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The brothers' dad was a complete jerk.
Laura simply didn't want them to know how awful he was and lied by telling nice but false stories of him after he died.
  • Better yet, he's actually the villain of the film, and the brothers will have to stop him from returning.
  • Jossed.

The movie will have No Antagonist.
It's become a recent trend for Disney movies to lack a Big Bad, and the conflict will instead just be a Race Against the Clock for Ian and Barley to bring their dad Back from the Dead.
  • Mostly confirmed, though the curse dragon is definitely a threat to the heroes.

The pool mermaid is Ian's love interest
She'll be the one who convinces him to go on the quest to find magic.
  • Doubtful. She seems to be a one note background character, created solely to establish world building in the trailers. I haven't found anything that suggested that she will have any screen-time, beyond a wordless, few second cameo in the final film. If she even appears at all. However, I will be pleasantly surprised if she has any role in the movie, as I personally really liked her character design.
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  • Jossed, she's only a cameo.

One of brothers will die or get grievously injured but will be healed by the other.
The brother that finds the magic will use it to revive or heal their sibling instead of getting their father back.
  • Jossed.

The torch that Ian has in the teaser poster is a depowered wizard staff.
  • Jossed.

Ian and Barley's van will be destroyed at some point in the movie.
It'll force them to continue the quest on foot.
  • Confirmed.

Laura is a Stepford Smiler.
Related to the dad being a jerk WMG above. She puts on a cheerful attitude for her kids but in reality is actually deeply depressed about lying to them.
  • Semi-jossed. She seems to be in a new relationship and is still a kind mother, but deep down, she's still sad about losing her husband.

Barley will play licensed music throughout the film as a homage to his actor's previous role.
Some possible choices are
  • Magic by The Cars (it's already in the teaser trailer)
  • We Built This City by Starship
  • I'm Gonna Be 500 Miles by The Proclaimers
  • Beat It by Michael Jackson
  • Radio Ga Ga by Queen
  • Let's Dance by David Bowie
  • The Final Countdown by Europe
  • Blitzkrieg Bop by Ramones
  • I Ran by A Flock Of Seagulls
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  • Policy Of Truth by Depeche Mode

Well, in the third trailer, we see that Barley has a "Quest Mix" mixtape, so possibly confirmed?

Magic is almost universally seen as a myth to most of the denizens of this world.
Barley is one of the few that openly believes in it due to being an adventure junkie. Here believing magic exists is akin to believing in ghosts or aliens.
  • Confirmed.
  • Well, maybe. It's not really clear how many people in this world outright deny that magic ever existed. It could just be that magic is seen as a historical curiosity at best and largely irrelevant to modern life, and so those who still show vested interest in it are widely viewed as weird and out-of-touch (similar to how some people in Real Life react to those who are passionate about, say, medieval history or palaeontology).

The father will be voiced by John Ratzenburger.
As of the third trailer, Jossed.

  • The movie itself josses it as well. John Ratzenburger voices a random construction guy.

If uncorns and pegasus really are like raccons or rats.
Then there is bound to be people that think they are cute and domesticate them to have as pets. That's why Barley has one on his van, he thinks they're cool.

Alicorns are equivalent to bears
Given that unlike unicorns/raccoons these critters can fly AND also have a horn, hey seem more like a serious threat. This could be fun determining what other magical creatures make up the fauna of the film’s universe.

  • Jossed. They still call them "unicorns" and they act like pests.

Alternatively magic really doesn't exist.
Ian and Barley will just have learn that they have to accept their situation as it is.
  • Jossed, it's real.

It will be rated PG.
Considering it's about two teenaged guys on a road trip we should expect some cruder humor than usual.

Laura will find a second love at the ending.
  • Confirmed, more or less. From the start, she's shown to be in a relationship with a centaur cop.

This does fit in the Pixar theory.
It's just on a different planet.
  • Alternatively, it's set sometime between A Bug's Life and the Monsters franchise, and all of the characters are ancestral to the monsters, being mutated hybrids between various animal species.

Ian will abandon Barley at some point.
The movie is about a duo, so some separation must happen eventually. My guess is, after a big failure that wears both of them down emotionally, Ian will lose his patience and calls Barley out on his belief in magic still existing, saying it's stupid, and decides to go home. Barley will either still try to go on determined, or just gives up, until he realizes something that gives him hope again.
  • Or, since a curse is mentioned, perhaps if Ian leaves, he will remember the curse. If Barley is still trying to bring back their dad, Ian will realize that Barley is in danger and go back for him.
  • Confirmed, though he soon returns to Barley.

Barley will be Promoted to Parent at the end of the film.
The brothers will fail at finding their father, but Ian realizes that Barley is just as good a Parental Substitute.
  • Fully confirmed.

The brothers find a recording of their dad...
...but it turns out to be short and disappointing.
  • Jossed.

The world never stopped being magical.

Magic can never exist because whenever people learn something new, we define it as science, explain it, and dismiss its wonder. Hence electricity, radio, and chemistry, while all capable of producing effects people would one time have called "magic," are defined as normal and unmagical.

I theorize that the "Onward" world in fact has physics that differs substantially from our own, it's just been "scientized" and thus, for most people, lacks wonder. (Just like the unicorns are seen as mundane pests.) The plot of Onward will center around realizing that the world is wondrous as it is and magic was there all along.

Essentially, they will experience the Mooreeffoc effect: the realization that the mundane is actually mysterious and wonderful, if seen from a new angle.

To cement this theme, the "magic" that the brothers discover will be something that our world would consider completely ordinary and mundane.

Beside the unicorns and the dragons, there will be other fantasy animals taking the place of mundane species.
  • Manticores take the place of house cats. They look like cats except for their scorpion tails and bat wings.
    • This is jossed. Octavia Spencer voices Corey, a manticore who gives the boys guidance on their journey. This indicates the Manticores are full-blown sapient creatures and not housecat-like pets.
      • Unless she’s an outlier for her species. Bakeneko might be good choices as these sorts of pets too.
      • She could easily be a rare talking manticore, with the boys getting surprised that a manticore can talk.
  • Griffins are also popular pets. Their behaviour is a mix of cats and parakeets. Non-domesticated griffins also exist and hunt for wild unicorns as well as jackalopes.
    • Somewhat jossed since the third trailer mentioned "griffin nuggets" being served at the tavern where Corey works in. This leads to the idea that griffins are farmed and domesticated like chickens.
    • This doesn't necessarily mean the aforementioned idea is entirely untrue, of course. After all, chickens are sometimes kept as pets in real life.
    • Or "Griffin Nuggets" could just be a name and not made of actual griffins.
  • Phoenixes are common birds like sparrows and pigeons. They cause a lot of annoyance by spontaneously combusting and setting houses on fire. Thunderbirds are also common birds that occasionally cause electric discharges.
  • Basilisks are pests living in sewers and pipes. They have petrifying gazes, but they can be blocked by something as simple as sunglasses, and the petrification can easily be cured by an antidote.
  • Sea serpents are common in lakes. "Serpenting" is a popular parent-child bonding activity. The hydra is a multi-headed variant of the sea serpent and is considered an extremely valuable catch.
    • Sazae-Oni, Ningyo, Kraken, Jenny Hannivers, and Monkfish are also fished.
  • Chupacabras are small creatures that reside in caves and go out at night to mundanely leech blood off of livestock, taking the place of vampire bats.
  • Kappa replace turtles. They are a little faster than turtles and are rather rambunctious, but otherwise aren't a threat. People often toss slices of cucumber their way, since they'll otherwise smell them out and try and get to them if there aren't any around, though most kappas live within proximity to naturally growing cucumbers.
    • They could be sapient in the world’s equivalent of Japan.
  • Perytons replace deer. Other than flight, they serve the same function and are simply pastel colored instead of feathered. Since they live in forests, they haven't gone entirely the way the unicorns have and mostly retreat when the humanoids come near.
  • Jackalopes take the place of rabbits, practically identical to them apart from their antlers.
  • As mentioned above, Alicorns are more dangerous pests to deal with than unicorns, due to them being able to fly.
    • But all the unicorns seen already have wings. Where's the distinction?
      • They’re bigger?
  • Ants are still ants...but in a nod to some myths, ants don't collect bits of food or sugar, but gold. When ants bother humanoids, it's because they are attracted to their jewelry.
  • Kongamato are a species of large bird that peacefully wade in swamps until humanoids intrude on their marked territory and ward them off with their lightly fanged bills.
  • Tanuki fill more or less the same niche as real-life raccoon dogs, but have the shapeshifting powers Japanese folklore attributes to them.
  • Frogs exist just like in real life, but many of them wear little golden crowns. Although tradition says these crowned frogs are elven princes and princesses who have been bewitched, kissing them does nothing (since magic is established to no longer exist).
  • The Catoblepas and Bonnacon are both common herd animals, as are creatures such as the Squonk, Barometz, etc.
  • Much like how wolves exist alongside dogs, wild dragons still exist and are a massive danger, especially to ranchers. Several kinds would also exist, such as wyverns taking the place of coyotes.
    • Seemingly confirmed. In a TV spot, we see something Barley describes as a "wolf dragon", confirming wild dragons exist.
  • Yales/Centicores are domesticated like cattle, sheep, and goats, although farmers need to take precautions with their rotating horns.
  • Much like the Barometz above, many magical plants and fungi exist in the world. Mandrakes are gopher-like garden pests, for one thing.
  • Ahuizotl are a common sight at the zoo. They are similar to mandrills. Wild Ahuizotl can be dangerous, though.
  • The second trailer also implies some conventional animals, namely wild boar, still exist, as shown on a product called “Wild Boar Sticks” being sold at a gas station.
  • Youkai is commonplace in the world’s version of Japan, and most could be sapient over there. This would also apply to various other parts of the world. There would, for example, be a population of intelligent Barbegazi largely restricted to the Alpine regions.
  • Tatzelwurms are a rare breed of poisonous dragons who only appear in the wild. Their venom is extremely dangerous, but also a valuable ingredient for magic elixirs. As such, magic users actively sought them out before technology made the uses for the venom obsolete, and they have since faded into obscurity.
  • Nachtkrapps are a species of unicorn-sized ravens. They are known for being drawn to places strikes with deadly diseases, since they're scavengers that prey on corpses of humanoids and other animals. They have a major weakness though; they have extremely poor eyesight, which often results in them flying into mountainsides and airplanes, which often kills them.
  • Karkadanns take the place of rhinos and share a distant very, very, very evolutionary ancestor with unicorns. Their horns are able to be ground up and made into an ingredient for healing potions, resulting in many of their number having been hunted and killed in the past, which was not an easy task due to them possessing dark, hard, scales even stronger than most dragon's. Since then, modern medicine has replaced the need for their horns to be used to heal the sick, and the species has been saved from extinction.
  • Qilins are the cousins of unicorns.
  • Astronauts will eventually land on the moon's of the planet (that is, if they haven't already that is) and discover that one of them is home to a species of rabbits that are capable of living on the moon. They will naturally be named Moon Rabbits, and they'll be found to subsist on a the seeds of a short, white and gray grass that grows on the moon. What's more, it'll be discovered that the grass and the moon rabbits may not be native to the moon, with evidence suggesting they were placed on it by a humanoid female from beyond the stars.

Practicing magic is actually illegal
That's why at one point, in the official trailer, Ian and Barley are in a car chase with cops.
  • Somewhat jossed by some of the trailer footage, which implies they're in trouble for burning down the restaurant Corey works at. The international trailer also states that the decline of magic is more due to it being supplanted by technology, which is comparatively easier to use.
  • Completely jossed by the movie. Science made magic obsolete and is dismissed due to progress and modern convenience. Magic still exists in the world, but their magical heritage has atrophied from disuse (pixies riding motorcycles instead of flying, centaurs driving cars instead of running, etc). The fact that Ian is basically a practicing wizard by the end of the movie is only seen as mildly impressive by his classmates.

The person they partially bring back isn't their father...
(Insert additional ones here)...but their stepfather.
  • Jossed

Barley is a Power Metal Fan
He's likely a fantasy fan, based on referring to their search for their father as a quest, and wears fashion similar to Heavy Metal fashion, and Power Metal is often about fantasy

Griffins provide all real-world livestock services/goods

Meat is known from a trailer where “griffin nuggets” are presented, but also, since griffins have mammal and bird attributes in addition to their bulk;

  • Eggs and milk are both produced by them, along with fur, leather, and down.
  • Due to their strength, they can be used as handy draught animals. They may also be able to find truffles.
  • Perhaps even fighting an adult male griffin is considered a fun sport for those in the mood for bloodsports?

The film may or may not have a main villain in it.
From what I've seen in the trailer so far, the only things close to villains are that fairy gang who go after Ian and Barley. And then there's also a monster made out of debris.

Trust me, the last thing I want from Pixar is a film that has No Antagonist in it.

Corey will be the Hidden Villain
She didn’t forget to tell the brothers about the curse, she was waiting for an opportunity to get their staff because there may be some connection between it and her. She may want it to return to her status as a powerful warrior as opposed to the manager of a family restaurant.

Blazey will be an advertised extra.
Blazey, like Pua and Fit-It Felix Jr. and Sergeant Calhoun before her, will only appear in the beginning and end of the film.
  • Confirmed.

The movie's setting and characters will appear in the next Kingdom Hearts game.
Come on, it would be perfect, given all the magic and fantastic races there are. They could even turn Sora into an elf similar to Ian and Barley!

Disney will release this film on Disney+ early
With the coronavirus pandemic, it's unlikely it will make too much more money. And families could use the help. They already released Frozen 2 and The Rise of Skywalker early, so it seems likely.
  • Confirmed. Due to the coronavirus Disney+ will release it on April 3rd 2020,only 4 weeks after its theatrical debut.

Magic is a major reason elves consider 16 a major rite of passage.
Back when magic was a big thing, it was widely known that elves with magical abilities fully came into their abilities at 16 and for simplicity's sake, it was decided that elves period came of age at 16. As magic faded away, the tradition stuck. This would also explain why Wilden wanted to wait until both boys were at least 16 so there was a greater chance that they could cast the spell. This actually also explains why Ian struggles with magic like he does; since he has no training, his magic is going haywire and only is as controlled as it is because of his personality.

Barley can do magic, he just did the Visitation spell wrong
The spell clearly states "til tomorrow sun has set, one day to walk the Earth." That means you have to perform the spell at sunset in order to make it last one whole day till the next sunset. Barley could still have magic capabilities, he just performed the spell too early for it to work. So he could try other spells to determine for sure.

Ian will get another chance to meet his dad one day
  • More young people like Ian and Bartley will start taking interest in magic, appreciating its wonder as opposed to giving up on it like their ancestors, and soon it trends in popularity. Eventually The Magic Comes Back, leading to the rise in potions, spells, etc. that can accomplish things modern technology couldn't (such as raising the dead...)
  • Taking the The Pixar Theory into account, Ian, after a good long life, will finally meet his dad in the Land of the Dead.

Mermaids live in an underwater city similar to Bikini Bottom or the city in Shark Tale.
We only see one modern day mermaid in the film as a cameo who can be Handwaved as just a visitor. A part from that, we literally see no other mermaids throughout the rest of the film. It's possible they live in underwater places since they can't do much on dry land, but have found a way to visit the land occasionally.