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Like a new film from Marvel or another episode of STAR WARS, a new Pixar movie isn’t just a new animated movie for kids: it’s an event. The studio behind some of the greatest animated films of the past 20 years, including TOY STORY, WALL-E, and MONSTERS, INC. is back this year with an all-new adventure that takes audiences into a world beyond the limits of our imagination.
ONWARD introduces young (and young-at-heart) viewers to a wonderful land where mythical creatures like elves and unicorns aren't merely real — they're the primary residents! There's trouble brewing, however. Technology is taking hold and the world is losing its magic. The land is in need of some serious help, and who’s more helpful than a pair of elves? How about a pair of elves voiced by Marvel super-stars Chris Pratt and Tom Holland?
Pratt and Holland aren’t the only famous voices you’ll hear in Pixar’s latest. Read on for our handy guide to the fantastic and familiar voices of ONWARD.
[Image credit: Pixar Animation Studios]
Pixar’s all-new animated adventure is set in a fictional realm that isn’t too different from our own: There are suburbs and trash collectors, businesses big and small, schools and transportation. There’s just one thing: This world is magic, and its inhabitants are the creatures that we think of as mythical.
But magic isn’t as easy to use as it once was, and the population has become increasingly dependent on technology and science to get things done. Instead of using magic, the creatures in this world are turning to cars and phones and other science-based devices, taking them further and further away from magic. And this surprisingly relatable situation is where our story begins… and where our heroes enter the picture.
Ian and Barley are teenage elves who, like most creatures in their society, have become a little too dependent on technology and modern machinery. Then their mother gifts them with a magical staff that can bring a lost loved one back to life for 24 hours. Even though the brothers aren’t well-versed in wielding magical equipment, they use it to try and bring back their father, who died before Ian was born. Due to their lack of experience, they’re only able to summon their dad’s legs. Barley, desperate for an epic quest, grabs Ian and they set off on a journey to figure out how to bring their dad back – all of him – before the day ends.
Ian is voiced by Tom Holland, star of the new SPIDER-MAN movies and historical drama THE CURRENT WAR. He also recently lent his voice to another animated movie: SPIES IN DISGUISE. In 2020, Holland will reunite with another MCU favorite, voicing Pip the dog opposite Robert Downey Jr.’s Doctor Dolittle in DOLITTLE.
Barley is voiced by GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY fave Chris Pratt, who has plenty of experience voicing a charming animated hero thanks to his role in THE LEGO MOVIE and its sequel.
Laurel is the mother of Ian and Barley, and she gives the magical staff to her sons in an effort to help them reconnect with magic. She’s played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, one of the all-time greatest comedic actors. Louis-Dreyfus is best known for her roles in beloved sitcoms like “Seinfeld” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” She also played the lead role on HBO’s critically-acclaimed political comedy series “Veep,” which recently ended after seven seasons.
Octavia Spencer plays Corey, a friendly manticore who owns a restaurant. Barley and Ian visit her for help on their quest. Spencer won an Oscar for her supporting role in 2011’s THE HELP, and since then she’s had notable roles in all kinds of movies and shows – everything from SNOWPIERCER to THE SHAPE OF WATER and last year’s horror-thriller MA, as well as the new AppleTV+ series “Truth Be Told.”
Gore (not like the gore in a horror movie) is a faun – a magical deer, basically – and a police officer. She’s voiced by comedian Ali Wong, who became a major hit with her Netflix specials “Baby Cobra” and “Hard Knock Wife.” Last year she starred opposite Randall Park in the delightful Netflix rom-com ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE, which featured an internet-breaking cameo from Keanu Reeves.
Like Gore, Specter is also a police officer, but she’s a cyclops – a creature with a single eye. Specter is voiced by Lena Waithe, whose work as co-star and writer on Netflix’s “Master of None” launched her into the mainstream overnight and won her a Primetime Emmy – making Waithe the first black woman to win a writing Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. Waithe has used her fame to produce other projects, like the recent drama QUEEN & SLIM and the Showtime series “The Chi.” She also had a supporting role in Steven Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE.
Joining Gore and Specter on the magical police force is Colt Bronco, a centaur (half-horse, half-human) who, honestly, has a very cool name. Colt is voiced by Mel Rodriguez, a character actor best known in recent years for starring on the short-lived FOX series “The Last Man on Earth” and AMC’s “Better Call Saul.” In 2019 he starred opposite Kirsten Dunst on the critically-acclaimed series “On Becoming a God in Central Florida.”
All images courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios.
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