Created By: Ronka87 on January 3, 2010

Make A Wish

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Launching tomorrow: Last call for examples and suggestions!

The evening star is shining bright,
So make a wish, and hold on tight,
There's something in the air tonight,
And anything could happen...

Alt. Quote:

Starlight, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
Wish I may, wish I might,
Grant the wish I wish tonight.

A character in a story always wants something badly; that's one of the rules of fiction. To get what they want, some characters use hard work, some use wit and charm, and some just look up at the nearest star and wish really really hard for it.

It always comes true.

Wishing has power in fiction; it's one of the main sources of Applied Phlebotinum. No matter what you want, from a new car to a sudden age-up, you can get it by wishing. Of course, you have to Be Careful What You Wish For and make sure that if you want to be special, normal, or rid of someone in your life, that you actually mean exactly what you say. Good or evil, the wish-granter is almost always a Literal Genie.

The wish may be made in several different ways. Probably the best known is the wish granted by a Genie in a Bottle or some other magical creature; in these cases, the hero generally gets Three Wishes. He might get lucky and end up with a Benevolent Genie, although unlucky ones will have a Jackass Genie.

Other methods, generally only resulting in one wish, include:

  • Wishing wells
  • Birthday candles
  • Wishbones
  • Wishing on a star
  • Seeing a shooting star
  • Some sort of magic wish tool (like a monkey's paw)
  • A lunar/solar eclipse
  • Any number of other things, like blowing on an eyelash, blowing the seeds off a dandylion, or blowing wishing/pixie dust
  • The power of words

After the wish has been granted, the wisher may discover they don't like the way things are going; they'll generally use another wish to hit a Reset Button, though big wishes may end in a Wishplosion. The final shot may reveal that the wish story was All Just a Dream (Or Is It?), though some stories are much more subtle about it and leave it up to the audience whether the "wishes" really came true or were just a string of marvelous coincidences.

Subtropes include Wonderful Life, I Wish It Were Real.


  • The 1986 movie Milly/Willy (aka I Was a Teenage Boy, Something Special), where a girl wishes to be a boy during the solar eclipse.
  • Big, with a wish-granting machine at a fair.
  • Disney is loaded with examples:
    • Snow White, in a wishing well
    • Pinocchio, on a star
    • Aladdin, with a genie in a lamp
    • In Enchanted, the villainess lures Giselle to the portal between her world and ours by saying it's a wishing well.
    • The Princess and the Frog, both the heroine and her best friend make wishes on the evening star, although it's left ambiguous whether it's really the power of the star granting the wish or not. Also, one of the movie's messages is it's not just wishing, but hard work, that makes your dreams come true.
  • In James and the Giant Peach (the movie, can't recall the book), James sends out a balloon wishing for help to take him to New York. Help appears in the form of a strange man with a bag full of magic glowing alligator tongues.
  • Home Alone: "I wish my family would disappear." No magic here, just horrible, horrible bad luck, although Kevin does believe he magicked away his family.
  • 18 Again has a grandfather and grandson who share the same birthday switch bodies after they wish on the same birthday cake
  • The film 13 Going On 30: Wishing powder transports the protagonist into the future
  • Lifetime's How I Married My High School Crush has the teenage heroine transported to the future after making a wish during a solar eclipse. Damn buggy YKTTW.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • December 31, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    • This was the central plot of Edward Eager's The Well-Wishers (children's lit)
    • Dragon Tales did this with a dragon scale in the introduction sequence

    Excellent trope, by the way.
  • December 31, 2009
    • The Star Fairies toyline featured the fairies responsible for granting wishes wished on a star. In the animated special, Princess Sparkle, the head fairy, makes her own wish using the Wishing Well (for a helper).
  • December 31, 2009
    In a rather grimmer way, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  • December 31, 2009
    • Disney had a three-part crossover event called--guess--"Make a Wish Weekend," which had the stars of three shows wish on a shooting star and get their wish to come true. It backfired horribly, of course, and everyone rewound by the end of their episode.
    • Supernatural had the episode "Wishful Thinking," in which the brothers found a town with a working wishing well.
    • The sisters in Charmed went up against a genie who delighted in giving you exactly what you wished for. Exactly what you wished for. Complete with every loophole you didn't close.
    • Danny Phantom had a recurring villain named Desiree, who would grant you any wish.
    • This was the whole premise of Fairly Odd Parents. Complete with the kid's inability to make a wish that didn't go horribly, horribly wrong.
    • Liar Liar had a boy use his birthday wish to wish his lying father couldn't tell a lie for one day.
  • December 31, 2009
    random surfer
    Alladin isn't wishing on a lamp, he's wishing to a genie who lives in the lamp.
    • Towards the end of The Magicians the protagonist captures a Questing Beast which then grants him three wishes. His first wishes is impossible, as is the next one and the one after that. The Beast still counts them as his first wish.
  • December 31, 2009
    • In the Christmas Special Christopher The Christmas Tree, when Christopher first meets Hooty,, he expresses his belief in wishes, partially to explain why he's still optimistic about becoming a Christmas tree, despite not being picked year after year. "But I believe in wishes. I know they come true, as sure as the stars above." He also encourages Hooty to make a wish, which Hooty does, while a chorus sings about wishing on a star in the background (no, not that song). By the end of the special, both Christopher and Hooty have gotten their wishes.
      • The album on which the animated special is based is even more explicit about wishing on a star, as Christopher tells Hooty, "You can have anything in the whole world you want, if you wish on the Wishing Star. But you gotta believe in it, or it won't come true."
      • In both the album and the animated special, there's a little boy who wishes on the star on his Christmas tree, but since his wish is to be President of the United States, we don't get to see if his wish comes true or not.
  • January 1, 2010
    • Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Darby receives three wishes after capturing King Brian of the leprechauns.
  • January 1, 2010
    • Lilo And Stitch The Series had an experiment which granted wishes, and could only do a certain number of them, and took your wishes literally (for instance, if you wish to become ruler of the universe, you will become a ruler, that is a stationery equipment). The episode ends up teaching the Aesop of "Be careful what you wish for".
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force had a genie cat named Jenji who granted each person a wish. However, if you wish for more wishes (as Xander did) you render the "contract" null and void.
    • An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures has Elmyra wish on a star for her doll to become real, which it does. After being terrorised for a day she wishes on the star again to make the doll like all her other they all become real!
  • January 1, 2010
    The film Labyrinth has the heroine wishing goblins would take away her bay brother, thus triggering the plot of her trying to rescue him.
  • January 1, 2010
    Your girl wishing to be a boy film: I did a quick web search, and that suggested Willy/Milly (1986) (a.k.a. I Was a Teenage Boy, a.k.a. Something Special).
  • January 1, 2010
    Thanks, Robin Zimm! That seems to be it. I got a few of the details wrong, but I saw it when I was five or something, and it wasn't that great a movie anyway. I bow to your Google-fu.
  • January 1, 2010
    Strictly speaking, I used Microsoft's Bing to find an identical question on Yahoo! Answers whose answer led me to IMDB, but you're welcome!
  • January 1, 2010
    • The Animaniacs Big Damn Movie had the entire cast racing to be the first to the Wishing Star.
    • There's an old Fairy Tale about wishing to never go hungry and getting a pot that cooks porridge with commands the wishers can't
    • There's another fable about a husband and wife wishing for food which ends with the husband getting fed up and saying "I wish that
    sausage was on your nose!" outwits him with "I wish we'd never even found you in the first place!"
    • Norm the Genie on The Fairly Oddparents is in a lava lamp and the third wish sucks him back into the lamp. The third wish is always the Reset Button, too, because Norm is a huge Jackass Genie, and tweaks the wishes to screw over the wishers.
    • There is also a story about a fisherman who gets wishes granted to him by a fish because he spares it rather than catching it.
    • I Dream Of Jeannie also had a teenage version Animated Series -- her wishes, like Jeannie's, were unlimited.
  • January 1, 2010
    random surfer
    Be sure to also link to Three Wishes.
  • January 2, 2010
    I already did-- "Probably the best known is the wish granted by a Genie In A Bottle or some other magical creature; in these cases, the character generally gets Three Wishes." Do you think it should be more prominent?
  • January 2, 2010
    random surfer
    Sorry, didn't notice it before. It's fine where it is.