Live-action Aladdin Mena Massoud

Aladdin: Will Smith's Genie revealed in new look at Disney's live-action remake

Contributed by
Dec 19, 2018

We may not be able to wish for more wishes, but Entertainment Weekly still granted one of ours by giving us our first glimpse of Will Smith's Genie in Guy Ritchie's upcoming remake of Disney's Aladdin.

On the cover of this week's issue, you can see Smith's goateed character standing above Mena Massoud's Aladdin and Naomi Scott's Princess Jasmine. Massoud is known for appearing on Amazon's Jack Ryan series, while Scott will star alongside Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska in next year's Charlie's Angels reboot.

Take a magical gander at the cover below:

Live action Aladdin Entertainment Weekly cover

Credit: Entertainment Weekly

While the characters of Aladdin and Jasmine are certainly iconic in their own right, made famous by the voices of Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin, it was Robin Williams' manic, pop-culture-spouting Genie who really stole the show in the 1992 animated original. As such, Will Smith had some extremely big slippers to fill.

“Whenever you’re doing things that are iconic, it’s always terrifying,” Smith told EW. “The question is always: Where was there meat left on the bone? Robin didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone with the character ... I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different."

In the end, the Fresh Prince alum decided on a more hip-hop-y approach for the wish-granting djinn that he feels will really distinguish him from Williams.

“I think it’ll stand out as unique even in the Disney world,” he added.

Once the photos including Smith came online, however, many old-school fans complained that he wasn't blue like the Genie in the animated version. One person even altered the EW cover in Photoshop, turning Smith a vivid and electric blue. Finally, the actor took to Instagram to assure folks that his character would, indeed, be blue in the finished product.

"Yes, I’m gonna be BLUE! :-) This is how the Genie is in Human / Disguise Form," he wrote. "My character will be CGI most of the movie."

Set in the fictional Middle Eastern city of Agrabah, Aladdin is about a young street urchin who falls in love with a princess after being tasked to retrieve a magic lamp by the palace's royal vizier, Jafar. In the live-action version, the parrot-owning antagonist will be played by The Mummy's Marwan Kenzari. After releasing the Genie, our titular hero wishes to become a prince, so that he may properly court Jasmine.

Rounding out the rest of the cast are Navid Negahban as Jasmine's father, the Sultan; Nasim Pedrad as Dalia, Jasmine's handmaiden and best friend; Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders; Numan Acar as Hakim, a palace guard; and Frank Welker as the voice of the Cave of Wonders. Abu, Aladdin's monkey; Iago, Jafar's parrot; and Rajah, Jasmine's tiger, will all appear in the film as well, brought to life as CGI creations.

Our only regret is that Gilbert Gottfried hasn't been confirmed to reprise his role of voicing Iago.

Co-written by Ritchie, Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water), and John August (Frankenweenie), Aladdin takes a magic carpet ride into theaters May 24.


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