Who and What is the Manticore in Pixar’s Onward (Voiced by Octavia Spencer)?

In Pixar’s Onward, a Manticore (mythological creature) will help Ian & Barley Lightfoot along their journey, but what is the Cave of a Thousand Heroes
Pixar Onward Manticore

During this year’s D23 Expo (Disney’s biennial fan expo) a fantastic new poster for Pixar’s Onward was revealed highlighting a series of pins and patches adorned to a denim coat. Not only was the poster visually appealing, but each individual piece was a representation of a story element.

One particular patch of a winged bat-like creature (which is pictured below and showcased in the latest Onward teaser trailer) featuring the head of a lion really stood out amongst the rest and made us wonder, “who is that?” During the 8-minute screening of the film at the D23 Expo, Dan Scanlon (director) shared that Octavia Spencer would voice a character known as Manticore — we immediately started diving in a little further.

It turns out that the Manticore is based on a Persian mythological creature that has combined various animal elements throughout its history — but Pixar has landed on combining a lion, scorpion, bat, and a human (according to a recent interview with Scanlon in Empire Magazine – Nov 2019).

It’s too much stuff, smashed together! (laughs) The Manticore is a lion, a scorpion, a bat, and a human. I love the awkward nature of that. It lent itself to comedy really well.

Dan Scanlon

The brief article also goes on to share that, “Part of their quest will involve having to find the ‘Phoenix Gem’, which will help them resurrect their father. And in order to find the gem, they must first find the Manticore.”

Manticore at the Tavern with Ian and Barley

Along with the image above, we also learned that Ian and Barley seek an ancient map from the Manticore and that she was once a mighty warrior whose tavern served as a waystation for travelers embarking on epic quests. The Manticore has adapted to changing times, but her adventurous spirit still lurks within.


Along our journey of researching the manticore, we found this three-minute YouTube video which sums up the man-eating character quite well — check it out.


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About three weeks ago, Dark Horse Comics added a listing to their website for an Onward-inspired graphic novel called Manticore. The book’s description (which is now listed on Amazon as well), includes a foreword by Dan Scanlon and is set to release on February 26, 2020 (72 pages).

From acclaimed writer Mariko Tamaki (X-23, This One Summer) comes Disney/PIXAR Onward: Manticore, an original graphic novel tying into the upcoming film! 

Follow the Manticore on her quest to the Cave of a Thousand Heroes, from whence no other warrior has EVER returned. Along the way, the Manticore will make many strange allies, namely a very out-there Sprite named Pamila (Pam for short).

So, what is the Cave of a Thousand Heroes and who is Pam? Often, graphic novels don’t mirror the story of the film exactly, but they pull inspiration from characters and locations — so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the cave as a setting for the film. We can’t wait to see how “out-there” Pam really is as well.

Onward Tales of the Manticore Dark Horse Comic Cover

It also got us thinking — is the Cave where Ian, Barley, and Manticore (who helps the Brothers along their journey) could locate the phoenix stone they need in order to complete the spell and bring back their deceased Father?


There are a lot of questions and speculations to dive into, but the good news is that we’ll not only be sharing the trailer as soon as it’s released (embedded below), but we’ll also be holding a Live discussion on YouTube to break down the trailer on October 10 (10 PM ET / 7 PM PT).

Let us know your thoughts and ideas regarding the Manticore and book below, chat with other Pixar fans in the Pixar Post Onward Forum, and join us on YouTube Live tomorrow to discuss even more details from Onward and hopefully, more details about Manticore from the trailer.

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