More interested in science than the circus, Milly can't help but adore the newest member of their circus family — a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a misfit. When he takes flight, her natural curiosity soars right along with him.
Behind the scenes
Nico Parker was cast to make her big-screen debut as Milly. Although her character isn't into the circus, she found that she was. "The Medici Circus is amazing," she says. "There are some incredibly talented people: contortionists and knife-throwers and jugglers—people who have balls on their heads and just dance around. There's such a vast palette of talents throughout the whole circus, and it really is incredible to see how they do everything."
Milly and Joe form a serious bond with Dumbo, stepping in, in many ways, as Timothy Q. Mouse from the original animated film. "Milly and Joe show him that they're always there for him, even when he doesn't believe in himself," says Parker. "They're so immensely proud of him. Even when he isn't proud of himself, they make sure he knows he's incredible. Also, they know what it's like to lose a mother, so they constantly sympathize with what he's going through."
According to producer Derek Frey, while both Nico and Finley Hobbins, who plays Joe, are truly talented, it's the combination on that makes magic. "When we got Finley and Nico together, it was very clear that the two of them could create the emotional core of the story, which really revolves around the two of them and their relationship to Dumbo."
Role in the film
As Joe and Milly are happy to see Holt back, they find out that he didn't see them for a long time. During a conversation with Max Medici, he explains to Holt that he wouldn't want to be a show-off in the circus if only Milly would do the trade to which she decides she would do scientific discoveries while Joe explains that he can do handstands for ten seconds, just as Max explains that the circus will be bankrupt by July.
The next day, Joe and Milly wake up Holt, explaining that the elephants need them just as they approach an animal handler named Rufus Sorghum to which doing a conversation between him and Holt is interrupted when Milly and Joe notice what is wrong with Mrs. Jumbo. They later find out that she gave birth to a calf named Jumbo Junior as everyone reacts upon discovering him just as Max gives Holt a deadline to take care of him by two weeks. Later, Joe and Milly tell him that he is part of the circus family just as they take care of him. During a conversation with Max, they tell about the tricks they taught him to do. He tells them to leave him alone.
During a circus act, Joe and Milly gaze upon Holt trying to protect Dumbo, as he is now called, from the audience just as he tries to calm Mrs. Jumbo. As she goes on a rampage across the tent, Holt, Joe, and Milly retreat from her They notice her being taken away from the circus for being a mad elephant the night before, separating Dumbo from her just as Holt, Joe, Milly, and the circus performers react to them being separated. That night, Milly and Joe comfort a lonely Dumbo in shelter just as they notice him flapping his ears due to the feathers he inhaled. They react to this and decide to add him during the next act in which he is made into a clown during a clown act so the circus can earn more money.
During the act, Holt, Joe, and Milly react in shock when Dumbo is about to fall off the collapsing platform. As Joe tells him to fly, Milly tells him that he can't do so without a feather, so Joe gets one from a dove's cage and gives it to Milly who then gives it to Dumbo so he can fly. The act, however, is a success as Dumbo flies across the tent and everyone reacts in awe.
The next day as the circus is traveling to Arkansas, Holt cleans Dumbo's pen while Max tells businessman V.A. Vandevere that it is Joe and Milly who taught Dumbo how to fly and that he is taking his circus to an amusement park called Dreamland. Holt, Joe, Milly, and the performers travel there as part of Vandevere's plan. Arriving there, Colette Marchant tells Joe and Milly to know how to make Dumbo fly, to which it is explained that he needs a feather in order to do so During a conversation between Vandervere and Colette, he tells her that Milly will show her how her act with Dumbo works with help from Joe. Joe and Milly then watch it which turns out to be a failure because Dumbo flew out of the arena. They arrive at the spot where Mrs. Jumbo (dubbed as "Kali the Destroyer") is displayed, much to Vandevere and Neils Skellig's chagrin and Holt's empty protests. As Holt, Joe, and Milly arrive at Vandevere Enterprises, Joe and Milly explain about Dumbo wanting Mrs. Jumbo back but Vandevere refuses much to his plan.
With the whole troupe fired, Holt, Joe, Milly, and the performers plan to rescue Dumbo by releasing him alongside Mrs. Jumbo. As Max, Neils, and Vandervere arrive at the backstage area, they spot Joe and Milly who are planning to escape while Holt manages to rip open part of the tent to rescue Dumbo, much to Vandevere doing his evil plans to arrest Joe and Milly. Later while they are surrounded by Neils inside the tent as the fire blocks the exit, Holt comes to the rescue on his horse and captures him. Furthermore, Dumbo manages to rescue Joe and Milly and extinguish the fire. Holt, Joe, and Milly manage to escape from the tent as Dumbo escapes from Dreamland.
Flying across the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan (alluding to one of the newspaper articles from the end of the original film), Holt, Joe, Milly, and the performers arrive at the port to bid Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo farewell before they're releases into the wild.
When the circus is re-established as the Medici Family Circus with a new policy to not include wild animals, a building known as "Milly Farrier's World of Wonders" is built while Joe rides a bronco made of acrobats and Holt and Colette perform by riding on his horse where Max describes him as a future cowboy.