Over the last 25 years, Pixar has produced many animated classics whose stories walk that fine line between real and imaginary, lighthearted and emotionally weighted. The studio’s next project, Onward, seems to fall squarely in the middle of the spectrum. As the film’s first teaser trailer makes clear, it’s the story of a magical world that has lost its magic, and what’s left behind is a society of mythical creatures living mundane small-town existences.
Onward follows two brothers — teenage elves — who seek out excitement that they’re sure must still exist somewhere. With so many unicorns around, shouldn’t there be at least some kind of magical quest they can embark on? Some kind of heroic adventure?
It’s still unclear what that quest or adventure might look like or what form it will take. The teaser hints that Onward’s central siblings (Tom Holland voices the movie’s younger and more skeptical lead; Chris Pratt plays his much more energetic older brother) will take some pains to let go of the idea that there isn’t anything else to their reality. Maybe the simple life is all there is.
But that’s doubtful, because this is Pixar, a studio whose next movie is the fourth iteration on a story about toys that talk and travel and play video games. There is no such thing as pure and simple.
Onward is due to hit theaters in March 6, 2020.