For nearly a century, audiences have watched dreams come true for countless Disney characters who’ve wished upon a star. But just how did the wishing star come to be? That’s the premise of a new Disney animated film, “Wish,” announced at the company’s 2022 D23 Expo.
When Jennifer Lee, Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer, took the stage at D23 Expo to give fans a closer look at what’s coming to the big screen and Disney+ in the coming years, she invited “Wish” co-directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn to join her to share more about the film. Buck co-directed “Frozen” with Lee and Veerasunthorn worked on “Zootopia,” “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Moana.”
“Wish” is expected to be released in November 2023 as part of the company’s year-long 100th anniversary celebration.
The film’s heroine is named Asha, and will be voiced by Ariana DeBose, who recently won an Oscar for her work in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake. The directors described Asha as a witty, driven, 17-year-old who cares deeply about her community, the Kingdom of Rosas — also known as the Kingdom of Wishes — which needs her help against a serious threat.
Buck said Asha’s journey will pit her against “one of the most formidable foes in Disney history. Asha sees a darkness in the kingdom that nobody else does and must find a way to help the people she loves.”
Asha makes a wish to the stars for guidance and the power of her wish brings down a star from the sky to help her — “Star,” a “cosmic force,” and a “little ball of boundless energy” that communicates through pantomime. The audience got a sneak peek and, from what we saw, Star is destined to be a fan-favorite character.
Giving Star a run for the cuteness prize will be Valentino (voiced by Alan Tudyk), a pajama-wearing goat who wishes for the ability to speak.
“Wish” will be a musical, with songs written by Grammy-winner Julia Michaels. DeBose performed one of the movie’s tracks, “More for Us,” for fans at D23 Expo and having heard it live — take it from me — this one could quickly find itself in modern-classic, “Let It Go” territory.
More Major Movie News from D23 Expo
D23 Expo was a star-studded weekend packed with panels and announcements about everything on the horizon for Disney’s various studios, including Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar and 20th Century, as well as news about Disney theme parks.
Fans learned about new films in production, like Pixar’s “Inside Out 2;” got to see the cast live on stage for films and Disney+ series including “Indiana Jones,” “Loki” (season two coming soon), “The Mandalorian” (season three coming soon), “The Haunted Mansion” and “The Marvels;” and got first looks at trailers and footage from highly anticipated upcoming releases like “Avatar — The Way of Water,” “Hocus Pocus 2” and Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid.”
Fans in attendance were also the first to learn about possible expansion plans at Walt Disney World, including new areas inspired by “Coco,” “Encanto” and the studio’s famous villains in early development for Magic Kingdom, and “Zootopia” and “Moana” areas in potential development for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.