WARNING: Spoilers for Onward ahead
Onward was full of fantasy Easter eggs and Pixar references if you knew where to find them.
According to director Dan Scanlon, “We actually created a taskforce. It was a group of people who were really into fantasy and into role-playing games. They came up with a whole lot of the kind of Easter eggs regarding fantasy that were in the film”.
The crew was called the fellowship and they hid many things for you to find in the film. But did you catch them all? Read on to figure out everything you missed in Onward.
Remy from Ratatouille is Cooking in The Manticore’s Tavern
The food in The Manticore’s Tavern looked delicious, and it’s probably because the chef is famous and well-known throughout the wonderful world of Disney. During a scene at the Manticore’s Tavern, the Manticore barges from the kitchen with food and you can catch a glimpse of the chef on the right-hand side of the shot. It’s none other than Remy, the rat chef from Ratatouille.
The Pizza Planet Truck Makes a Cameo
The Pizza Planet truck has appeared in every Pixar movie except The Incredibles. Therefore, it was only appropriate to have it appear in Onward.
On the way to the Phoenix gem, Ian and Barley come to a freeway with a toll booth. The booth is manned by a troll – an Easter egg for the fairy tale, Three Bill Goats Gruff – but if you look past the troll, you’ll spot the Pizza Planet truck also making its way onto the freeway. The truck can be seen when Barley pulls up to pay the toll, on the right-hand side of the frame.
Right after spotting the Pizza Planet truck, you can also spot an appearance by the Cozy Cones from Cars.
Pizza Planet Sticker on Barley’s Cooler
Pizza Planet makes another appearance in Onward in the form of a sticker. In Barley’s car, there’s a cooler that has a sticker on it that looks exactly like the Pizza Planet logo. However, the Pizza Planet in Onward is known as Pizza Realm.
Although the cooler is always in the van, you don’t really get a good glimpse of the sticker until right before Ian and Barley reach the bottomless pit.
Triple Dent Gum from Inside Out, Toy Story, and Cars
Remember that catchy Triple Dent gum jingle that was stuck in Riley’s head in Inside Out? Well, it makes an appearance in Onward!
During the scene where the pixies raid the gas station, take a look at the gum in one of the pixies’ hands. It’s Triple Dent.
Triple Dent gum also appears in Cars 3 as a sponsor for two of the Piston Cup racers, Terry Kargas and Cam Spinner, and in Toy Story 4 as an advertisement in the antique store that the toys visit to save Forky.
Yellow Suit Monster from Monster’s Inc Lurks in Ian’s Bedroom
There’s a yellow figuring sitting on the dresser in Ian’s bedroom. Although you only see it very quickly, it looks a lot like a yellow-suited Child Detection Agency agent from Monster’s Inc. I wasn’t able to get a good glimpse of it, but will be able to confirm when the movie comes out on DVD.
A Jersey in the Manticore’s Tavern Pays Homage to the Director’s Dad
Onward was loosely based on director Dan Scanlon’s life. His father died in 1977 when Scanlon was only a year old and neither him nor his older brother remember their dad. However, he memorialized his father in the film with a touching Easter egg.
In the Manticore’s Tavern, there’s a green jersey hanging on the wall with the number 77 on it – a tribute to the year Scanlon’s dad left this Earth.
Bonnie from Toy Story and the Rock Trolls from Frozen Make an Appearance
At the very beginning of the movie, we see what the world looked like when creatures embraced magic. In one of these scenes, a group of creatures come to see the wizard perform magic on a hill and if you look closely, you might see some other Pixar characters.
Bonnie from Toy Story 3 and 4 is on the hill, but she is depicted as a fawn (circled in the picture above). There’s also a rock-like creature in the crowd that looks like one of the rock trolls from Frozen.
References to Brave on Ian and Barley’s Map
When deciding whether they want to go on the freeway or take the Path of Peril, Ian and Barley pull out a map of their town. On the left-side, you might notice some familiar territory – the Brave Wilderness and Loch Lake. These areas are shoutouts to the Pixar movie Brave and the short, The Ballad of Nessie.
The Woods from Brave are Pictured in Ian’s Room
On the bulletin board in Ian’s room he has a calendar that marks his 16th birthday. The photo on the calendar is a picture of the woods that Merida travels to in order to find the Will-o’-the-Wisps in Brave.
Nods to Tom Holland and Chris Pratt’s Marvel Characters
Tom Holland, the voice of Ian, and Chris Pratt, the voice of Barley, are also pretty well known in the Marvel Universe; therefore, it was only fitting that their Marvel characters got a shoutout.
In Onward, Barley has a Quest mix-tape that is very reminiscent of the mix-tapes Star Lord (Chris Pratt) constantly plays in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Tom Holland’s reference is a little harder to find. In Onward, you might have noticed that Ian’s phone screen is cracked. This is because it’s an Easter egg and a reference to Peter Parker’s cracked phone from Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Guitars from Coco in the Manticore’s Tavern
The Manticore’s Tavern is full of knickknacks and along the wall, you probably noticed a lot of guitars. These guitars most likely reference Miguel’s guitar from Coco.
Reference to StarCraft
At the beginning of the movie, we watch as magic turns into science. In one of the scenes, we see an oven with the logo “Volcanis” on it. Volcanis is a volcanic region on the planet Char in Starcraft.
Now Serving 2nd Breakfast
In the beginning of the movie, Ian Lightfoot goes to a fast food place called Burger Shire for breakfast. The sign outside of Burger Shire reads, “Now Serving 2nd Breakfast”. This is a reference to The Lord of the Rings and the fact that hobbits eat six meals a day.
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragon tells Pippin and Merry that they do not stop until nightfall and Pippin asks, “What about breakfast”. After Aragon says, “What about breakfast?”, Pippin responds by saying, “We’ve had one, yes. What about second breakfast?”
We also see other stores in the movie such as “Sword in the Scone” which is a clear reference to the Disney movie, The Sword in the Stone.
The Drinks in the Film Reference Lord of the Rings
There’s another Lord of the Rings reference in the gas station store that the pixies raid. In the background, next to the drink machine, there’s a neon sign that has a picture of mountains and the words “Misty Light”. Although you might think this is a reference to Coor’s Light, it’s actually a nod to the Misty Mountains from Lord of the Rings.
In this scene and throughout the movie, you can also spot a can of soda called “Mountain Doom”. Although it sounds like a play on Mountain Dew, it’s actually a reference to Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. Mount Doom was a volcano in Mordor where the “One Ring” was forged.
There are other store-bought items throughout the movie that act as Easter eggs too. For example, in the beginning of the film we get a glimpse of the Lightfoot’s kitchen and there’s dish soap that’s called “Aurora”, a likely reference to Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.
D&D and Yen Sid Reference
Barley references his book, the Quests of Yore to provide Ian with spells. This book is mirrored off a Dungeons & Dragons book and gives a big nod to the game. In fact, there’s another D&D reference when Barley talks about the “gelatinous cube” – this is a fictional character from D&D and even looks similar to the one we see at the end of the movie.
If you look at the wizard that’s in the photo for the Growth Spell, he also might seem eerily familiar to you. He looks like a one-eyed Yen Sid from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Sorcerer Mickey Hat in the Manticore’s Tavern
There’s a lot going on in the Manticore’s Tavern so you might have missed out on one of the cutest Easter eggs in the film. Most of the employees in the tavern as well as some of the customers are wearing blue hats with stars on it, much like the hat Mickey wears in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Arcane Lightning References World of Warcraft
The hardest spell for Ian to master was called “Arcane Lightning”. This spell was pulled straight out of World of Warcraft.
Puddle of Mush Poster in Ian’s Bedroom
You most likely noticed the Puddle of Mush poster in Ian’s bedroom. This is obviously a nod to the band “Puddle of Mud”
Foreshadowing the End of the Movie
There are lot of things in the beginning of the movie that foreshadow the end of the film. For example, in Ian’s room, you might have caught a glimpse of a figurine made of bones. This figurine looks like a dinosaur with wings and horns on its head, much like the dragon that appears at the end of the film.
Ian’s living room also has a clock that resembles a green lizard with big eyes. It looks a lot like the owner of the pawn shop that we see later on.
At the beginning of the movie, we learn about a time when magic was once appreciated. The spells that the wizard uses in this flashback are exactly the same ones Ian learns later on in the movie.
The References to Mythical Lore
Throughout the movie, there’s a lot of references to mythology and ancient lore. Guinevere, the name of Barley’s car, is a reference to King Arthur’s wife. When Barley sacrifices her for their quest, he wishes that she will be accepted in Valhalla, which is known in Norse mythology as the place where those that die in combat go upon their passing.
Next to Barley’s car radio, there’s a logo that says “Siren”. This is a clever nod to the mythical creatures that lure sailors with their singing and music. It’s very fitting to put it right next to Barley’s radio.
Barley’s vest is also full of mythological references. He has a patch that says Hydra, a serpent-like monster from Greek mythology, and one that says Hades, the god of the underworld.
We have a 113 In Progress
The number 113 can be found in every Pixar movie. This is because Room A113 at the California Institution of Arts is where many Pixar and Disney animators learned their craft.
In Onward, you can spot the reference to A113 at the end of the movie when Office Colt Bronco rushes out of the Lightfoot house because there’s “a 113 in progress”.
BONUS – Onward Easter Egg in Toy Story 4
Every Pixar movie includes an Easter egg about the next upcoming film. Therefore, there was an Easter egg in Toy Story 4 that foreshadowed Onward.
This Easter egg is extremely hard to find, but can be seen at the fair that the toys visit. One of the bouncy castles in the fair has a unicorn on it, that looks exactly like the one that’s found on Barley’s van.
Now, that means that Onward should have had an Easter egg for the movie, Soul. However, I wasn’t able to find it. Let me know if you found the coveted Easter egg, and I’ll add it to the list!
Did you find any other Easter eggs, hidden reference, or secrets in Onward? Let me know in the comments!