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Wish Upon a Shooting Star

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Your wish is its command.
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you
Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio

Wishing upon seeing a shooting star shooting through the night sky is an old and common custom. Ancient civilizations thought those were the spirits of the departed and that these could bring your wishes to the heavens, so they could be granted. Nowadays, knowledge of the true nature of these falling "stars" as meteorites that, instead of going into the heavens, are falling straight towards the Earth, did absolutely nothing to deter this tradition's popularity, and it remains quite common to hear about wishing for something when a shooting star is seen.

As such, this trope is rather common in fiction, and one of the most recurring ways for characters to Make a Wish along with the Wishing Wells and the Genie in a Bottle.

Subtrope to Make a Wish. See also Cosmic Motifs.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Played for Drama and Played for Horror in Aldnoah.Zero: Two children are ecstatic to see dozens of shooting stars flashing across the sky, and the younger brother happily tells his sister he wished for world peaceblissfully unaware that those "shooting stars" are actually huge alien spaceships descending to Earth at blinding speed, causing atomic bomb levels of devastation in the surrounding areas.
  • The fifth chapter of Asteroid in Love (adapted as part of Episode 2) happens on a night at the peak of a meteor shower. Endou eventually kept the entire gang at the picnic site so that she can do this, but there wasn't a single shooting star visible to her that night.
  • In Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, resident glasses character Atsushi Kinugawa and his Evil Former Friend Kinshirou Kusatsu make wishes on shooting stars as children, and there's a repeating motif of shooting stars in the sky which parallels the relationship between the two. The two wishes end up being central to the plot, as the apparent failure of Kinshirou's is his Start of Darkness.
  • Doraemon: Nobita in the Wan-Nyan Spacetime Odyssey have Doraemon and gang finally becoming friends with Hachi and his gang (a bunch of andromorphic can and dog-people) and spending the night at their place, while Nobita is still pinning for his missing dog, Ichi. Then, Shizuka sees what she thought was a shooting star, and wished Nobita can reunite with Hachi soon. Ironically her wish is closer than she thinks - Hachi, their new friend, is actually the evolved Ichi who accidentally got thrown around in a time-warp and de-aged.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold contains a scene where Zia wishes on a shooting star. (She refers to it as a "messenger star".)
  • The reason why Madoka's Grief Seed has a shooting star on it. Also likely the reason why she appears to magical girls via one.

    Asian Animation 
  • Boonie Cubs: In Season 2 episode 22, Olivia explains the concept to her students as she also teaches them about how the shooting stars in the meteor shower aren't gonna hurt them.
  • Happy Heroes:
    • In episode 6, Smart S. makes a wish during a meteor shower with Careless S. and gets a surprise.
    Smart S.: I wish to always stay as handsome as I am right now until the end of time.
    Careless S.: Huh. Those stars must be really generous to do that. Hey, take a look. They're making your wishes come true already.
    Smart S.: Of course they are. [looks into his mirror] Because I'm as handsome as ever!
    Careless S.: Oh, that's not it. I was referring to the part about the end of time.
    Smart S.: Huh? Ahh?! There's a meteor!
    [A Flaming Meteor falls on them.]
    • The title card of Season 2 episode 20 has Doctor H. wishing on a shooting star for Miss Peach, his Celeb Crush, to be there with him. He gets a stone statue of her dropped on him instead.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Dear Little Wish, Grandpa Meteor is a Sentient Star who flies around in the sky on his motorcycle, listens for people wishing on him, and grants their wishes. He plans to retire from his job, but as he is riding his motorcycle along, the goats accidentally shoot him down to the ground with their wishes; when Grandpa Meteor realizes he has way too many wishes waiting to be granted on the Wishing Tree, the goats help him to take care of them - thus starting the plot of the season.
  • The concept is brought up in Pleasant Goat Fun Class: The Earth Carnival episode 12, whose educational focus is on shooting stars. Wolffy doesn't think shooting stars will work because he wished on one for more carnival tickets, and up to that point, he quickly lost the tickets he did find.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Mittens sees a shooting star in "The Insomniac," and despite her cynical nature makes a wish on it. She wishes that she and Bolt can be together forever.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Ice Age: Collision Course, the guys mistake a meteor shower for shooting stars, one of which hits Sid and sends him flying into a tree.
    Manny: Hey, look! Shooting stars!
    Sid: Quick, make a wish! You gotta make a— [gets hit] WIIIIIIIISH!
    Manny: Wow, my wish came true.
    Sid: I'm okay! [spontaneously combusts]
    Diego: Mine, too.
  • In Lilo & Stitch, Lilo sees a shooting star and wishes for a friend. The star turns out to be a crashing spaceship carrying an escaped alien convict...
  • In Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the MacGuffin of the film is a shooting star that fell to Earth long ago with the power to grant a single wish to whoever reaches it first.
  • In Turning Red, a shooting star appears just as Mei says that she and her friends are going to walk into the 4*Town concert girls and come out women.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hitchhiker Massacre: When Woody spots a shooting star, he wishes for a big cock, his record company back, and a new wife.
  • Played With in Looney Tunes: Back in Action: when Yosemite Sam sends himself flying by accidentally lighting some TNT, Bugs cracks a joke by calling him a "shooting Sam" while telling everybody in the flying car to make a wish.
  • The point of Wish Upon a Star has a tomboy named Hayley Wheaton wish on a shooting star to be like her popular girly girl sister Alexia, causing the two to swap bodies. It was revealed near the end that Alexia also wished to be like Hayley at the same time Hayley made her wish.

  • The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly: The night before Charlie's eleventh birthday, he wished that his Annoying Younger Sibling Liam would go away and disappear. He got his wish - the next morning, Liam was Ret-Gone, and no one except Charlie remembered that he had ever existed. In the year since then, Charlie has wished on wishbones, pennies, and fountains, trying to bring him back, to no avail.
  • The Star Darlings series is about beings who live on a star and grant human wishes, with wish-on-a-star motifs being common throughout the franchise.
  • Charlie from Wish has been making daily wishes since fourth grade. She wishes on stars, four-leafed clovers, ladybugs, and dandelions, among other things. Her wish is for her family not to be broken. Although her original family never reunites, she realizes she got her wish by having Gus and Bertha as her family.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100: Mentioned in "Twilight's Last Gleaming" — the youths on Earth send out signal flares to let the Ark in space know that they're still alive, leading to this exchange:
    Clarke: Can you wish on this kind of shooting star?
    Bellamy: I wouldn't even know what to wish for.
  • As part of a Disney Channel event "Wish Gone Amiss Weekend", three different shows featured their protagonists wishing upon the same shooting star (simply from different parts of the country), each ending with a Reset Button:
    • In The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, the twins wish to have super-powers. Cody wakes up in the morning with telekinesis, and Zack with super speed; however, the wish also gives Mr. Moseby his own powers and advanced technology, and he takes the role of super villain. The twins foil his plans but end up with a mess anyway, Zack uses his speed to reverse the Earth's rotation, meant to return them to the previous night, but actually taking them to the stone age. Zack later wakes up, but the episode is ambiguous as to whether or not the whole experience was All Just a Dream.
    • Hannah Montana: When Miley gets sick of her normal life interfering with her life as Hannah Montana, she wishes to be "all Hannah all the time", essentially erasing her Miley side from existence. This proves to be a mistake; her father is married to a Gold Digger, Jackson moved out of the house and lives as a homeless hermit, and her best friends live two completely different lives- Oliver teamed up with Rico as a team of salesmen, and Lily has become an Alpha Bitch. She hates this new life so much she makes a reversal-wish on the first shooting star she sees.
    • Cory in the House: Cory makes the wish to become the President of the United States, with the justification being that kids had received the right to vote. He becomes lazy and passes all the work down to his vice president Sophie. In revenge she uses an alien robot army to take over the country. As they close in on him, he presses the Big Red Button and everything resets.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Betrayal" Kramer wishes on a shooting star that he doesn't drop dead (hoping to cancel out the birthday wish made by his "friend" FDR). He later learns that FDR saw the same star and double-wished for him to drop dead.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Grace Note", the teenage leukemia patient Mary Miletti sees a shooting star and wishes that her elder sister Rosemarie can see that she will one day achieve her dream of being a famous opera star. The next day, after Mary is taken to hospital, Rosemarie is transported 20 years forward in time to March 22, 1986 and sees her future self performing La Traviata to a sold out audience in the Lincoln Center.

  • "A New England" by Billy Bragg:
    I saw two shooting stars last night
    I wished on them, but they were only satellites
    Is it wrong to wish on space hardware?
    I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care

    Video Games 
  • In several Animal Crossing games, a shooting star named Wishy sometimes shoots through the night sky, and one can make a wish by pressing the A button fast enough. If successful, the player receives a letter from Wishy the next morning with a rare item inside.
    • This is changed a bit in New Horizons. Blathers's sister Celeste now makes an appearance the night of a meteor shower and will give you a DIY recipe each time she shows up (including the Star Wand). Actually wishing on the stars will result in star fragments washing ashore the next day, with some even being from specific constellations.
  • In Miitopia, when Miis camp out for the night, there's a chance a shooting star will appear and the Miis begin to make wishes on it; this initiates a mini game where you have to help one of the Miis' wishes come true by tapping the same wish bubble three times in a row before the star reaches the other side of the top screen. Once decided, a chest drops from the sky, as if the star granted their wishes, and you receive whatever you wished for; either gold, HP bananas, MP candy, or monsters. For the Nintendo Switch port, due to the lack of a duel screen, the player can simply choose what wish they want to come true, but they still have to do it before the star disappears.
  • In Ōkami, the Watcher from Watcher's Cape hopes to spot a shooting star since it would allow him to wish for the Whirlpool Galaxy to appear. After Amaterasu materializes one, he expresses his wish to the star, and it is immediately granted.
  • Paper Mario:
    • In Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the annual Sticker Fest in Decalburg revolves around making a wish upon the passing of the Sticker Comet. Unusually, it will make a brief stop right on the festival stage, allowing Bowser to touch it and inadventantly wreak havoc in the Mushroom Kingdom. The endgame proves that this the Sticker Comet's wish granting powers are very real.
    • In Paper Mario: Color Splash, upon arriving at Starlight Cape, Huey and Mario spot a shooting star in the twilight sky. Huey wishes to find all the Big Paint Stars to restore Prism Island to its peaceful state, and the orange Big Paint Star immediately appears right in front of them.
  • In Pokémon, the animation for the healing move "Wish" is represented by a shooting star. The turn after Wish is used, whatever is in the user's position will be healed for half the user's total HP. Switching after using Wish is the most common way for one Pokemon to heal another.
  • Amitie has an alt in Puyo Puyo!! Quest known as Wishing Star Amitie who is based around this as a motif, wearing night sky-themed clothing and carrying a bag of stars with her. Additionally, the alt's Leader Skill is called "I Wish Upon a Shooting Star".
  • Inverted in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, where wishes become shooting stars in the Star Road and get granted when they collide with the ground.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, Sarge has been wishing on shooting stars every night for the past decade. The wish is, of course, for Grif's violent and untimely death.

  • DICE: The Cube That Changes Everything: The Final Die is a giant die from outer space that crashlands in the suburbs and asks a kid beaten by his father his one wish. The kid becomes X and start granting wishes of other people in Jerkass Genie way. The Final Die out of its Multiple-Choice Past decides that being a fallen wishing star is the best analogy.
  • xkcd
    • In one strip, two hackers deliberately crash a satellite. As they watch it burn up, one of them tells the other to make a wish.
    • Parodied in "Wish on a Shooting Star", with a Venn diagram showing those things that get wished on a shooting star and those things that can actually be produced by a shooting star (ie. falling meteorite). The only thing appearing in both categories is "revenge".

    Western Animation 
  • In the Danny Phantom episode "Memory Blank", Desiree plans to grant the hundreds of wishes elicited by a meteor shower in the most gruesome way possible to become phenomenally powerful and cause chaos in Amity Park.
  • In The Flintstones, Barney and Betty, after a nasty spat with Fred over spending to much time with his daughter Pebbles, see a shooting star. They both make a wish, clearly for a baby of their own. Lo and behold, they find Bamm-Bamm on their porch the very next day.
  • Sonic Boom: Played for Laughs when a meteor shower falls in the town and destroys everything, and Amy remembers a particular fun fact about meteors.
    Amy: Meteors are shooting stars! We shouldn't be running, we should be making wishes! I wish for a pony.
    Sonic: And I wish you'd take cover. (grabs her by the wrist and runs for cover)
    Amy: How come your wish came true?
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "Club SpongeBob", as the clubhouse is flung through the kelp forest, a couple mistakes it as a shooting star and the man tells his wife to make a wish.
  • Danger Mouse and Penfold are on a mission in "I Spy With My Little Eye..." when Penfold sees what he thinks is a shooting star.
    Penfold: Oh little star that shines so bright,
    I'd like a wish if that's all right.
    Oh little star in the ink-black heaven...
    DM: Forget it, Penfold. It's a 7-4-7!
  • At the very end of the Wander over Yonder episode "The Bot", Sylvia spots a shooting star — really Beep Boop falling from the sky — and Wander wishes Beep Boop good luck.


Video Example(s):



During this type of Stargazing outing, the Miis see a shooting star and decide to make a wish on it; they wish they were closer with each other.

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Main / WishUponAShootingStar

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