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Five things to know before watching Disney’s Wish

From the post-credits sequence, to where to find the songs, to the big character in-joke you should watch for

Star, a little yellow star-shaped blob with a childlike face, hovers among glowing blue-purple orbs above human protagonist Asha (Ariana DeBose) and her talking goat Valentino (Alan Tudyk) in Disney’s animated feature Wish Image: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Tasha Robinson leads Polygon’s movie coverage. She’s covered film, TV, books, and more for 20 years, including at The A.V. Club, The Dissolve, and The Verge.

At Polygon, a lot of us are fans of sitting down to a movie with as little up-front information as possible, for the feeling of discovery. But sometimes, it helps to know a few things going in, whether it’s an interesting fact about the movie’s history, or just knowing how many end-credit scenes to wait for. Here are five things we think you should know about Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new animated feature Wish before watching.

Does Wish have a post-credits scene?

It does! It’s a brief, wordless sequence that doesn’t have any plot relevance, so you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth staying to watch. Like a lot of other elements in Wish, it’s mostly intended as a visual celebration of Disney’s 100-year anniversary. In the scene, a character with a lute plucks out a simple acoustic version of Disney’s signature ballad “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which segues into Disney’s updated CG animated anniversary logo. There isn’t a lot to it, except as another way the movie taps into Disney history. But if you’re sitting there at the end of the movie feeling the kind of nostalgia Disney intended you to feel, it might bring on the warm fuzzies.

Why does Wish’s animation look different from other Disney movies?

Wish is expressly intended as a salute to Disney history, which is why it’s packed full of visual references to past Disney movies. Part of that project had the directors, Chris Buck (Frozen) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (Raya and the Last Dragon story head), trying to digitally approximate Walt Disney Animation’s classic 2D hand-painted look. For this film, they used a digital approach previously tested on the experimental Disney short Paperman.

You can read more about the animation development process and the software used to render it in our behind-the-scenes look at Wish’s animation.

Where can I hear the songs from Wish?

King Magnifico (Chris Pine), the royal villain in Disney’s animated movie Wish, belts his heart out on his villain song “This Is the Thanks I Get” with his eye closed, head thrown back, and arms held out to the sides, as an honor guard of black suits of armor holding pikes kneels on both sides of him, raising their palms in respect Image: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Possibly anticipating piracy and deciding to just get all the video-play payout for themselves, Disney has released the Wish soundtrack in an official playlist on YouTube. There are quite a few songs, so if these were all actual clips from the movies, you’d be able to watch a significant chunk of Disney’s Wish free online. Instead, these are lyric videos. If you’re the kind of person who likes to listen to a musical’s songs ahead of time (we don’t understand you, but we know you’re out there), or you’re previewing the movie for younger viewers, or you come out of Wish with a particular song you want to revisit, that’s the easiest way to do it.

As of press time, a few of the songs were also on Spotify on Disney’s channel, but the whole album hadn’t been uploaded yet.

Who wrote the songs in Wish?

Disney fans may notice that Wish’s songs don’t have that Broadway-number, singalong quality common to so many Disney musicals, and that they’re more like radio-ready modern pop. That’s because the lyrics were written by Grammy-nominated pop artist Julia Michaels, who’s previously written songs for Justin Bieber (“Sorry”), Ed Sheeran (“Dive”), Gwen Stefani (“Used To Love You”), and Britney Spears (“Slumber Party”), among others. The music is by Michaels and indie-rock producer Benjamin Rice. They gave Wish a much glossier pop sound than most Disney movies, somewhat akin to the radio remixes of Disney soundtrack songs that have been common since the Disney Renaissance.

Why do some of Wish’s characters look so familiar?

Oof. So you may wind up wondering why the protagonist, Asha (Ariana DeBose), has a squad of seven pals backing her up — characters who mostly don’t have a lot to do, but are almost always together throughout the movie. Those characters are an extended gag from Disney history: They’re modeled after the dwarfs from Disney’s first animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Not only are their outfits color-coded after the dwarfs, they each have characteristics specific to the Snow White characters.

The “seven dwarfs” reference characters in Disney’s animated movie Wish — from left to right, Hal, Safi, Dahlia, Simon, Gabo, Bazeema, and Dario — stand in a crowd scene together, looking concerned Image: Walt Disney Animation Studios
The seven dwarfs from Disney’s 1937 animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs all crowd onto a wooden balcony together Image: Walt Disney Animation Studios

How to tell which Wish character is which dwarf? The fastest way is to check the first letters of their names. Dahlia (Jennifer Kumiyama), Asha’s best friend with the little round glasses and a tendency to lead the group, is Doc. The paranoid, constantly complaining Gabo (Harvey Guillén) is Grumpy. Smiley but not very assertive Hal (Niko Vargas) is Happy. Simon (Evan Peters), the big guy who’s dazed and half-conscious for much of the movie, is Sleepy. Safi (Ramy Youssef), whose only characteristic is that can’t stop sneezing, is Sneezy. Dario (Jon Rudnitsky), the big-eared guy whose job is saying clueless things, is Dopey. And Bazeema (Della Saba), the introvert who keeps disappearing early in the movie, is Bashful. None of this is spelled out in the movie, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

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