Elliott is the titular deuteragonist of Disney’s 1977 film Pete’s Dragon. He, as the film’s title suggests, is a large green dragon who befriends a young orphan named Pete.
The film’s animators opted to make Elliott look more like an oriental, rather than occidental, dragon because oriental ones are usually associated with good. The film is the first involving animation in which none of the Nine Old Men (Disney’s original team of animators) were involved. One technique used in the film involved compositing, whereby up to three scenes might be composited together – for example, a live foreground, a live background, and an animated middle ground containing Elliott. Ken Anderson, who created him, explained that he thought it would be appropriate to make him “a little paunchy” and not always particularly graceful when it comes to flying. Don Hahn, who was assistant director to Don Bluth on the film, gained some experience working with a combination of live-action and animation before later going on to work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Elliott is a dragon with the ability to become invisible. He is depicted as a benevolent character who assists children in need, like Pete. He is shown to be fairly clumsy, even when flying. He is also shown to be very protective of Pete.
Elliott is apparently a guardian of children, coming and going, seeking those who are in need of a friend, at least until they have a family who can be there for them or helps those he befriends until their problems are all resolved. And he hates it when some nasty abusive adult abuse children. Once a child has no further need of him, he sadly moves on and never sees them again, so it’s possible he is really a guardian spirit whose purpose is to protect and help children.
Elliott can be a bit of a mischief-maker intentionally or not, as he caused various instances of property damage, and Pete was blamed due to him being invisible — although he never means any real harm to anyone.
Elliott is initially shown as an unseen force that prevents the abusive Gogans from capturing Pete, who is running away from them. His true form is revealed the next morning, when they have breakfast. He invisibly follows Pete into the town of Passamaquoddy, where his clumsy antics cause Pete to be labeled as a source of bad luck. Elliott reveals himself to Lampie, the lighthouse keeper, before he and Pete escape to a seaside cave.
When Pete is taken in by Nora, Lampie’s daughter, Elliott remains invisible, leading her to believe he is merely an imaginary friend. He later accompanies Pete to school, causing more antics. This leads to Dr. Terminus, a medical showman, plotting to capture him, as dragons supposedly have many medical uses.
At some point, Elliott locates Paul, Nora’s lost boyfriend, though she fails to believe it at the time. The night that Paul plans to return home, Elliott is captured by Dr. Terminus, while Pete is done so by the Gogans. Elliott is able to free himself and Pete and they return home to the lighthouse. By this time, a storm has broken out, causing the light to go out. Despite being cramped in the narrow staircase, Elliott uses his fire breath to relight it, revealing himself to Nora and Lampie.
The next morning, Elliott is praised for his help, while Nora is reunited with Paul. Pete is given a safe home with them. This leads Elliott to leave in search of another child to help. After saying goodbye to Pete, he flies away.
Pete’s Dragon (2016)
Elliott will appear in the upcoming film. In this version, he is said to be a fierce dragon who lives in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. His appearance is significantly altered and now looks more realistic thanks to being CGI, losing his trademark pink hair and gaining thick, green fur around his body. He also has a noticeable resemblance to both dogs and lions in his body and face and sports protruding lower fangs that are visible when his mouth is closed. Like his previous incarnation, Elliott can turn invisible to camouflage himself. In this version of the story, it is also revealed that he cared for and protected Pete for a total of six years.