The Disney Renaissance was a remarkable time for Disney’s Feature Animation division, in which it resurged as one of the industry’s premiere studios during a period in the ’90s. Many of the films created during this time — like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King — were not only critically acclaimed but also smash hits at the box office.
Among the more memorable films to come out during this period was Aladdin, which hit theaters in the fall of 1992 and made over $500 million at the worldwide box office. There are a multitude of reasons for its success, such as its standout music written by Alan Menken, its crisp visuals, and its intriguing villain Jafar. But, perhaps the main reason for its popularity is Robin William’s legendary performance as the larger-than-life Genie. Williams was able to evoke a comedic performance that not only appealed to its young audience, but the whole family as well.
As it turns out, the Genie’s presence in Aladdin is much more than it may seem. Aladdin directors Ron Clements and John Musker spoke to E! News in honor of the film’s recent release on Blu-ray, debunking a number of theories fans have formulated over the years. However, they did confirm one Aladdin theory — one that says the peddler and the Genie are the same person — is actually true.
“I saw something that speculates that the peddler at the beginning of Aladdin is the Genie,” Clements said. “That’s true!” As Clements later added, they had planned to have the peddler reveal his true identity at the end of the film, but it got cut along the way:
“That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie, and of course Robin [Williams] did the voice of the peddler. Just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end. So, that’s an urban legend that actually is true.”
While it would have been a fun addition to have the peddler reveal himself as the Genie, it’s understandable why it ended up getting cut. For one, having the Genie come back again undercuts the actual ending in which he is set free by Aladdin to explore the world on his own after being trapped in a lamp for a thousand years. That being said, it would have been equally comprehensible to include the scene, if only to have just a little more of Williams’ outstanding voice work in the final product.
Thankfully, fans are now able to once again experience Williams as the Genie with the recent re-release of Aladdin for its Diamond Edition on Home Video. The recently-restored edition of the film is available on a number of formats, including Blu-ray and Digital HD with several new special features. Among the new featurettes included in the Diamond Edition are “The Genie Outtakes,” “Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic,” and “Ron & Jon: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me.” An opportunity to relive Williams’ iconic performance of the Genie is hard enough to pass up, and now fans will get to judge for themselves whether they think the peddler is really the Genie, as the directors say he is.
Aladdin is now available to purchase and own from participating retailers on Blu-ray, Digital HD, and DVD.
Source: E! News