As Disney celebrates its 100-year legacy, their latest animated film Wish pays homage to what we know best about wishes — “a wish is a dream your heart makes.” Looking to the stars, those extraordinary celestial beings from above, is what made Pinocchio turn into a real boy, Tiana become an entrepreneur, and Moana save her island. We now meet Asha, who has a wish so powerful that a star comes to her and befriends her. Aptly named Star, the two go on a quest to save her village, bring back hope to her people, and reinforce the idea that wishes do come true.
Asha is our north star guiding us along in the story of Wish and there is a lot to learn about her. So who exactly is Asha? Directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn along with executive producer Jennifer Lee provided some insight about who Asha is and what makes her so notable to the story behind Wish in a press conference Q&A. Here are 6 things you need to know about Asha in Disney’s Wish.
Who is playing Asha in Wish?
Oscar-winning performer Ariana DeBose is the voice of Asha in Wish. DeBose, a Disney fan herself, met with animators as she prepared for the role. Director Chris Buck stated DeBose was “very active within the [recording] booth” during her sessions. Buck also described DeBose as being “expressive and fun to work with.” Director Fawn Veerasunthorn articulated beautifully that DeBose had her own experience of becoming an overnight success to now playing a teen rising to a level that she didn’t know she had inside of her. “She was able to capture that vulnerability,” Veerasunthorn says.
What is Asha’s racial background?
Asha is of North African and South European descent according to director Fawn Veerasunthorn.
Who are Asha’s parents?
Chris Buck states that Sakina, voiced by actor Natasha Rothwell, is North African. Sabino is Asha’s 100-year old grandfather who is of Southern European descent. He is voiced by actor Victor Garber. Sakina is Asha’s biological mother, and Asha’s father died when she was 12. Sabino is from Asha’s father’s side of the family.
What is the significance of Asha’s Song “This Wish”?
Written by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels, “This Wish” was penned before there was a script for the film according to executive producer Jennifer Lee. When Asha loses all hope and turns to the stars, it is this song that she sings in hopes of sparking all her ambition to come back again. According to Chris Buck, there was only a 2-paragraph outline created at the time the song was written.
How old is Asha and where is she from?
Asha is 17 years old. She is a descendant of the magical kingdom of Rosas, an island located off the Iberian Peninsula. While it is a small tight-knit community that lives there, according to Fawn Veerasunthorn, it is a very diverse community ethnically and people carry their culture with them. Rosas is a destination city where people travel from all over the world to immigrate there. However, the costumes and architecture are heavily influenced by North African and Southern European cultures.
Asha makes her big screen debut in theaters nationwide on November 22, 2023. Along with Asha comes a charismatic cast of characters including King Magnifico (Chris Pine), Queen Amaya (Angelique Cabral), and the opinionated goat Valentino (Alan Tudyk). Best wishes this holiday season, and we look forward to seeing Asha light up our hearts this Thanksgiving.
Check out the new trailer below:
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Jamie Broadnax is the creator of the online publication and multimedia space for Black women called Black Girl Nerds. Jamie has appeared on MSNBC's The Melissa Harris-Perry Show and The Grio's Top 100. Her Twitter personality has been recognized by Shonda Rhimes as one of her favorites to follow. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association and executive producer of the Black Girl Nerds Podcast.