Disney Plans Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ Prequel

It’s been less than a year after the tragic and unexpected death of comedian Robin Williams, but his legacy lives on. And his legacy will continue to live on – completely recast of course – in Disney’s newly announced Aladdin prequel, which will focus on the early years of the Genie. 

Hollywood Reporter reports that Genie will tell a story set in the world of the genies, and lead up to the events that trapped the wish-granting comic relief character in a lamp in the first place. So the whole movie is probably going to lead up to a tragic ending, and it’s also probably going to lead to a live-action sequel that retells the story of Aladdin.

The script for Genie is being written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, whose biggest credits to date are Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 Friday the 13th remake. Which reminds us that a pretty good live-action genie movie was already made in 1997, as a horror movie starring Andrew Divoff (Lost).

Related: The Essential Robin Williams: 15 Unforgettable Films

Genie would not be the first time an actor has replaced Robin Williams in one of his most popular roles. The character was taken over by The Simpsons star Dan Castellaneta in multiple straight to video movies, video games and TV series. But while Castellaneta did a decent job, he never replaced Williams’ version of the genie in our collective hearts, and finding an actor who can make this character their own will be an enormous feat for Disney to accomplish. 

The real question of course is whether or not we want them to pull it off, since the live-action Disney reboots have been extremely inconsistent so far. (Cinderella was good, Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland were anything but.) Besides, the memory of Robin Williams and the pain of his death is still fresh in the minds of many. One wonders if green lighting this project so very close to the one-year anniversary of Williams’ death will appear at least a little crass.

All we’re saying is, we ain’t never had a friend like him, and we aren’t very eager to replace him this soon.


William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.


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