Disney revealed new information about Chris Pine’s big villain in its upcoming animated film, Wish.
Everybody loves a good Disney villain. Ursula, Jafar, Mother Gothel, Maleficent—the list goes on. These dastardly evil-gooders are a key part of Disney Animation’s long legacy.
Oddly enough, it’s been a long time since one of the studio's films had a real villain in the spotlight. Not even Bruno, from the extremely popular film Encanto (which is hopefully getting a sequel), can be properly considered a bad guy.
Wish Creatives Talk About Chris Pine's Villain
The Direct was in attendance with various other press outlets on September 21 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California as Disney showed off new footage from its upcoming animated film, Wish.
One clip presented to the audience was a new villain song from Chris Pine’s King Magnifico, titled “This is the Thanks I Get." The catchy melody will undoubtedly be loved by Disney fans, and it feels like a classic bad-guy tune in the making.
The song features Magnifico theatrically lamenting about how unthankful his subjects are after they start questioning the safety of their wishes, which were previously given to the King for safekeeping in hopes that he’d one day grant them.
After the new footage, some of the creatives behind the project sat down for a Q&A, including Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Jennifer Lee, Wish co-directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, and producers Peter Del Vecho and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones.
One of the first things that Buck spoke about was Chris Pine’s scene-stealing villain. She shared how they knew “[their] audience was craving for another villain:”
"Well, for us, too, it was like we always wanted to do a nod to the Disney villains. And our audience was craving for another villain. So, [that new song is] just the beginning of him, so yeah, there's more to see. Asha will have to find the strength within herself to inspire the entire kingdom to stand up to Magnifico and use increasingly dangerous magic in the hopes of saving Star and saving them all."
When asked by a member of the audience what the team was thinking about when they created Magnifico and if there were any specific Disney villains or real-life personalities behind his inspirations, Lee admitted that they wanted viewers to “meet the best of him” but hopefully, by the end of the movie, “survive the worst of him:”
"You know, what's interesting is we talked at length. First, we started with, what do we think about for villains that we'd love to do? How can we be different from the previous films but also a nod to them? And it really is about getting to watch that journey. So we knew we wanted to start where you get to watch him make choices where you might meet the best of him, and then hopefully, survive the worst of him."
She then complimented songwriter Julia Michaels and how Magnifico’s song was born out of “the idea of a narcissist” while also hilariously serving as “a nod to all moms put up with in the house:”
"And so that was there. And Julia Michaels was instrumental because “This Is the Thanks I Get” as an idea, which, hilariously, is a nod to all moms put up within the house. We talked a lot about [and] for her, she hooked on the idea of a narcissist. So it comes really simple, down to character and the deliciousness and danger of that. And so, for me, when I write, that's how I had to process it, was from inside out. And the person, the charm of that, that, when tested, people make different choices when tested."
Lee elaborated how “the playground always comes from character” and that building Magnifico’s character “was so fun to do:”
"And so, the playground always comes from character. I think people see different things in it and different societies in it, but that's just because that's how we live and who we are. So we're really trying to not do one. We're not. And actually, you'll see the queen make very different choices from him. I won't give those away. But it's really just about what we kept coming back to is, at the core of the person, who's the most vulnerable in some ways to these things? And Julia was instrumental in that. But boy, that was so fun to do once we started building it."
Later in the panel, Lee also dropped a tantalizing tease suggesting that Asha and King Magnifico might even get a duo:
"And I'm gonna tease a song, but I won't say what it is. There's a song that I have always dreamed of having a moment where the protagonist and villain are aligned in their philosophies because it's before life really challenges you to. When you're challenged is how you make choices."
Will Disney's Wish Villain Deliver?
With Chris Pine fresh off his fan-favorite performance in Dungeons and Dragons, fans are undoubtedly thrilled to see his talents added to Disney Animation’s legacy.
The Direct was in attendance at the Wish Press Event where “This is the Thanks I Get" was unveiled and can confirm that the song is everything fans would want from a big, showy Disney villain moment.
Given time, it could even be included in the same conversation as other classics like Mother Gothel's “Mother Knows Best,” Gaston’s humble “Gaston,” and Ursula’s "Poor Unfortunate Souls." It’s wicked and theatrical in all the right ways.
The last villain song that a Disney animated movie gave its antagonist was “Shiny” from Moana, and it’s not exactly a favorite amongst audiences.
Hopefully, King Magnifico will fare better in the long run than Moana’s crustacean letdown.
Wish releases in theaters on November 22.