Disney has finished off day one of D23 with a studio showcase featuring some fun upcoming animated projects. One of the most exciting films that the famous animated studio announced was the musical Wish coming from directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn and co-writer Jennifer Lee. The film will star Ariana DeBose as Asha and Alan Tudyk as a talking goat named Valentino.
Wish is being pegged as a nostalgic love letter to classic Disney animation and is based on the company’s legacy. In the film Asha “is driven, incredibly smart, and an optimist with a sharp wit. She sees darkness in the kingdom that nobody else sees and must find a way to help the people she loves.” If that wasn’t Disney sounding enough for you, “ In a moment of desperation, Asha makes an impassioned plea to the stars, wishing with all her heart for guidance and help, and the power of her wish calls down an actual star from the sky.” Valentino gains the ability to speak after he gets his own wish granted as well and the film asks the mind-altering question “How did the wishing star, upon which so many characters wish, come to be?”
Just reading that description will make any Disney fan’s heart swell with memories of watching films like The Little Mermaid and Pinocchio as a kid. Particularly the latter classic as the title Wish and its premise sound completely inspired by plot points in Pinocchio. The iconic song “When You Wish Upon a Star” debuted in that film and later became the jingle for the Disney logo. The levels of nostalgia found in this film look to make a lot of fans’ dreams come true. The setting of the film, the Kingdom of Rosas, is even described as a place that embodies “the classic fairytale Kingdoms”.
However, this film just doesn’t seem to be a trip down memory lane as the animation style is blending a timeless watercolor aesthetic with traditional modern 3D animation. The various images and concept art shown during the presentation are truly stunning. Two pieces in particular see Asha dancing among the stars and our lead sitting next to Valentino, in a cute yellow sweater, looking up at the star lit sky above. These are classic feeling Disney images with a modern musical flavor and energy found in films like La La Land.
All signs point to Wish being the next Disney classic amongst the likes of Frozen. This is fitting given that Frozen was directed by Buck and Lee. On top of that, singer-songwriter Julia Michaels is composing new music for the film. When you add the powerhouses that are DeBose and Tudyk, Wish has jumped straight to the top of 2023’s most anticipated films list. DeBose is just coming off winning an Oscar for her brilliant turn as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story while Tudyk is just one of the most underrated character actors working today being in hit animated projects like Harley Quinn, Encanto, and Moana.
Wish will be dancing its way to theaters in November 2023. Until then, you can view the heartwarming first images for the musical down below.