Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new film Wish comes to theaters this November. This movie releases during the 100 year anniversary of Disney Animation so it needed to be special. During the long lead press day filmmakers reveal the inspirations that went into Wish, the songs featured in the musical, and the character of Star.
Wish takes viewers to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where 17 year old Asha makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force, a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together the two must confront the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico, in order to save the community and prove that one person can change the world.
Jennifer Lee (Writer/Executive Producer & Animation Chief Creative Officer)
Chris Buck (Director)
Fawn Veerasunthorn (Director)
Peter Del Vecho (Producer)
Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones (Producer)
Inspiration For Wish
In order to honor the 100 year anniversary, the team was sure to pull inspiration from the magic and music that many fans think of as Disney’s legacy. Whether it’s Geppetto looking up at the stars, wishing for his wooden Pinocchio to become a real boy; Tiana looking to the stars as she dreams of owning her own business; or Moana turning to the stars in her quest to save her island, many of Disney’s most beloved characters are defined by their dreams.
Jennifer Lee: At the heart of our film is this: There is no greater power in the universe than someone with a true wish in their heart. It really is a film about understanding that with great wishes often comes greater struggle. Hopefully, it’s aspirational on how to persevere.
Chris Buck: We wanted to make a film that embraced the legacy of what Walt created while making it relevant to today, which is what he would have done. He was always pushing the boundaries. When you make a wish and blow out the candles on your birthday cake, everyone says, ‘Don’t tell anyone!’ But I think we should put our wishes out there—let people know. There are helpers out there who can point us in the right direction.
Fawn Veerasunthorn: I grew up in Thailand watching Disney movies. Seeing the wishing star throughout the Disney universe and wishing to be a part of it.
Peter Del Vecho: The world events that were happening ranged from elation, like the landing on the moon, to devastation, with natural disasters and war. Through it all was the constant that Disney movies offered hope and inspiration. When you realize that these movies have survived through every climate was quite exciting.
Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones: We did a ton of research on our own library of films and on Walt Disney himself, asking who he was, what inspired him, what kind of leader he was. We even looked into his childhood on the farm in Marceline, Missouri. Some stories suggest baby animals on the farm occasionally were dressed up, which inspired our pajama-wearing goat, Valentino.
Who Is Star In Wish?
Star is a key part of Wish. The story simply does not work without her, as Asha needs her to be successful. However, she doesn’t just show up and fix everything.
Peter Del Vecho: Star doesn’t have all the answers. It represents possibility and joy. It’s not a character that comes down and solves things but rather inspires Asha to think differently.
Jennifer Lee: Star represents the things that keep you going through hard times. Those things don’t do the work for you. But that little bit of magic goes a long way. Star’s there to remind Asha not to give up, and to help her out in a way that holding onto hope helps. Possibility leads you to imagine the answer.
Fawn Veerasunthorn: To me, Star is like her intuition. It’s pure energy. The personification of her wish coming down to earth to push her out of her comfort zone. I believe that Star is in each of us.
Wish Features Seven Original Songs
Wish is a musical, so of course, it is important to have catchy songs that will resonate with the audience. Wish features seven all-new songs penned by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels and Grammy-winning producer/songwriter/musician Benjamin Rice.
Peter Del Vecho: So many of our beloved films are musicals. When you think of Disney, you think of a range of emotions. You want to feel like you’ve been on a rollercoaster and part of that emotion comes from music. These ultimately classic songs evoke deeper levels of emotion than we could convey with dialogue alone.
Jennifer Lee: Julia Michaels is an extraordinary talent, and Julia, along with her writing partner Benjamin Rice, have created original songs that inspired all of us working on the film. Her collaborative process was so special, really sitting down with us and talking about the motivations of our characters.
Chris Buck: Julia came back with this incredible demo that had exactly what we’d been talking about. It had this feeling of something classic but fresh because she brought her own contemporary ideas to it. Julia loves Disney films and grew up on them. She still has that passion for them. Julia and Ben were able to infuse all of that passion into the songs for this film.
Disney’s “Wish” hits theaters on November 22nd 2023
Tessa Smith AKA Mama's Geeky, is a journalist that covers geek and Disney culture on her own website, as well as freelances for other sites such as What's On Disney Plus and Screen Rant. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing and loves all things geeky. She is a Disney Vacation Club member and a Founders Circle Member of Disney+. She is also an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes and a member of the Critics Choice Association. Tessa lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs named Sansa and Khaleesi.