FireWater
Directed by Dana Terrace
Produced by Clark Spencer
Roy Conli
Screenplay by Noelle Stevenson
Dana Terrace
Molly Ostertag
Rachel Vine
Starring Auli'l Cravalho
Tessa Thompson
Gerald Butler
Clancy Brown
Score by Christophe Beck
Songs by Melissa Etheridge
Matthew Gerrard
Edited by Tim Mertens
Production
company
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date November 22, 2024
Country United States

FireWater would be a 2024 American hand-drawn animated romantic drama film directed by Dana Terrace in her feature directorial debut. from an screenplay co-written with Noelle Stevenson, Molly Ostertag, and Rachael Vine, and produced by Clark Specer and Roy Conli, while Stevenson, Terrace, and Jennifer Lee would serve as executive-producers. The film would star the voices of Auli'l Cravalho, Tessa Thompson, Gerald Butler, and Clancy Brown, while Christophe Beck would compose the score for the film. In the film, the princesses of two kingdoms in war with each other must work together after getting lost during a battle.

Disney would announce the film during the D23 2021, with Terrace being set to write and direct the project, and Cravalho and Thomspon set to star. The film would use hand-drawn animation because Terrace would feel "it gives the story a deeply artistic visual companion that complements it". Animators would use older Disney fims such as Lady and the Tramp (1955) and The Little Mermaid (1989) as inspiration for its visuals. The filmmakers would also consult with several former soldiers in order to show a realistic depiction of war in the film, as well as with the GLAAD in order to feature an adequate representation of lesbian characters in the film.

The film would be released on November 22, 2024, and would became a critical and commercial success, grossing 1.2 billion dollars over a budget of 150 millions, and being praised for its direction, screenplay, themes, vocal performances (particularly Paquin and Page's), use of hand-drawn animation, visuals, depicition of LGBTQ+ characters, and musical score. The film would also have an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Picture and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Film, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Original Score.

Synopsis

In a far-away world, two opposite species are at war with each other: One made of fire, and one made of water, with each other seeing the other as a threat to their existence. However, the curious princess of the water realm, Aqua, soon gets herself in the middle of a battle, causing her to get lost in their world alongside the cold and hardened princess of the fire realm, Phoenix. Now, the two must work together in order to survive until they find a send that shall sent them to their homes. As the relationship between these princesses blossoms into love, the two realize how to finally end their kingdoms' war. The two must find a way to get home in time to stop a battle that will bring pain and horror.

Voice cast

  • Auli'l Cravalho as Aqua, the princess of the water realm, who holds a lot of curiosity and excitment for anything new and different to her. Cravalho would say that "Aqua holds an obsession with everything new that she has been told to supress, but she just can't help it, and really hates herself for that cause her dad always told her 'new is bad', but her travel and her love for Phoenix bring her some questions". Lauren MacMullen would serve as Aqua's supervising animator.
  • Tessa Thompson as Phoenix, the princess of the fire realm, who developed a distant and hardened personality due to the war and developed a hate against the water creatures because of it. Kofi Fiagome would serve as Phoenix' supervising animator.
  • Gerald Butler as Basileus, Aqua's father and the king of the water kingdom, who fears for his daughter's safety and fears that the fire people may one day destroy their kingdom, as he believes them to be demons. Spencer Wan would serve as Basileus' supervising animator.
  • Clancy Brown as Calidi, Phoenix's father and the king of the fire realm, who has grudge against the water creatures after a battle nearly destroys his kingdom. Director Dana Terrace would serve as Calidi's supervising animator.
  • Alan Tudyk as Praelia, Basileus' general, servant, and personal bodyguard. Andreas Deja would serve as Praelia's supervising animator.

Additionally, director Dana Terrace would provide the vocal effects for Amabilia, a creature that Aqua finds in the forest and eventually befriends. Co-writer Noelle Stevenson would voice Auditor, Aqua's maiden.

Music

Christophe Beck, who previously compsed the score for Disney's Frozen franchise, would compose the film's music. Beck would say that the film's plot would require for "a totally different work" to his compositions for the Frozen franchise, stating that he would have to create a score that could "combine war, romance, and wonder, perfectly as one". Beck would call the Phoenix's theme as "a hard nut to crack", as the character would require a "hardened, warrior theme that could be used in a romantic light", througth he would escribe Aqua's theme "easier to do" than Phoenix, as the character's theme would requiere a "sense of curiosity that also work as a romantic theme".

Melissa Etheridge and Matthew Gerrard, who previously worked on songs for Disneytoon Studios' Brother Bear 2 (2006), would write songs for the film, woth Etheridge performing the songs. Director Dana Terrace would hire them because he would feel that their songs for Brother Bear 2 were "incredible", and that those songs' style would "work pretty well in FireWater". Etheridge and Gerrard would be hired for the project during early development in order to give them "plenty of time" to work on the songs for the film.

Reception

Critical reception

The film would have an aproval rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 9.5/10. The critical consensus would read, "With a timely message and a modern spin on Disney's romance formula, FireWater takes Disney to a slightly more adult territory, while at the same time telling a charming romantic tale that undoubtly will drag-in the small ones." On Metacritc, the film would have an weighted average score of 91 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".

In other media

Short film

A 10-minutes film, titled FireWater: Between Kingdoms, would be released on March 3, 2025, as a part of the film's home-media release. Auli'l Cravalho and Tessa Thompson would reprise their roles as Phoenix and Aqua, respectively, while Dana Terrace would return as writer and director. The short would focus on Phoenix and Aqua trying to deal with the subjects of each other's kingdoms, only to find out that its a harder deal than expected, througth they refuse to ask for the other's help.

Television series

A television series set after the events of the film, titled FireWater: The Series, would premiere in August 14, 2029. Cravalho, Thompson, Gerald Butler, Clancy Brown, and Alan Tudyk would reprise their roles from the film, while Melissa Etheridge and Matthew Gerrard would return to write songs for the series. Set after the events of the film, the series would focus on Aqua and Phoenix struggling with both married life and their attempts to keep their kingdom unified as they face several threats. The series would be created by Dana Terrace.

Theme park attraction

A theme park attraction based on the film, titled Aqua and Phoenix's Honeymoon, would open at July 5, 2029. Described as "a crossover between Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway", the attraction would involve the guests watching a short based on FireWater focusing on Aqua and Phoenix's adventures during their honeymoon, before entering the short's story, where the guests help them fight monsters and defeat challenges inside the forest where they are.

Trivia

  • The film would mark the first time a Walt Disney Animation Studios film is directed and written by a Disney Television Animation employee.
    • Additionally, aside from Noelle Stevenson, most of the film's writers would have previously worked on Terrace's TV series, The Owl House (2020-present).
  • FireWater would be Disney's first animated film to star homosexual characters.
  • According to director Dana Terrace, the reason there would be a third-year-gap between the climax and the film's ending was because he wanted a "realistic" time for Aqua and Phoenix to marry each other, as he didn't wanted to continue Disney's "married after meeting trope".
  • The film would mark the first time Christophe Beck composes an animated Disney unrelated to the Frozen franchise.
  • Terrace would describe the first act "quite hard to pull off", particularly when Aqua and Phoenix choose to work together, as he wanted to make "painfully obvious that they are not the other's prisioner" in order to "avoid that Beauty and the Best Stockholm Syndrome controversy", ultimately choosing to "make Phoenix too honorable to capture a harmless opponent just like that, and Aqua to good-hearted to capture anybody".

Easter eggs

  • The silhouette of Tamatoa from Moana (2016) would be seen among the creatures in a forest.
  • A "hidden mickey" would be seen near the start of the film, as three circular buildings in the water realm would be seen from above, making them resemble Mickey's head.
  • At one point, Aqua would be heard whistling to "La La Lu" from Lady and the Tramp (1955).
  • The "shark tiger" from the Mickey Mouse (2013) episode "Wonders of the Deep" would be seen briefly in the background as many ships from the water realm go to battle.
  • The Firebird from the Fantasia 2000 segment "The Firebird Suite" would make sporadic appearances througth the film as a bird in the fire realm.
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