One hundred Easter eggs to celebrate 100 years. Sounds like the perfect celebration for any Disney fan. We’re just glad they aren’t actual eggs.
Walt Disney Animation‘s newest film debuts next week, and fans are already buying tickets and planning for a special night at the box office with friends and family–some of them as the kickoff to their Thanksgiving holiday celebration.
Disney’s Wish tells the story of Asha, a “sharp-witted idealist” who makes a powerful wish–one so powerful that it is ultimately answered by a “cosmic force” in the form of a little ball of nonstop energy. And, as is fitting, the little ball is called “Star.”
Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe—the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico—to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.
Featuring the voices of Academy Award®-winning actor Ariana DeBose as Asha, Chris Pine as Magnifico, and Alan Tudyk as Asha’s favorite goat, Valentino, the film is helmed by Oscar®-winning director Chris Buck (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (“Raya and the Last Dragon”), produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Juan Pablo Reyes (“Encanto”). Jennifer Lee (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) executive produces—Lee and Allison Moore (“Night Sky,” “Manhunt”) are writers on the project. With original songs by Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels and Grammy-winning producer/songwriter/musician Benjamin Rice, plus a score by composer Dave Metzger.
Walt Disney Animation is the most fitting studio to produce Wish since, as Animation Magazine puts it, “No other studio in the world is more closely associated with wishes and dreams than Walt Disney Animation Studios.”
Disney’s 62nd Animated Feature Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary
But perhaps the best thing about Disney’s upcoming animated feature film is the fact that it is reportedly packed full of Disney Easter eggs, allusions, and nods to some of the studio’s most beloved classic films–100 of them, to be exact.
Disney and Pixar Animation Studios are notorious for adding tiny little “self-referential” movie elements in their films. But 100 of these elements in one film is most likely some kind of a record for the studios. Earlier in the production of the film, filmmakers, along with Jennifer Lee, current chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation, made their best guesses, saying there were more than 70 allusions to other classic Disney films in Wish.
Shortly thereafter, however, Wish producer Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster-Jones revealed that he had actually created a spreadsheet to track every single Disney film reference, or Easter egg, in the film. Lancaster-Jones says there are at least 100 entries on his spreadsheet.
Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthornm, co-directors of the film, say there are even more–somewhere between 100 and 150 in total,
“It’s a very long spreadsheet,” Lancaster-Jones explained.
The New Film Was Created As a Tribute to The Walt Disney Company
Wish, written by Jennifer Lee and Allison Moore, was reportedly inspired by the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company, initially incepted by Walt Disney and his brother Roy O. Disney on October 16, 1923.
“The conception of the movie was really as a love letter to Disney Animation,” he says. “And then, organically, all of these things started to come together, like having a classic villain, having talking animals. But it all needed to feel organic to the story.”
Jennifer Lee seconded Lancaster-Jones’s claims.
“When we first wrote the story, we wrote it very straight as this original fairy tale,” Lee explains. “And as we were rewriting and things were evolving, certain things would come in that almost felt like they were there for us. I’ll just tease the concept of mirrors. They did it organically. And then, over time, we also said, ‘Let’s not take ourselves too seriously. Let’s have fun.’”
Some Easter Eggs Are Hidden in Plain Sight; Others Are Hard to Find
In Disney’s Wish, the many Easter eggs are specific–and then again, some of them are general. Some will be more easily found than others. Yahoo! Entertainment explains:
For instance, the film’s premise traffics in some classic Disney tropes, following Asha as she interviews to become an apprentice to the sorcerer King Magnifico (hello, “Fantasia”), wishes upon a star to gain her own powers (hey, “Pinocchio”) — which will include talking to animals (“Snow White”), including a charismatic rabbit (“Bambi”) — and reveals Magnifico to be a scepter-wielding (“Sleeping Beauty”) evil royal (“Snow White” again). Lee also teases bits of Walt Disney is Asha and Mickey Mouse in the anthropomorphic Star.
“There are things that thematically that are underneath it that are deeper,” Lee says.
There are other Easter eggs in the film, including subtle salutes to Walt Disney Animation Studios, including a Mickey-shaped mask and a poison apple sitting on King Magnifico’s desk in the film.
“The hidden gems are so great,” says actress Ariana DeBose, the lead voice in Disney’s Wish. “I’ve spotted many of them. I don’t know that I’ve gotten all 100 or over 100 hidden gems or nods, but Alice in Wonderland is all over the film, which I love. There are some beautiful references to Pocahontas. Some of this animation is inspired by Sleeping Beauty. I’ve seen Fox and the Hound. I’ve seen Bambi. I’ve seen a lot. Atlantis. I’m not going to tell you because that’s not fun for me. There’s a simple one. If you look at her friends, there are seven of them. “But if you love Disney, you’re going to find something to love in this movie.”
“And people are going to hopefully have to watch this movie many times to find all of them,” adds Lancaster-Jones with a laugh.
Fans can catch Disney’s Wish in theaters beginning November 22.