The original version of Wish was so much better than what we got

As Wish arrives on Disney+, various reveals prove the original ideas for the movie would have been so much better than the final product!
Ariana DeBose in Wish - credit: Disney
Ariana DeBose in Wish - credit: Disney /

Disney’s Wish is now on Disney+, giving a second chance to build on what was sadly a big box office flop. However, this home release just highlights the way the story is lacking and not the success of Disney’s 100th anniversary. This is all the more jarring, considering Disney has been revealing more about the version of Wish that could have been and how that would have been a lot better. 

Disney wanted Wish to be the big culmination of the 100th anniversary of the Studio. It was meant to be a classic story, much like the Disney films of old, as a young woman named Asha (Ariana DeBose) lives in a kingdom where King Magnifico (Chris Pine) grants people’s wishes. But Asha soon learns that Magnifico is only granting the wishes he thinks “worthy” and soon discovers how they grant him more power. 

After finding a star coming to Earth, Asha is on a quest to take Magnifico down and free the wishes. It could have been a great movie, packed with fun songs, but the critical reaction was mixed, and worse, even the biggest Disney fanatics found it cookie-cutter. 

In many ways, the movie feels less like Disney than the various wannabes you saw in the late 1990s (Quest For Camelot, The Prince of Egypt, etc). It relies on scores of cliches we’ve seen in previous movies, from “adorkable heroine” to talking sidekick to snide jokes, etc. It’s not so much bad as it’s frustrating in that there was potential to be something great.

That potential was showcased in various materials, from deleted scenes on the Blu-ray to an “Art of Wish” book that shows the various ideas that were thrown out, all of which sound far more interesting than what we go. Marvel at how Wish might truly have been a magical film rather than the dull film we got. 

Asha’s family were always renegades

In the film, Asha is the first person to realize the truth about Magnifico’s dark side, and her grandfather is dismissive, not wanting to accept that he wishes for nothing. The original idea would have been more interesting as the family lived in “the Hamlet,” a spot in the woods of people who knew how Magnifico was hoarding wishes and so would write theirs out on strings to put around a Wishing Tree. 

Sabino would have encouraged Asha to fight back against Magnifico by relating her own journal on her wishes and hopes. Sabino would have then passed away, pushing Asha to go ahead on her quest. The filmmakers thought it would be more dramatic for Asha to find out the truth on her own, while the concept of a rebellion recognizing Magnico’s true nature could have been an interesting direction. 

Star Would have been Starboy

One of the big changes was that Star was originally going to take on a humanoid form, perhaps a young boy. That would have made him a more vibrant character and a possible romance with Asha. In fact, one idea would have been him taking on a form based on Asha’s memories of a past love who’d died, giving it more pathos.

Star would have kept up the shapeshifting, including a chase through the woods where he takes on various forms, including Olaf. That would have given Star more of a presence and the idea of a romance that could become tragic if he had to sacrifice himself to stop Magnifico, giving the story more pathos. 

Queen Amaya was just as evil

In the film, Queen Amaya is sort of just there, seemingly oblivious to her husband’s dark side and then a sudden turn to the good guys. In short, she’s not much of a character yet that was different in the original story where Asha would have gone to her for help only to discover Amaya was just as evil as Magnifico was. 

The pair were compared by artists to The Sopranos in running the kingdom like a crime empire using the wishes for their own gain. Also how they truly are in love and their mutual lust for power feeds their feelings for each other. The idea of an evil married king and queen would have been glorious, especially if Magnifico’s villain song had been a duet.

Also, they would have had their own cat. Seriously, an evil cat sidekick, how can you say no to that? 

A more evil Magnifico

In the movie, Magnifico discovering absorbing wishes for power is a surprise to him. In the original ideas, it’s set up from the beginning as the reason he does this with Amaya helping him along. It would be shown it’s quite literally a hunger for power, an awesome idea. 

This would have set up a much more bold climax as Asha would try to pass off Valentino as Star with Magnifico swallowing the wishes to transform into a monstrous creature like some demon from Hell. That would have Valentino organize all the talking animals in a grand army for a climax that would have been far more visually stunning than the final film. 

Asha’s friends

A few other differences would have been in Asha’s friends as Dahlia would have been the one believing totally in Magnifico until a confrontation made her realize how evil he was. While running around in the dungeon, Asha and her friends would have found Flazino, an old buddy who had been serving as Magnifico’s apprentice only to find out how bad he was and share ideas on how to beat him. It would have been a good turn for Dahlia to realize her faith in the king was unfounded. Flazino would have been mortally wounded in the final battle with Star healing him.

Also, besides more jokes, Valentino would have been a "fainting goat" with the idea he just couldn't stand upright and the running bit of him trying over and over to climb but never giving up, making for a great character struggle.

There are a few beats here and there, like Sabino getting a deleted song, yet it can’t be denied this version of Wish sounded more vibrant and, in some ways, original compared to the final film. It seems the creators really wanted to put together a delightful movie with true magic and executives micro-managed all the fun out of it. 

It’s a shame that what could have been a wonderful new addition to the Disney animated canon became this letdown and viewers can only wish for the movie that could have been. 

Wish now streaming on Disney+.