Disney’s Wish filmmakers reveal what makes a memorable villain, and how that was applied to Disney’s newest, King Magnifico.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Wish is a musical-comedy welcoming audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force – a little ball of boundless energy called Star. She is threatened by the King of Rosas, King Magnifico, who becomes the first true Disney villain fans have seen in a while.
We sat down with Directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn and Producers Peter Del Vecho and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones to talk about Disney’s 100 year film, Wish. Chris Pine delivers an incredible performance as King Magnifico and will send shivers down your spine. We asked the filmmakers what they think it is that makes a memorable villain, and how that was applied to Magnifico.
Wish Filmmakers Reveal What Makes Magnifico A Great Villain
Peter Del Vecho explains that from the beginning they wanted to bring back the classic Disney villain. “But Magnifico has a unique quality in that he also has to be charismatic and charming.” He goes on detail that the audience has to believe that people would travel from everywhere, and give their most precious wish to him believing that he would protect it.
“So that meant our villain had to have all those qualities. Chris Pine, I think, embodies that,” Peter says. “He’s very self aware of how handsome he is. But at the same time, we get to watch this character devolve into a true classic villain throughout the course of the movie. And I think that’s what makes him so fun.”
Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones adds, “Talking about our classic Disney Villains, obviously, there’s a lot of nods to the past, while still keeping him fresh.” Juan Pablo beams as he says, “It’s the return of the villain song, and you have the green magic, and all of those things that feel very, very Disney, but at the same time, it’s Magnifico’s own take on it.”
Chris Buck says that it was their desire from the beginning to create a villain that viewers would know is a villain from early on, but also believes Magnifico is different from we have seen before. “I think he’s different than a lot of our villains. When they come on to the screen, they’re fully formed villains, and this one you get to see, he’s charming at first, and you get to see his descent into villainy. You get to see this origin story of a villain. That was exciting to us.”
“What makes a great villain is a character that is larger than life. He’s so narcissistic. He knows that he’s good looking and all of that…” Chris says before Fawn Veerasunthorn adds, “He has a fun personality. He’s not afraid to show off what he’s about.”
“Chris Pine helped us craft this character. We wrote this charismatic, charming, totally villain character, and he brought this angle with fun and humor,” she explains. “We were like, Let’s keep this up the whole time, even in third act. Just keep this personality alive every time he’s on screen.”
Chris Buck reveals that the thought of him as a rock star. “When he comes on the stage, and he’s doing his magic, we told all the animators and think of any rock star coming on the stage. He runs in, does his thing. He’s very in shape, so he can run all over the place. So there’s so many fun aspects to him, and he enjoys being a rock star.”
Fawn admits that even when he went off the rails, they told the animators just keep him appealing. Chris explains that you see it early on. There’s a few moments where his hair gets out of place and he puts it back, but as the film goes on, he doesn’t care. His hair goes out of place and it stays down.
See the next great Disney villain, Magnifico, take the stage when Disney’s Wish hits theaters on November 22nd.
Full Wish Filmmaker Interviews
Don’t miss our full interviews with the filmmakers of Disney’s Wish!
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wish” is an all-new musical-comedy welcoming audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy 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”), and produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones (“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 score by composer Dave Metzger, “Wish” opens only in theaters on Nov. 22, 2023.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.