movie Ian and his brother will find actual spells in the book that can be used, and i would guess the book contains many more spells than the ones we'll see in the movie. Onward hits theaters March 6.