Disney Animators Rebel Against Bob Iger

in Movies

Iger seen with Asha from Wish

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

The animators of the Walt Disney Company are often very resourceful when it comes to sneaking little winks and nods to the audience, but Walt Disney Animation Studio might have just thrown a barb at Bob Iger with their latest addition.

Photo from Disney's 'Wish'.
Credit: Disney

Wish (2023) was set to be the return to the traditional Disney formula as it incorporates a laundry list of elements found across some of the studio’s most magical animated masterpieces. Asha (voiced by Ariana DeBose) and her quest to save the wishes of Rosas from the clutches of King Magnifico (voiced by Chris Pine) certainly feels like a classic Disney fairytale, but some observations have been made about the film’s starring sorcerer.

Related: Immersive Disney Animation is Nightmare Fuel

Although he shares more than a few similarities with classic Disney villains like Gaston, Scar, and Jafar, a theory suggests King Magnifico might be grounded more in reality than some might think. Of course, this isn’t something like Frollo being a stand-in for corruption of power, but rather the price of having one’s wish truly granted.

Bob Iger Inspired King Magnifico

King Magnifico's Eyes
Credit: Disney

Even with the criticism against his Lin-Manuel-Miranda-esque song, King Magnifico is still the first genuinely evil Disney villain since Doctor Facilier in The Princess and the Frog (2009). By that standard, he is still a decisive improvement over some of Disney’s “hidden” or more sympathetic antagonists.

Related: The Five WORST Disney Villains Ever, Ranked

That said, one thing that always makes a character more complex and interesting is that element of truth that inspires them. Multiple movie-goers can relate to the likes of Belle, Nick Wilde, or even Mickey Mouse, but something special happens whenever real-life parallels can be seen in one of Disney’s villains.

King Magnifico in Wish trailer
Credit: Disney

Several Disney villains have real-world tie-ins, such as Charles Muntz (Up (2009)) being inspired by Universal’s Charles Mintz, who took Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from Walt Disney, but rarely do they ever attack one of their own. As much as Magnifico takes from Disney’s rogues gallery, he has a frightening amount in common with the deeds and doings of Bob Iger.

Related: ‘Wish’ Proves Major Disney Disappointment, Reportedly Even Worse Than ‘Strange World’

SlashFilm recently gave an outstanding analysis of Wish, King Magnifico, and the elements of classic Disney that inspired the film, but the connections to Disney CEO Bob Iger weren’t just interesting; they were terrifying.

A section of the article reads,

“There also seems to be a thematic streak of “Wish” that is expressly anti-Disney. Magnifico lives in a tower, keeping the wishes and fantasies of others locked away and out of their hands. When one has their ambitions removed, they lose all memory of it, meaning Magnifico more or less legally owns their dreams. How is this not a metaphor for what Disney does? They buy up other people’s intellectual property and then refuse to let it go. Disney has infamously appealed copyright laws so they could keep the rights to certain characters and iconography.”

A common criticism heard throughout Disney’s “Flop Era” is that the studio’s recent movies have been designed by marketing rather than the creative forces that brought the brand success, and the symbolism above makes that exceedingly hard to deny. Was this Walt Disney Animation’s way of telling Iger to back off?

Disney CEO Bob Iger in a picture frame looking disappointed while a collage of Disney+ shows and movies overtakes the image
Credit: Inside The Magic

Regarding treating the struggling studio, Iger’s recent announcements seem to be more planning than actual results. Just as King Magnifico held the wishes and hopes of his magic kingdom in his ivory tower, so too might the prolific CEO.

Related: Disney Brings “Wishes to Life” With Latest Character Debut at the Parks

That said, recent developments have seen Iger handing back the keys to the kingdom. As the studio prepares for its next wave of new features and sequels, the CEO put the creator of the Frozen franchise, Jennifer Lee, in charge of the next Disney projects. It seems, unlike Magnifico, Iger is seeing his true reflection.

Did Disney just snub their CEO with a full-length feature film? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!


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