Disney Adds Aladdin to the Live-Action Remake Pile, With a Twist

By  · Published on July 16th, 2015

Walt Disney Productions

Wow, Disney went longer than a month without announcing another live-action remake of one of its animated classics. Finally, six weeks after that Fantasia segment announcement, here’s news of the studio’s next addition to the trend: Aladdin. This one is certainly not surprising, given its success as a Broadway show and the fact that its Oscar-winning songwriters are already back with the Mouse House for the live-action Beauty and the Beast redo. I would be shocked if they’re not rehired for new songs for this project.

What might make the news surprising, however, is how soon it arrives following the death of Robin Williams. According to THR’s Heat Vision blog, the plan is to not actually redo the 1992 animated film but make a prequel, yet not to show us the earlier life of Aladdin. Titled Genies, this thing will focus on the origins of Williams’s genie character. We’ll learn how he got trapped in his lamp. We’ll also see the realm of the genies, meaning we need some silly cameos from Barbara Eden and Shaquille O’Neal.

We probably won’t get any confirmation, though, in the fan theory that Aladdin actually takes place years in the distant, post-apocalyptic future. We will likely get a sequel, which is already revealed to be in the cards. That would, of course, be the literal live-action remake of Aladdin. And let’s hope Disney does it right, without any complaints from the Arab community this time around. The casting of these movies is going to be something seriously paid attention to.

Genies will be written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, the writers of Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 Friday the 13th reboot. They also have some experience with more comedic, family friendly fantasy stuff specifically focused on magical creatures who grant wishes, as they’re behind the upcoming Adam Shankman movie O’ Lucky Day, which stars Peter Dinklage as a man who tries to pass himself off as a Leprechaun.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.