Ariana DeBose Will Lead Disney’s Fairytale Origin Story Wish

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Ariana DeBose stands in front of a title treatment for Wish.

Photo: Disney Animation Studios

It’s an important Disney character you probably never thought too much about: the star, as in the “When You Wish Upon a Star” that Jiminy Cricket sings about, the star that Princess Tiana looks up to ask for her palace restaurant, and the star that Simba gazes at while missing his father. Now, the star is getting an origin story, in the form of animated film Wish.

And I’m here for it—you know if Marvel came out with movies about the origin of each Infinity Stone, you’d watch them. In Wish, we’ll find out how this source of Disney magic that has guided the tales we know and love over the company’s first 100 years came to be. According to Walt Disney Animation’s Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee, it’ll be the perfect story to celebrate the studio’s centennial.

“How did the wishing star, upon which so many characters wished, come to be?” directors Chris Buck (Frozen) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (Raya and the Last Dragon) asked the D23 Expo audience before revealing gorgeous concept art of their Afro-Latine heroine, Asha (Ariana DeBose), described as a 17-year-old “optimist with a sharp wit who cares endlessly about her community.” We were also introduced to her kingdom, Rosas, a place where wishes come true. Using watercolors and 2D textures, the animation style will meld the traditional look of Disney animation classics with CG. It brings to mind the beautiful Disney animated short Paperman, which also used that technique, and I’m so thrilled to see the art form used to tell this specific story.

When Asha finds herself in a moment of desperation, she makes a plea to the heavens—which hails down one little ball of cosmic power called “Star” to help her face powerful foes in a new musical adventure. If you’re very influenced by Disney magic, this seems to have it all in a big way, like an Oscar-winning talent with a voice for those “I want” songs (written by Grammy-nominated pop songwriter Julia Michaels), which DeBose previewed with a performance of “More for Us” from the Wish soundtrack. She’s the Disney heroine we need and I already want to listen to over and over again.

Also, there’s a cute sidekick, a goat named Valentino, voiced by Disney good-luck charm Alan Tudyk, and the writing team includes Lee herself, whose credits include a little franchise called Frozen. So I’d say the animation studio’s fairytale legacy is in the right hands for this origin tale, which also teased some unexpected Easter eggs for Disney fans. I for one need to know how the hierarchy of fairy godmothers came to be and if Star is going to be set up to become the Nick Fury of the Disney Princess universe. (Listen, we’re allowed to be this way if all the other fandoms are.)

Wish is set to release fall 2023.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.



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