When you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you. However, how exactly did this special beacon of hope that various characters in countless Disney movies have looked to for help in their greatest time of need come to be?
That is a fascinating question that the Walt Disney Company itself aims to answer in its upcoming animated feature film, aptly titled, WISH. This ambitious project was officially announced during 2022’s D23 Expo in September, along with some other exciting details involving the talented cast, the filmmakers behind the story and, of course, the music. The following is a breakdown of all the most essential information we know about this magical adventure so far.
Coming To Theatres November 2023
Some of the biggest movie releases from Walt Disney Studios in more recent times have been distributed directly to its own official streaming platform, Disney+. For instance, director Robert Zemeckis’ live-action adaptation of PINOCCHIO and the long-awaited sequel to HOCUS POCUS both went straight to streaming. However, that will not be the case for WISH.
According to a report by Variety, fans of Disney movies of all ages will be given the chance to come out to AMC Theatres to experience this upcoming animated adventure upon its initial release. While no specific release date has been announced for the film at the moment, WISH is set to come out sometime in the month of November in 2023, as part of a celebration of the Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary that year.
The Wishing Star’s Musical Origin Story
What better way to celebrate 100 years of Disney than with the release of a film that explores the previously untold history of one of its most iconic, definitive symbols? Indeed, according to a tweet by Disney Animation, WISH is a film about the very star that Disney characters like Pinocchio’s father, Gepetto, Cinderella and Tiana from THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG have made a wish upon and where it came from.
As we learned at D23, the animated movie takes place in the magical kingdom of Rosas, where the adventure of our teenage protagonist, Asha, and her trusted goat, Valentino, begins. It may come as no surprise that WISH is also a musical and – according to another Disney Animation tweet – will feature original songs by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels, who also wrote the theme music for the Disney Channel original series, “Austin & Ally.”
Stars Ariana DeBose And Alan Tudyk
D23 attendees were treated with a special performance of “More for Us” – one of Julia Michaels songs from WISH – by the film’s leading star, Ariana DeBose. The multi-talented artist told Variety at the expo that she was cast in the dream-come-true role of the heroic young main character, Asha, even before she won her Academy Award® for playing Anita in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of WEST SIDE STORY, which also starred Disney’s new, live-action Snow White, Rachel Zegler.
Also lending his voice to the WISH cast as Asha’s talking pet goat, Valentino, is Alan Tudyk, who has leant his extraordinarily versatile voice talents to many other characters in Disney’s repertoire. For instance, he was in both WRECK-IT RALPH movies – first as King Candy and, later, as KnowsMore in the sequel – poked fun at his role from the FROZEN movies by voicing “Duke Weaselton” in ZOOTOPIA, provided the squawks of Jafar’s parrot, Iago, in 2019’s ALADDIN remake and joined the STAR WARS universe as reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO in ROGUE ONE.
Directed By Chris Buck And Fawn Veerasunthorn
WISH will also be helmed by a pair of veterans in Disney’s animation department – Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn. Oscar® winner Buck – who also co-wrote the story with his FROZEN movies co-writer and co-director, Jennifer Lee – helped write the story for 1995’s POCAHONTAS and made his directorial debut in 1999 by helming the TARZAN with Kevin Lima. However, he got his start at Disney even earlier as a character animator for THE FOX AND THE HOUND in 1981, leading to more work in that department on acclaimed hits like THE BLACK CAULDRON and THE LITTLE MERMAID.
WISH marks the feature-length directorial debut for Veerasunthorn, who last worked with Buck on the original FROZEN from 2013 as a storyboard artist before becoming a story artist for ZOOTOPIA and MOANA in 2016. She took on the same position in 2018 for RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET and later worked as the head of story for 2021’s RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON. Before her tenure at Disney, however, Veerasunthorn worked with Illumination Entertainment as an uncredited story artist on hits like DESPICABLE ME 2 and THE LORAX.
The one definitive theme that unifies all classic Disney movies is the magic that makes dreams come true. An animated film that finally reveals where that magic really comes from is a most exciting concept and a perfect way to commemorate the studios enduring, century-long legacy. Be there when WISH comes out of your dreams and into AMC Theatres in 2023.