“Wish” – The 2023 Disney animated film

“Wish” – The 2023 Disney animated film
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The anticipation is palpable in the air. 2023 will be the year that Walt Disney Animation Studios celebrates its 100th anniversary with a production that promises to combine tradition and innovation, entitled “Wish.” Directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, this animated film represents the 62nd Disney classic.

Veerasunthorn, making her feature film directorial debut, is no newcomer to the Disney world. You previously worked with Lee on “Frozen” in 2013, alongside Buck. The story of “Wish” is born from the talents of Jennifer Lee and Allison Moore, with a plot that promises to capture hearts and minds.

The protagonist is Asha, a 17 year old girl, voiced in the American original by the brilliant Ariana DeBose. In a moment of need and desolation, Asha makes a passionate prayer to the stars. She senses a threat of darkness in the Kingdom of Rosas that no one else seems to sense. In the voice cast, we also find celebrities such as Chris Pine, Angelique Cabral and Alan Tudyk.

But what makes “Wish” so special? In addition to the gripping plot and stellar cast, there is one element that sets this production apart: the combination of artistic style. The film blends computer animation with Disney's classic watercolor animation. This, no doubt, makes it a fitting tribute for the production house's anniversary.

The wishing star, an emblematic symbol for Disney and present in other classics such as "Pinocchio", will play a central role. This element ties the film to a recurring theme throughout Disney filmography: the wish that comes true, as well as in the Disney classic "Cinderella".

The soundtrack will be no different. Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice were commissioned to write the songs, while David Metzger, a frequent orchestrator of Disney productions, composed the music.

The journey of “Wish” began in 2018, but only in January 2022 was the project revealed to the public. The official reveal took place in September 2022, with the announcement of the voice cast and production details.

The debut in US cinemas is scheduled for November 22, 2023, distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. As we anxiously wait, we can only imagine the wonders “Wish” has in store for us.

The story of Wish

In Walt Disney's cinematic imagery, wonderful and enchanting worlds often emerge. One of these is the kingdom of Rosas, a mythical island off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula, nicknamed the “kingdom of desires”. But don't be fooled by its enchanted reputation, for in this realm lies a darkness that only a girl named Asha can sense.

Asha, 17 years old, is not a simple resident of Rosas. She has a special intuition and sensitivity that leads her to sense something that others do not notice: a dark threat coming from their own king, the evil Magnificent King. This is not a benevolent ruler as one might think, but rather a sorcerer who wants to dominate not only the kingdom, but also the desires of his subjects.

In a moment of desperation and need, driven by the desire to free her people, Asha turns to the starry sky above her. And, in a twist worthy of the greatest adventure stories, a shooting star named Star answers her call, a magical creature with the power to grant wishes.

From this point, the story takes a compelling direction. Asha and Star join forces, combining the courage of a young rebel with the magic of a star fallen from the sky. Together, they must face the dangers posed by the Magnificent King and his darkness to ensure a better future for the inhabitants of Rosas.

The plot of “Wish” reminds us how powerful wishes are and the importance of fighting for what you believe in, even when all seems lost. And as Asha and Star embark on this epic journey to save their kingdom, they teach us a universal lesson: when we come together with determination and hope, even the greatest challenges can be overcome.

The characters of Wish

In the Disney cinematic landscape, it is always exciting to discover new characters that enrich our fantasies. “Wish” is no exception, taking us to a realm where wishes and shooting stars come to life in astonishing ways.

Asha: The young protagonist, played by Ariana DeBose, is the keystone of the whole film. At 17, Asha is a witty and optimistic figure. Sensing a darkness looming over her beloved kingdom of Rosas, she does not hesitate to turn to the starry sky, expressing a burning desire to protect her people.

Magnificent King: This character, with such a majestic name, is masterfully played by Chris Pine. The Magnificent King is not the typical antagonist one might expect. Initially a benevolent and magnanimous monarch, he undergoes a transformation into a treacherous and ambitious sorcerer. He positions himself as the guardian of hundreds of wishes, wishing to monopolize a power entrusted to him by people all over the world.

Star: This luminous character, summoned by Asha, has the crucial task of helping the young heroine on her journey. In addition to giving Valentino a voice, the wishing star embodies hope, magic and enchantment, essential components of this fascinating tale.

Valentino: Asha's unusual adventure companion, Valentino is a kid with a very special desire: to communicate! Thanks to Star's magical power, his wish is granted, transforming him into a key character for the plot and offering light and funny moments.

The cast of “Wish” represents a blend of magic, adventure and introspection, inviting us to reflect on the importance of desires and the power of determination. With these exceptional protagonists, we are certain that the film will touch the hearts of adults and children.

The new Wish trailer

The new Wish trailer

The cinematic sky has lit up again with the arrival of “Wish”, the highly anticipated masterpiece from Walt Disney Animation Studios, which made its debut in the world of animation with a breathtaking trailer, released just two days ago. This is not just any film: it marks the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney Animation, and the trailer has already enchanted fans around the world. With over 66,5 million views in such a short time, it has far exceeded expectations, becoming the animated giant's most watched video since "Frozen II" in 2019.

The trailer, released on September 27, not only won the hearts of fans, but also broke records on the TikTok platform, surpassing the teaser presented in April by as many as 20 million views. An epochal success.

But what makes “Wish” so special?

The plot revolves around young Asha, a bright and idealistic 17-year-old, voiced by Oscar winner Ariana DeBose. An expressly powerful wish from Asha summons Star, a small but energetic cosmic force. This act, however, does not go unnoticed and attracts the attention of the Magnificent King, played by Chris Pine, ruler of the magical kingdom of Rosas, who sees it as his royal right to control the distribution of wishes.

Led by the talents of Oscar-winning director Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, “Wish” promises to be a cinematic tour de force. Behind the scenes, Jennifer Lee, the creative mind behind “Frozen,” serves as executive producer, assisted on the screenplay by Allison Moore. The film will also feature original melodies from singer-songwriter Julia Michaels and producer Benjamin Rice, with a soundtrack composed by Dave Metzger.

The voice cast also boasts names such as Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell and many others, ensuring a perfect combination of talent and passion.

The production of Wish

The first mention of the film dates back to January 21, 2022, when it was revealed that Jennifer Lee was working on a new original film for Walt Disney Animation Studios. But only on September 9, 2022, during the presentation of the D23 Expo, did the world discover the title and first details of this ambitious project.

Management and Production:
The film boasts a direction team made up of Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, while the producers include prominent figures such as Peter Del Vecho and Juan Pablo Reyes. What was particularly striking was the decision to combine traditional Disney animation, evocative of the roots of the animation giant, with the most modern CGI techniques, which have now become standard in the world of contemporary animation.

A Stellar Cast:
On September 9, during the same D23 Expo event, Ariana DeBose and Alan Tudyk were introduced as the lead voices of Asha and Valentino. Subsequently, at CinemaCon, Chris Pine joined the cast, lending his voice to the antagonist King Magnificent, giving further depth to the film.

Music and Magic:
Wish also promises an immersive musical experience. In September 2022, Julia Michaels was announced as the film's original song writer. David Metzger, with considerable experience with Disney, will compose the soundtrack.

Release and Promotion:
Set to be released on November 22, 2023 in the United States and December 21 in Italy, “Wish” is awaited with great trepidation. Alongside the film, viewers will have the opportunity to enjoy “Once Upon a Studio”, a 9-minute short film that promises to combine live-action, traditional animation and CGI, making the cinematic experience even more magical.

However, the movie industry has had its ups and downs, and after the flops of Lightyear and Strange World in 2022, Disney has taken steps to ensure that “Wish” and “Elemental” are as successful as hoped at the box office, extending their period of stay in the rooms.

“Wish” represents a perfect synthesis between Disney animated tradition and modern techniques, promising to be a film that will remain in the hearts of many. We look forward to its release in Italian cinemas!

“Wish”: The Magic of Aspirations in Disney's New Masterpiece

No other studio in the world is as closely associated with wishes and dreams as Walt Disney Animation Studios. Ever since Cinderella sang “A dream is a wish born in the heart, when you sleep soundly,” audiences around the world have been transported to a place where staring at an evening star while thinking of the deepest wish could make it come true. So, it seems only natural that “Wish,” a film about the power of aspiration, is the film of choice for the studio to celebrate its centennial in 2023.

Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios and writer and co-director of “Frozen” and “Frozen II,” began developing “Wish” as an original story in 2018, with Disney's 100th anniversary in mind . Her desire was to tell a new story that celebrated the studio's contemporary successes and honored her legacy. Lee quickly brought in longtime collaborator Chris Buck, who co-directed “Frozen,” “Frozen II” and “Frozen Fever” with Lee, and had previously co-directed “Tarzan” and “Surf's Up.” While examining scenes from Disney classics, both identified the act of wishing and shooting stars as a common thread in the studio's history. Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn (story lead on “Raya and the Last Dragon” and story artist on “Zootopia” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet”) co-directed the film, marking Veerasunthorn's directorial debut. After five years of production at the Burbank studio with a crew of around 500 people, the film will be released on November 22.

“Wish” also boasts a top-notch voice cast that includes Ariana DeBose (Asha), Chris Pine (Magnificent King), Angelique Cabral (Queen Amaya), Victor Garber (Sabino, Asha's grandfather), Natasha Rothwell (Sakina, the Asha's mother), Jennifer Kumiyama (Dahlia, Asha's best friend), Harvey Guillén (Gabo), Niko Vargas (Hal), Evan Peters (Simon), Ramy Youssef (Safi), Jon Rudnitsky (Dario) and Della Saba ( Bazeema).

The story follows Asha, an idealistic young woman living in the Kingdom of Rosas (located outside of the Iberian Peninsula), who isn't quite sure what path she wants to take in life. She tries to become the apprentice of a wish-granting wizard called the Magnificent King, but she gets a glimpse behind her magical abilities and she starts seeing things she doesn't like. From there, she must figure out how to move forward in her life, and she does so with a little help from a magical character called Star.

“Asha is learning who she is and what she really wants in life,” says Lee. “At the beginning of the story, she doesn't really have her desire in her mind. She thinks that by following Magnifico and learning from him, she can find her own way. So, this is a story about her finding her desire and her voice.” Just as the directors wanted a story invested in Disney's wishful thinking tradition, they also aimed to give the film a look that reflected the studio's animation history. For inspiration, they turned to the studio's archives and examined conceptual art created over many decades. They envisioned a hand-drawn look that would result in a sort of moving illustration for “Wish.”

“We wanted that look that takes you back a little bit to Disney movies that you've seen in the past that maybe are part of your childhood, part of the first animated films that you loved,” Buck says. “We're working in CG but [we're] definitely inspired by the hand-drawn history of this place and the emotions you get when you see something hand-drawn.” As production designer Lisa Keane explains, “There's a watercolor look and a paper texture – it's an illustration in motion. We've long had the ability to do watercolor backgrounds, but we haven't been able to get the same look on the character. We are now able to bring all these ideas together in CG thanks to the tools that have been developed. It was exciting to see it all come together.”

Because production on the film began before the COVID shutdowns, the filmmakers were home for part of the production time. Returning to the studio later in the process meant they were able to work together more easily again.

Made for the Big Screen
“For me, working on this film – it was a moment where we just started to come back from being on Zoom,” Veerasunthorn says. “We were able to be together to see and review scenes from the film in the theater with the big screen. I think this led to the decision to use the 2.55:1 aspect ratio because we understand the importance of being immersed in a movie, not just on your monitor or TV. So, there are a lot of choices we made in how to frame this film [and] how to use the technology of stereo 3D. We put a lot of emphasis on this. We want the public to see this great, in a theater."

The film's visual effects supervisor, Kyle Odermatt, who also worked on “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Moana,” adds: “This aspect ratio is part of our tradition, harkening back to some of our classics. “

The Italian voice actors of Wish

The Walt Disney Company celebrates 100 years of magical stories today, celebrating the beloved characters, big-screen adventures, unforgettable experiences, and the fans and storytellers who made it all possible. On the occasion of this anniversary, Disney Italia announces the Italian voices of the new Christmas film Wish: the singer-songwriter Gaia lends her voice to the brilliant dreamer Asha; the conductor Amadeus plays Asha's adorable pet goat, Valentino; and the actor Michele Riondino lends his voice in the dialogues to the powerful Magnificent King. The new Walt Disney Animation Studios feature film, which pays homage to the Disney legacy, arrives in Italian theaters on December 21st with seven original songs written by Grammy®-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels and Grammy®-winning producer/songwriter/musician Benjamin Rice.

Gaia is Asha, a brilliant dreamer who cares deeply about her family and community. She is responsible for welcoming visitors to Rosas, a fantastic island located off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula, and she is one of the first faces people see when they arrive on the island, full of hopes and dreams.

Amadeus is Valentino, a know-it-all, confident goat who follows Asha wherever she goes. This adorable little guy in pajamas could teach humans a thing or two about perseverance... when Star magically gives him the power of speech.

Michele Riondino is the Magnificent King, the most powerful person in the kingdom of Rosas, where wishes come true. People come from all over the world to offer their wishes to Magnifico, a charming and confident king who promises to grant their deepest dreams… one day. Only he can decide which wishes will come true and when.

The voice cast of the Italian version of the film also includes Marco Manca, who performs the songs of Re Magnifico; Ilaria De Rosa (Amaya); Carlo Valli (Sabino); Beatrice Caggiula (Sakina); Vittoria Bartolomei (Dahlia); Alex Polidori (Gabo); Silvia Alfonzetti (Hal); Federico Campaiola (Simon); Lorenzo D'Agata (Safi); Gabriele Patriarca (Dario); and Monica Volpe (Bazeema).

The original Wish soundtrack will be available since November 17 on all digital platforms

Data Sheet

Original title: Wish
Original language: English
Country of Production: United States of America
Year of production: 2023
Format: 2,55:1
Gender: Animation, Comedy, Musical, Fantasy
Directed by: Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn
Subject: Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore
Film script: Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore
Manufacturers: Peter Del Vecho, Juan Pablo Reyes
Executive producer: J
Production house: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Italian distribution: The Walt Disney Company Italy
Soundtrack: David Metzger
Songs: Julia Michaels, Benjamin Rice

Original voice actors:

  • Ariana DeBose as Asha
  • Alan Tudyk as Valentino
  • Chris Pine as King Magnificent

Italian voice actors:

  • Asha (dialogues): Erica Necci
  • Asha (singing): Ilaria De Rosa
  • Valentino: Pietro Rama
  • Magnificent King: Diego Gallo