Fans "Wish" Disney Had Used These Abandoned Concepts

Happy New Year, princess fans! When a new year begins, many of us think about things we can do better than the year before. There is no company this notion applies to better than Disney, which has been failing in every direction now more so than ever. Their latest feature, Wish, was a genuinely solid movie that sadly did not make the profits it deserved. Following its theatrical run, many fans noticed that the concepts presented in the official Art of Wish book would have elevated it from a good movie to a great one. Most of these concepts revolved around love and romance, which has been strategically removed from modern Disney Princess archetypes, despite being a staple of the brand prior to the past decade. Despite some early rumors that Asha might be the daughter of King Magnifico and Queen Amaya, the film's director Chris Buck explained in an interview why he was adamantly against making her a princess, which may have been another mistake that could have altered the movie's tragic fate.

The most egregious mistake in the production of the film that has everybody talking is the removal of "Star Boy," an anthropomorphic shapeshifting version of the "Star" character that would have served as a love interest for Asha. It is heavily rumored that "At All Costs," one of the strongest yet most out-of-place songs in the film, was originally meant to be a romantic duet between Asha and Star Boy due to the slightly altered lyrics in the demo version of the song. After all, there isn't a lot of ambiguity behind the lyric "I wanna love you as one does," which is why it was changed to "I wanna promise as one does" when the song was used to describe Maginifico's obsession with guarding the people's wishes instead. If they had gone with the original version involving Star Boy falling in love with Asha, it would not only have been a beautiful tribute to Disney's history of engaging love stories, but it also would have added a compelling new element of a seemingly impossible paranormal romance between a human girl a celestial boy who lives in the sky. Granted, a similar plot was used in 2007's Stardust, but that movie was mediocre at best in comparison to the Neil Gaiman novel it was based on. Regardless, it would have been an original plot for a Disney film that could have gone in a different direction. You can listen to the original demo of "At All Costs" below and decide for yourself.

The other scrapped concept for Wish was that Queen Amaya actually loved King Magnifico despite his villainous ways. A wife who is actually in love with her husband? What a novel concept! The official art book for the film reveals a concept sketch of the power couple imposingly scheming together and enjoying every second of it. Amaya was by far the weakest element of Wish, repeatedly forsaking her husband in favor of following the righteous majority despite being described as Magnifico's "loyal wife" in the opening narration. It would have made sense for her to be more similar to Magnifico than different since she did marry him, after all. It also would have provided a bigger challenge for Asha to go up against two powerful foes instead of one, which hearkens back to the rumored concept of her being their rebellious daughter, placing her squarely back in Disney Princess territory. Giving a villain a love interest would not only be a first for Disney, but it would also add an additional layer of depth to both characters, proving that even villains can still understand the concept of love despite being unwilling to share it with anyone other than a select few. As an added bonus, it would also pay tribute to Disney's long history of evil queens.

After writing a princess screenplay of my own, I understand the struggle of wanting to stay true to original ideas while also being open to feedback and popular demand. Considering the box office results of Wish, it's apparent that the filmmakers went about this the wrong way. It wouldn't be the first time that iconic princess film concepts were scrapped. Jeffrey Katzenberg is infamous for trying to convince songwriters Alan Menken and Howard Ashman to remove "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid after some children looked bored during the sequence at an early screening. Thankfully, the creative team won that battle. Another potentially iconic Disney Princess sequence that never saw the light of day was the "Princess Academy" short that featured a beautifully animated crossover of every Disney Princess and heroine character from the time gathering at a special school to bond over shared interests and experiences and improve their skills as princesses and heroic females. This 2009 short was a huge loss for princess fans. Other deleted concepts that are more widely available to the public are the demo songs from the Frozen soundtrack, which are arguably better than the ones that made it to the final film. Anna's deleted song, "More Than Just the Spare," was an excellent character study that was used to develop her personality despite not being used in the film, and the catchy duet, "Life's Too Short," did a much better job of showcasing the sisters' troubled relationship than "For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)."

By reflecting on various aspects of Wish in the new year, it becomes evident that the potential for a more compelling and resonant narrative was left unexplored. From the missed opportunity of a celestial romance between Asha and Star Boy and the intriguing complexities of Queen Amaya's character to the impact of scrapped songs and sequences, it's clear that there were significant unfulfilled possibilities. This serves as a reminder that even in the realm of beloved tales and princess stories, the creative process is not immune to missteps and unrealized potential. As we eagerly anticipate the future offerings from Disney and the evolution of the princess narrative, it is essential to appreciate the lessons learned from missed opportunities and the enduring value of staying true to the original spirit of these captivating tales. Would you have preferred the Wish that could have been? Let me know in the comments!


Lady Culturina said…
When I first heard of « Wish », I thought that Asha would develop the capacity to hop in Disney movies where characters make a wish ( « Snow White », “Pinocchio”, “Cinderella”, “Aladdin “,”The princess and the frog”, etc. ).With graphic changes every time, into the Spider verse style. Even if it’s not that, I thought later that it would be the origin story of the Blue fairy, as Star is a baby star. But no connection to other movies either(unless Magnifico. is the spirit of the magic mirror of the evil queen). Personally I really wanted Asha to be a princess, but an honorary one. I ‘m attached to the cute Star, and I am not sure I wanted the star boy to replace her-I wanted more. I’d like Disney to not put this milestone celebration under the rug, just because it did not make enough money. It deserves to be extended in a TV show, Asha to be crowned Rosas’s heir, going to wishes grantees academy with Disney fairies, and met Star boy
Lisa Dawn said…
I thought that at first too, but that would have made it too similar to Kingdom Hearts.
Sugar said…
The problem is that I fear that Disney has become...insecure, the numerous criticisms from the brand's detractors has caused them to discard the motives and narrative arcs why it became so beloved in the first place. It just seems like they started worrying too much about how all those detractors would like them (even if they had to turn their backs on the rest of their fans) instead of perfecting what was already good, I mean it's not like the new generations hate romance, just look at all the success that anime and romantic novels have!
Also having a villainous couple whose "rebellious" daughter is rebellious because she is a good person who refuses to follow her parents' villainy would be a GREAT IDEA to the whole "I'm rebellious because it's the right thing to do" concept instead of the Star Butterfly thing "I'm rebellious because I hate princess responsibilities and I want to have fun."
However, I have my doubts about whether Disney will realize WHAT the mistake is as I fear that they will resort to digging deeper into the pit of mistakes and decide that what they need is even less romance, fewer feelings and more heroines kicking ass and being "warrior princesses who don't need anyone." Anime has been responsible for satisfying the desire for romance in recent years, but it is still not the same as the innocent romance of the 90s and 2000s.
Lisa Dawn said…
Truthfully, I think that the few examples of modern romance in the media today are still better than the way it was done in the '90s and early 2000s. After rewatching a lot of old romcoms, I realized that era promoted unhealthy relationships and made it seem like couples would be okay if they got back together at the end, and all the bad stuff they did before that doesn't matter anymore. '90s anime in particular had a tendency to promote guys picking on girls as "cute" or romantic (see Sailor Moon or Yu Yu Hakusho), which promoted the problematic stereotype that if a guy teases you, it means he likes you. My favorite fantasy romance was Once Upon a Time inn Wonderland, which came out in 2013 because Alice and Cyrus always treated each other well. It still took place in the era of strong female characters who could rescue themselves (hence why Alice had to rescue Cyrus instead of the other way around), but it also introduced a short-lived era of healthy relationships and showed that couples don't have to be emotionally abusive to be happy together. Shortly after that, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend came out, which celebrated the idea of glorifying romance while simultaneously deconstructing problematic ideas from earlier eras and teaching that it isn't healthy to rush into a bad relationship without working out your own issues first. I think modern account and whatever few Western series that still contain romance have improved upon the genre from past decades (see I'm Giving the Disgraced Noble Lady I Rescued a Crash Course in Naughtiness and Tangled: The Series). I also think that despite the multicultural popularity of anime, it is still made primarily for Japanese viewers, hence the different viewpoints from Western media. Still, I think media does a better job with love stories now in general, and the only problem is that Western series and films refuse to incorporate them anymore if they can help it.
Sugar said…
I guess I always interpreted the 90s more as the enemies-to-lovers dynamic where at first the protagonists can't stand each other but then they end up loving each other and then they fall in love, the romance part being what happens when their relationships have already softened.
On the other hand, my knowledge is limited more than anything to anime and what was broadcast in my country (Chile) in the 2000/2010 decade were many things from Japanese anime from the 80s onwards, not strictly the 90s, so we could be thinking about different series. But without a doubt if we talk about animes like "Hana yori dango" there are certainly several problems there...or Candy Candy and the slaps.
On the other hand, my discontent with the current romance is with the animated field...I enjoy animation but really the romances that they incorporate in Western series have not interested me much like Ladybug or Star vs (well they interested me but I did not like how they developed those dynamics)...Tangled I don't count it since the protagonists were a couple from the beginning and Owl House and Steven Universe are not my area of ​​interest (princesses and magical girls) I guess Regal Academy was the closest or Lolirock.
Lisa Dawn said…
I consider the "enemies to lovers" trope to be more like Romeo and Juliet, where two people are placed in a situation where they are supposed to hate each other due to their families, social status, or occupation, but realize that they actually like each other upon getting to know each other. I don't count it as two people who are cruel to each other for no apparent reason and eventually change their minds for no apparent reason again. When it just comes to animation, I suppose Saban did a good job of portraying healthy relationships in '90s with their Little Mermaid and Princess Sissi series, although neither of those shows were very entertaining outside of that. I also really liked the love story between Peter Parker and Mary Jane in the '90s Spider-Man cartoon even though it ended in tragedy.

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