Wilden Lightfoot is an elf in the 2020 Disney/Pixar animated feature film, Onward. He is the father of Ian and Barley Lightfoot, and the husband of Laurel Lightfoot. Though he passed away by an unspecified illness when Barley was a toddler and before Ian was born, he left his sons a staff and a spell he wrote to bring him back for a day when Ian turns 16 years old so that he could see what they had become.
In times of old, Wilden Lightfoot was a powerful wizard who cast spells to create magic in the world. After times changed, Wilden attended to Willowdale College as a bold student (according to his aside college friend Gaxton). Later on Wilden became an accountant just before he met, dated, and eventually happily married Laurel and then had their first son with her, Barley.
A few years later, Wilden suffered a sudden illness just as Laurel was pregnant with their second son, Ian. According to Laurel, Wilden fought the sickness as hard as he could so that he can meet his second son but the sickness won. So before his passing, Wilden made a visitation spell and asked Laurel to give their sons a wizard staff when they are both over 16 so they both can bring him back for a day and see what they have become.
Role in the film
Prior to the mythical world having a modern society setting, Wilden watched over the land of mythical creatures as a wizard until magic was slowly, but surely passed over with rising technology and modern conveniences. In the time where Ian and Barley are in a modern society format, it is later found out that the sweatshirt he is wearing once belonged to his father who went to Willowdale College with Gaxton before his death. Back at home, Ian tries to claim that his father is a wizard, to which his mother Laurel denies telling him that his father was an accountant. Ian also listens to audiotapes of Wilden's voice on a radio to remind him of his father before his death.
On Ian's sixteenth birthday, Laurel gives him the clues to bring magic back to New Mushroomton, which are a Wizard Staff, rare Phoenix Gem, and Visitation Spell that can resurrect Wilden for only one day. Ian uses the spell to resurrect his deceased father, but due to Barley's accidental interruption, only the lower half of Wilden's body is physically restored before the Phoenix Gem disintegrates. In order to completely restore Wilden's full body, Ian has to find another Phoenix Gem before sunset in 24 hours before he fades away forever. Throughout the journey, Ian, Barley, and their father go on a quest to find another Phoenix Gem by going to the Manticore to find clues for the two, in which the Phoenix Gem found at Raven's Point serves as another clue for them after the only remaining clue from the tavern caught on fire is the kid's menu.
At the Swamp Gas area, Wilden and his sons arrive there and encounter various hostile fairies known as the Pixie Dusters who then chase the elf brothers and their father across the freeway to which they manage to avoid getting defeated. Later during an argument with Ian and Barley by a soda vending machine where Barley attempts to get some Elixir drink, their argument is interrupted when Ian and Barley dance with their father with the music playing in Barley's van. The brothers and their father manage to get back on their van to continue their quest.
Arriving at Raven's Point, Ian, Barley, and their father later arrive where they deal with Colt Bronco's police force in which Barley sacrifices Guinevere in order to avoid getting arrested by Colt. The elf brothers and their father encounter a very deadly gauntlet in Raven's Point to which during it, the three encounter a gelatinous cube which disintegrates Wilden's temporary body and cap, leaving only his surviving legs. After surviving it, Ian realizes the top of the hill where the Phoenix Gem would be at is by the high school Ian went to before he went on a quest with Barley. Thinking the two failed, Ian becomes very upset and decides to spend his last moments with his father before he passes away again.
However, Barley finds out the Phoenix Gem was hidden in the same fountain the whole time after using a flower-shaped piece from one of the raven statues in which Barley finds a Phoenix Gem required for Ian to fully restore his late father back. However, after Barley obtains the gem, it unleashes a curse and causes an enormous dragon sculpture to appear and prepares to kill the elf brothers. While Ian tries to fend off the dragon sculpture, his staff gets knocked from his grip as the staff falls into the ocean, causing him to lose the staff required to restore his late father. Ian is able to restore the staff from a splinter he got by making it grow into a new staff just as Corey, Laurel, and Barley continue fighting the dragon sculpture which later weakens. With the dragon weakened, Ian continues using his father's wizard staff to finally restore his late father before sunset which finally fully restores his body and finally reviving him. Wilden and Barley talk briefly, where Wilden mentions he always thought he'd be called "Wilden the Whimsical", and helped Barley find closure before giving him a hug and fading away with the sunset. Barley then gives Ian a hug from their father after telling him how proud their dad is of them.
After Ian completes his quest, Barley praises Ian that he is proud of him for restoring his late father before he fades away, bringing magic back to the world once again.
- According to Barley, his beard was scratchy and he had a goofy laugh.
- His sons describe their father to be a terrible dancer.
- He narrates the opening of Onward.
- It is confirmed in the Disney+ and Blu-ray/DVD captioning that Wilden and the wizard in the opening are the same one as they are both elves who can do magic.
- He always thought that his wizard name would be “Wilden the Whimsical“.
- He shares similarities between the 2003/2009 Fullmetal Alchemist character: Trisha Elric.
- Both are parents of two brothers.
- Both passed away from a severe unspecified illness.