Disney’s ‘Wish’ Is a Love Letter to Past Disney Films

in Entertainment, Movies

New Disney Release - 'Wish' 2023

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney’s upcoming animated film Wish (2023) unveiled its first trailer a few days ago, giving fans an idea of what to expect. Details about the film were kept pretty under wraps, but during CinemaCon, more information about the movie was finally released. The trailer features stunning shots of a mix of 2D and 3D animation, and fans are excited at the prospect of Disney’s first real villain in years. However, as the trailer was shared across social media, eagle-eyed fans realized that the film is actually a love letter to other Disney films, including Easter eggs, reference shots, and inside jokes.

Wish versus Snow White wishing well

Snow White

There are several references to Disney’s first animated feature film throughout the trailer. The biggest one is probably the wishing well that Asha makes her wish near is a direct reference to the wishing well/”I’m Wishing” sequence in Snow White. There’s another shot that shows a crowd of villagers that one viewer realized is directly color coded to match each of the seven dwarfs.

Wish versus Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Belle is well-known for her desire to escape her small town, wishing for adventure and excitement. During her song in the beginning of the film, she’s shown making a wish on a dandelion puff before letting the seeds fly away. The beginning of the trailer for Wish shows the same scene as Asha makes a wish on her own dandelion as the camera pans to follow the floating seeds.

Wish versus Princess and the Frog

Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog is a story all about wishing on stars but making your own dreams come true. One of the most romantic sub-plots in a Disney film follows Ray, the lightning bug who befriends Tiana and Naveen, being in love with Evangeline, who Tiana believes is just a star. Evangeline is constantly shown as the brightest star in the sky and is presumably the one that Tiana wishes on just before meeting Naveen. In an almost parallel shot, the trailer shows Asha looking up at a similarly bright star in the sky.

Wish versus Tinker Bell

Peter Pan

As a flying, glowing pixie with a temper and high energy, Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell has a distinct green outfit, blonde hair, and golden glow about her. While she doesn’t necessarily grant wishes, she can give others the ability to fly and is full of sass and love for her friends. Wish features a personified wish called Star, who shares Tinker Bell’s high energy, glow, and pixie dust-esque glitter.

Wish versus Frozen

Frozen

One of the most popular and beloved characters from Frozen is the talking snowman, Olaf, who got his ability to talk from Elsa’s ice powers. Asha’s goat, Valentino, is granted the ability to speak by Star after making that his wish.

Wish versus Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

The most direct reference to The Little Mermaid is a quote in the trailer from King Magnifico, who is the ruler of Rosas, the kingdom where Asha comes from. The trailer shows Magnifico as a charmingly over-the-top but loved ruler before heavily implying that he’ll be the film’s major villain. Fans can hear him explaining that there’s a place where wishes come true and everything you desire is within reach. Then, he states, “all you have to do is give your wish to me.” The cadence of his command is reminiscent of Ursula telling Ariel “you belong to me,” which could imply there may also be a contract of sorts that Magnifico tries to con Asha into signing.

Wish versus Fantasia

Fanstasia

Fans have pointed out that the font used for the Wish logo is the exact font used for the Fantasia film, a classic art-deco style that unites the past with the present.

Wish versus Tangled

Tangled

There are a few shots referencing Tangled, including a scene similar to when Rapunzel uses her hair to jump, climb, and swing throughout the movie. In the trailer, a group of Asha’s friends jump using ropes in a very similar style to the way Rapunzel jumped. If you watch closely enough, you can also see a horse that looks almost exactly like Maximus appear near the end of the trailer during the fireworks scene.

Ralph Breaks The Internet Vanellope and Disney Princesses
Credit: Disney

There are several other references throughout the trailer, catalogued in a TikTok video by @axelmalibu, including similar shots from Pocahontas, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, and others. The trailer even mentions a wide span of films, including Frozen, The Lion King, Moana, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Encanto as other projects the studio has created, spanning decades of their work.

King Magnifico in Wish trailer
Credit: IGN

From small details to movements to background design, the animation team seems to have pulled from several of Disney’s past films. It truly seems like Wish is the culmination of 100 years of filmmaking from Disney and is intended to be an homage and a love letter to the animated films that have come before it.

What other references did you find when watching the trailer? Let us know in the comments below!

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