To celebrate the release of Disney’s Wish, which comes 100 years after the company first put out Steamboat Willie in 1923, Walt Disney Animation Studios gave press an inside look at the place where the magic happens at its famous Burbank headquarters (yes, the one with the sorcerer hat).
As a part of the experience, select groups were treated to a private drawing class with Griselda Sastrawinata-Lemay, production and costume designer on Wish, where they learned to draw the film’s character Star.
During the drawing class, Sastrawinata-Lemay explained how years of Disney Animation history went into the designs for every character and environment in Wish. “Star’s face shape is a heart, which is also inspired by the face of Mickey Mouse,” Sastrawinata-Lemay explained. “And you will notice Star does not talk and spreads magic dust, just like Tinker Bell.”
Star isn’t the only character with some classic inspiration. It’s clear from watching Wish that each of main character Asha’s (Ariana DeBose) friends are inspired by the seven dwarf characters from Snow White, including Safi (Ramy Youssef) representing Sneezy, Simon (Evan Peters) as Sleepy, Dario as Dopey (Jon Rudnitsky) and Gabo (Harvey Guíllen) as Grumpy.
Sastrawinata-Lemay also shared that Asha herself was inspired by Walt’s original concept for his Disney princesses, in which the princess herself appears in contemporary garb while surrounded by supporting characters who dress in the style of the time period.
“If you look close, you will notice Snow White has a 1930s hairstyle, Cinderella wears a 1950 Dior-style dress. This was done on purpose by Walt, to be more relatable,” said Sastrawinata-Lemay. “So you will see in our film, Asha has contemporary braids that many African-American women wear today.” But the queen character is the only one to wear buttons as in the film’s 1500s-1600s time period, she added, as “only the wealthy could afford buttons as they required help to put on.”
Other nods to classic Disney movies in Wish include two appearances by Peter Pan — once in an orb controlled by King Magnifico and another towards the end of the film. Animals also play a part, with a deer named Bambi and a bear named John, based on Little John from Robin Hood. Asha is also referenced multiple times as a “fairy godmother,” in a nod to Cinderella. And of course, the film ends with a classic firework show, including Mickey Mouse-shaped fireworks and a wink from Star.
Wish hits theaters on Wednesday.
This year, Disney is celebrating the release of Wish, a milestone in the company’s history, marking 100 years since the release of Steamboat Willie in 1923. This animated film promises to be a magical experience for viewers, drawing on the rich history and iconic characters of Disney animation.
In celebration of the release, Walt Disney Animation Studios offered select groups an exclusive inside look at the creative process behind Wish at its famous Burbank headquarters. As part of this experience, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a private drawing class with Griselda Sastrawinata-Lemay, the production and costume designer for Wish. During this class, participants had the unique experience of learning to draw the film’s character, Star.
Sastrawinata-Lemay shared insights into the intricate designs of the characters and environments in Wish, emphasizing the influence of Disney Animation history. She explained how Star’s face shape, inspired by the beloved Mickey Mouse, and her actions, reminiscent of Tinker Bell’s magic dust, are a tribute to classic Disney characters.
The film features a cast of characters with nods to Disney’s rich history, creating a sense of nostalgia and familiarity for audiences. Each of Asha’s friends in the film is inspired by the seven dwarf characters from Snow White, with each character embodying the unique qualities of the original dwarfs.
Furthermore, Sastrawinata-Lemay revealed the inspiration behind Asha herself, drawing from Walt Disney’s original concept for Disney princesses. The film presents Asha in contemporary attire, surrounded by supporting characters who dress in the style of the time period, creating a relatable and engaging visual experience for viewers.
Additionally, the film includes various references to classic Disney movies, such as appearances by Peter Pan, animals named after iconic characters like Bambi and Little John, and the recurring theme of the “fairy godmother,” paying homage to Cinderella.
With its rich ties to Disney’s extensive animation legacy, the film captures the essence of Disney magic and nostalgia while introducing a new and captivating storyline for audiences to enjoy.
As the release date approaches, anticipation for Wish continues to build, with the film poised to enchant audiences with its classic inspirations and timeless storytelling, marking a significant milestone in Disney’s history.
Wish is set to release in theaters on Wednesday, offering viewers an immersive and enchanting experience that celebrates the legacy and innovation of Disney animation.