Wish’s Signature Song, ‘This Wish,’ Helped Inspire the Filmmakers During Production

John Nguyen

2023 is a big year for Disney since it’s celebrating the studio’s 100th anniversary. Joining in on the celebration is Wish, the animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios that is being released in theaters this week. The film is inspired by the anniversary and features loads of Easter eggs from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ previous animated films. One of the main characters, Star, is inspired by past Disney fairytales such as “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio.

“This Wish,” performed by Ariana DeBose, is the signature song from Wish and was the first song that was written for the film by songwriter Julia Michaels, who has written songs for Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Hailee Steinfeld, Gwen Stefani and more. It follows the protagonist Asha and her wanting more for her kingdom after her encounter with King Magnifico, voiced by Chris Pine.

“And that song was actually the very first song that Julia wrote for this film,” said Fawn Veerasunthorn, the film’s co-director, at the Wish press conference on November 10th. “We didn’t quite have the whole story at that point. What was fascinating about it was that we gave her some of the brief story. She wrote an incredible song. And that’s what inspired us so much that like, ‘There’s this girl who didn’t know where to turn and she looked up at the sky and have magical things happen.'”

Jennifer Lee is the CCO of Walt Disney Animation Studios, and she is known for co-directing and writing Frozen and Frozen II. In Wish, she served as the screenwriter.

“Now remember, we really wanted to talk about that time in life – Asha’s 17 turning 18 – where you have big aspirations,” Lee said. “And then the world shows you its flaws, and you go, ‘This isn’t acceptable.’ And you fight, and you ask yourself, ‘Can you fight?’ And we all relate to that time in our lives. We have a lot of folks who took that ‘It’s a part of life,’ and that’s a part of it like, ‘What does that feel like?’ That moment when you don’t even ask, but you know something is wrong, and you know there should be more, and [Julia] just hooked onto that beautifully.”

“What I love is the rawness of she doesn’t even know exactly what she’s asking for,” the screenwriter continued. “She’s looking for help. But there’s a generosity in her. People tease that teenagers only care about themselves, like no they don’t. They have the courage to ask for a better world and she is so vulnerable in that and truly caught all of that and gave back to us something more inspiring than what we weren’t even thinking about.”

About Wish

Synopsis: Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wish” is an all-new musical-comedy welcoming audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe—the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico—to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.

The film is directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn and produced by Peter Del Vecho and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones. Jennifer Lee is the executive producer and writer with Allison Moore also serving as a writer. The film is composed by Dave Meetzger.

Wish releases in theaters on November 22, 2023.