Disney's latest animated feature, Wish, arrives as part of the House of Mouse's centenary celebrations – so there was never any doubt that it was going to pay homage to some of the iconic films that have come before it.


And, speaking during an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, co-director Chris Buck revealed just how much he and the rest of the creative team leaned on the studio's history when they were crafting the new film.

"We wanted to do an original story with original cast and original music," he explained "We knew all that, we just didn't have the concept yet – and this is early on.

"And so we thought, a great idea to do would be to take a still from each one of our films, be inspired by the legacy, pin them up on one board so you can see everything."

He added that seeing each of the films alongside each other made it clear that the common thread between them was "characters wishing on stars" - and so this quickly became the focus of the new film.

"That became kind of our true north, and that lifted a lot of the pressure off of our shoulders," Buck said. "It's like, 'Okay, this is in the Disney DNA, this seems like a perfect thing to play with.'"

As well as leaning on Disney's past from a thematic point of view, the film also includes a number of visual references to previous Disney movies - and Buck's co-director Fawn Veerasunthorn explained the process behind some of these nods.

"The conceit was to let the story stand on its own right, as an original story," she said. "And those aspects came later in the process of working on the actual scenes, and so many artists wanted to express their love for characters and stories that they grew up with.

"And we thought it was a nice way to make this collective love letter to Walt and the artists that came before us."

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Meanwhile, writer Jennifer Lee added that the film's unique hybrid style of CGI and watercolour animation also took inspiration from earlier films, with Sleeping Beauty having been a particularly key reference point.

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"There are a couple of things that were big that we knew we wanted to do, like, particularly the look being inspired mostly by Sleeping Beauty and the old watercolours," she said.

"And then it was conversations and layers and the animators bring ideas. And sometimes you go, 'That's too far.' Other times, there was a moment – and I can't say what it is, but it'll be clear when people see it – where two things lined up from the legacy of many of our films, almost as if they were there for us waiting for us to discover it.

"And when it hit, it was like the entire third act poured out in a weekend."


Wish is now showing in UK cinemas. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.
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