Ian Lightfoot is an elf who serves as the protagonist of the 2020 DisneyPixar animated feature film, Onward.



Ian has a kind, caring personality where he loves both his mother and brother. However, as a result of not knowing his father at a young age, Ian developed an awkward personality where he was afraid to try almost everything. This led Ian to be unconfident in his capabilities to do anything, despite him striving to be like his father whom he admired so much.

Despite Ian loving his brother Barley who was his polar opposite, Ian was secretly annoyed with his brother's antics and had a hard time going along with Barley and his ideas. However, over the course of their journey, Ian's bond with Barley grew stronger and realized that although he may never knew his father, Barley was the one who helped and guided Ian throughout his life.

After the brothers' adventure, Ian became more confident and social where he made new friends, accepted his mother's new boyfriend (who he despised in the beginning) and spent more time with his older brother.

Ultimately, his yearning for his father, while understandable, led to the development of his greatest flaw, which is his lack of appreciation for the worthwhile things he already had. His other shortcomings stem from this core trait, from the somewhat distant, if loving, relationship with his brother and mother, to his resentment for his stepfather, to his low self-esteem and social anxiety. In the end, it was by letting go of his father and the expectation that he had to be like him that he grew unto his own.

Physical Appearance

Ian is a blue elf with dark blue fuzzy hair, brown eyes, and pale pointy elf ears.

Ian wears a plaid red long-sleeved shirt with old blue jeans and blue sneakers.

Ian bears a resemblance to his late father, Wilden Lightfoot.


  • Driving: Initially, Ian was afraid of driving, particularly of driving on the highway that he couldn't merge into the lanes. After a trial-by-fire of escaping the Pixie Dusters and with Barley's help, he managed to not only overcome his doubts of driving but also become an excellent driver, enough to temporarily elude the police.
  • Magic: According to Barley, in order to wield Magic, one must have an affinity for it, as Ian discovered when he accidentally cast the Visitation Spell to bring back their father. However, due to not being prepared and Barley's attempt to help, the spell only worked halfway, bringing only their father's legs and waist back. To prepare to cast the spell again, Barley had Ian practice spells from his "Quest of Yore" book, and Ian eventually mastered the following spells:
    • Aloft Elevar - Levitation Spell
    • Accelior - Velocity Spell
    • Boom Bastia - Fireworks Spell
    • Magnora Gantuan - Growth Spell
    • Flame Infernar - Fire Spell
    • Illusio Facadis - Disguise Spell
    • Bridgrigar Invisia - Trust Bridge Spell
    • Voltar Thundasir - Arcane Lightning

Role in the film

Ian, along with his brother Barley, first appears at the beginning of the film where it is explained that the elf brothers' father passed away before Ian was born. Ian, however, still thinks about his late father while spending his life in high school self-confidently as he continuously thinks about his father. On his sixteenth birthday, Ian and his brother Barley receive gifts from Laurel which are his father's magical staff, a Phoenix Gem, and a letter that gives instructions to use a visitation spell. Ian then uses the spell accidentally to resurrect his late father, but only half of his body is shown, leaving it incomplete as the gem disintegrates. He and Barley go on a quest to find another Phoenix Gem in order to complete his plan to revive his father.

On their way, Barley gives out clues to help find the gem Ian is looking for to which the two go to the Manticore's Tavern where they encounter Corey who would help the elves find the gem. Corey, however, refuses to at first. When she remembers the quote she sees in the tavern, she drives the customers away but accidentally sets the tavern on fire just as the brothers argue over the map that ultimately gets destroyed during the fire. Upon escaping, the only surviving clue Ian and Barley obtained during the fire was a kid's menu from the tavern to which the clue is linked to the Phoenix Gem at Raven's Point.

On their way to the mountains of Raven's Point, Ian and Barley run out of gas for their van so they go to the Swamp Gas area to get their fuel refilled to continue their quest. However, the two are chased by a gang of hostile motorcycle fairies known as the Pixie Dusters. Throughout the chase, they are able to escape from the group of fairies but the police officers Specter and Gore notice this chagrin between the elf brothers and the Pixie Dusters. To avoid getting arrested, Ian and Barley disguise themselves as Colt Bronco in order to avoid getting arrested by the police to which they are able to do so by distracting them. Finally on their way to the Phoenix Gem, the brothers encounter a trail of raven statues at the area. On their way, Colt follows them and tells them that they will be arrested for breaking the law to which they are able to avoid getting arrested to which Ian and Barley sacrifice their van in order to avoid getting arrested by Colt and his police squad, causing debris to fall on their path.

Surviving a dangerous gauntlet of obstacles, Ian and Barley look at the prophecy of finding the Phoenix Gem to which they overcome a deadly gauntlet and reach the top of the mountain, only to find out the same place the brothers are at is by the high school. Ian and Barley argue over their quest which led to nothing as they could not find the gem, leading Ian to spend the last moments with his late father before sunset. Barley, however, manages to insert a flower-shaped piece into the fountain he was attempting to defend earlier, which causes a Phoenix Gem to emerge and unleash a curse that summons a dragon. Ian and Barley notice the dragon sculpture fighting them to which during battle, Ian loses the wizard staff as it gets knocked into the ocean. However, he receives a replacement of it through a splinter as he continues to use it to complete the full body of his late father.

Corey and Laurel fight off the enormous dragon sculpture just as Ian gets a chance to continue reviving his late father, finally completing this quest before sunset. With the dragon destroyed, Barley spends his last moments with his father just before he passes away once again. Barley then congratulates Ian that his father is proud of him for bringing back magic once again to the modern society.

During the epilogue, Ian continues improving in spell-casting just as his brother paints in a new van called "Guinevere 2" where he and Barley continue quests with the magic restored back to the society.


  • This is Tom Holland's first animated role in a Pixar film.
  • His appearance reminded many people of Alfredo Linguini's appearance.
  • His nose is very similar to Tom Holland's other animated character, Walter Beckett.
  • Ian greatly resembles his father in appearance and in personality.
  • He shares similarities between the 2003/2009 Fullmetal Alchemist character: Alphonse Elric.
    • Both are younger siblings.
    • Both are calm and passive disposition exists as a foil to their older brother's more abrasive personality.


v - e - d
Onward logo render
Disney Parks
Parade: Pixar Water Play Street Party!
Ian LightfootBarley LightfootLaurel LightfootWilden LightfootBlazeyUnicornsDewdrop • Pixie Dusters • TrollsCentaursMermaids • Fauns • Corey the ManticoreColt BroncoGoreSpecterThe Curse DragonGrecklin
New Mushroomton • Lightfoot House • Manticore's Tavern
Wizard StaffPhoenix Gem GuinevereCurse CrusherQuests of Yore
Carried Me With You

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