Pixar’s Upcoming Film ‘Onward’ is Facing a Lawsuit

Pixar’s much-awaited film, Onward, will hit theaters on March 6. In the animated feature, two elf brothers take the world by storm to connect with their dead father. At the center of their adventure is a van, decorated with a unicorn on the side. The van is the vehicle that will take the brothers on their animated journey to understand their family. There is one problem though, a San Francisco artist is accusing Pixar and Disney of using an animated version of her custom van without her permission, and the evidence is pretty compelling.

Cicely Daniher has filed a lawsuit against Disney and Pixar

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the artist, Cicely Daniher, never gave Pixar permission to use images of her “vanicorn” in the upcoming film.  She argues that Pixar was well aware of her vehicle when they began producing Onward. In fact, the artist and the animation studio actually have a history.

According to legal documents, Pixar actually rented out the van in question as a showpiece at a music festival. Daniher also alleges that Onward producer, Kori Rae, reached out to her after Daniher began posting to social media about the similarities between the van in Onward and her own personal vehicle. She claims that Rae told her that the company rented the car under false pretenses and never disclosed the actual reason they wanted to use the van.

The complaint was filed under copyright infringement. In the filed paperwork, Daniher’s legal team stated that Daniher’s vanicorn “had been pilfered by the Defendants as a commercial and corporate conduit for the aspirations of a pair of blue boy elves looking for their father in a mass marketed Disney film, and was accomplished by the Defendants under wickedly misleading pretenses,” 

Disney has not responded to the accusations

Disney and Pixar have not yet responded to the complaint, and have refused to give a public statement regarding the similarities between the vehicle that the elf brothers use, and Daniher’s personal vehicle. This is not the first time the beloved animation studio is facing copyright infringement allegations, though. In fact, they faced three separate lawsuits over one movie.

Pixar faced three separate lawsuits after the release of their 2015 hit, Inside Out. According to The Wrap, a man by the name of Damon Pourshian filed a lawsuit in 2018 alleging that there were striking similarities between a script he produced while in college and the film. Pourshian alleged that he created the story and a short film related to the script while he was a student at Sheridan College. He believed several of his classmates went on to work for Disney and Pixar and may have stolen his idea. It was the last of three lawsuits regarding the film.

What is Onward about?

Starring Tom Holand and Chris Pratt, Onward, is Pixar’s attempt to return to its roots. The animated feature will be the first original content produced by Pixar since 2017. The movie will follow Ian and Barely Lightfoot as they attempt to link up with their deceived father.

The film is set in a magical world, and Ian and Barley, voiced by Holland and Pratt, respectively, are elves. The movie is as much about magic as it is about familial ties. Based on the premise, it looks like Pixar will be tugging at the heartstrings of fans, much like they did with Wall-E, Up, and Inside Out.

Whether or not the pending lawsuit will delay the film’s release is unknown. Disney and Pixar have yet to comment on any changed plans. As of now, the release date remains set for March 6, 2020.