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You ain't never had a friend like John Cho in Aladdin-esque trailer for Netflix's animated feature 'Wish Dragon'

By Josh Weiss
Wish Dragon

Netflix enters a whole new world of wish-granting in the first trailer for Wish Dragon. Forged in the same mold as Aladdin, the upcoming modern-day animated feature tells the story of Din (Jimmy Wong), a working-class college student who gets a chance to realize his greater ambitions after he discovers an all-powerful dragon named Long (merrily voiced by John Cho) inside a nondescript teapot.

The dragon has been trapped in there for the last thousand years and while we can't speak to the possible crick in his neck, it is confirmed that there are certain limits on his powers. Like most wish-granting entities, for example, Long can't make anyone fall in love.

Together, the pair embark on a journey of self-discovery across Shanghai as Din attempts to reconnect with his long-lost childhood friend, Lina, and fend off unsavory parties who wish to get their oily hands on the teapot. Yeah, that more or less describes the same set-up as Disney's Aladdin, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It definitely sounds like Cho had a ton of fun with the role, channeling the no holds barred approach the late Robin Williams brought to the Genie. It definitely checks a lot of the same boxes, though the modern setting gives it a different vibe.

Watch now:

Constance Wu, Will Yun Lee (Altered Carbon), Jimmy O. Yang (Fantasy Island), Aaron Yoo (God Friended Me), Bobby Lee (Magnum P.I.), Ronnie Chieng (Crazy Rich Asians) round out the rest of the voice cast.

"There was a lot of interest, actually. All these big studios wanted to do it and that was really exciting. But something felt off," writer/director Chris Appelhans said of the project at Lightbox Expo last September. "I didn't feel like I was in any position to do this movie with a Western studio; it didn't feel right. So, I did some more homework and talked with my agent and eventually, we found this studio called Base, which was, at that time, a Beijing VFX studio. A really good one. I met with them, I met with their president and they had this amazing team of young '90s-generation of Chinese creatives and they were so into the concept and they had so many great insights and opinions. I felt like, 'Oh gosh, these are the kind of people I need.' I decided to try make the movie with them. Looking back, that is an insane decision because they didn't even have a single piece of animation studio or pipeline, but we just kind of believed in it and we knew that the story and that maybe we could make it work."

As it moved forward, the movie attracted the participation of other companies like Sony Pictures Animation, Tencent, and Sparkle Roll — as well as producers Aron Warner (Shrek), Chris Bremble (The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run), and Jackie Chan (Iron Mask). According to Entertainment Weekly, Chan voices Long in the Mandarin-dubbed version of the film.

Wish Dragon flies onto Netflix Friday, June 11.

Check out the key art and more production stills in the gallery below...