Aladdin producer Dan Lin says the live-action Aladdin 2 (if it happens) won't adapt the animated film's sequels, but could potentially be influenced by them. Despite the pre-release skepticism towards everything from Guy Ritchie directing to Will Smith following in Robin Williams' footsteps as The Genie, this year's live-action remake of Disney's animated Aladdin earned a suprisingly decent response from critics. General audiences were even happier with the film, which went on to gross over $1 billion at the worldwide box office this summer.
With those kinds of returns, it's little wonder the Mouse House is exploring the idea of a sequel. The animated Aladdin received two direct to video feature followups (titled The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves), leading some to wonder if the live-action Aladdin 2 could adapt one or both of them. According to Lin, however, if the live-action sequel does happen, it will be an original story.
During our interview with Lin for Aladdin's home video release (the live-action remake and Aladdin Signature Collection hit Blu-ray on September 10), the producer confirmed Aladdin 2 is being considered, but - should it come to pass - won't be directly based on either of the animated Aladdin sequels. He went on to explain how the film could draw inspiration from them, instead:
It’s still early days. We never designed the movie to tell the Return of Jafar story, frankly. We were focused on telling the best movie possible. Now, we’re studying Jafar and the Thieves movie that came out, as well. We’re looking at that, but it’s still early days. We’re talking about different storylines. What we’re talking about is not going to be a direct remake of any sequel that’s come out, the same way that our movie was not a direct remake of the first movie. We studied the original movie and saw what worked and what things we wanted to update, and if we’re lucky enough to make another movie, we will do that as well. But it’s not going to be a remake of any specific DVD sequel. It’ll be a new story.
Assuming Aladdin 2 is eventually made, it's probably for the best that it won't be a direct remake of either Return of Jafar or King of Thieves. While both of those films have their strengths (Aladdin's father, Cassim, being one of them), neither one has a particularly inventive or memorable storyline. Plus, while the live-action Aladdin was able to get away with being a pretty faithful retelling that "fixes" the parts of Disney's animated movie that haven't aged well since 1992 (or were always problematic), audiences might not feel the same about Aladdin 2 being another near-shot-for-shot remake. At the same time, Return of Jafar and King of Thieves are arguably the best direct-to-video animated sequels Disney's ever made, so it would make sense for a live-action Aladdin 2 to take some inspiration from their best elements (similar to how Disney's Star Wars movies have borrowed from the abandoned Expanded Universe or Legends lore).
Disney's previous sequels to its live-action remakes (102 Dalmatians and Alice Through the Looking Glass) didn't fare so well either critically or commercially, so the odds are the studio won't green-light Aladdin 2 unless it's convinced its plot is something that audiences will actually want to see. The Aladdin sequel's chances of happening could also be impacted by the performance of October's Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which is similarly bettting on audiences wanting to see a followup to Disney's live-action Sleeping Beauty retelling with a brand-new story. Still, after Aladdin's billion dollar performance, it's fair to assume the Mouse House will give Aladdin 2 some serious thought before making the call either way.
Disney's live-action Aladdin and Aladdin Signature Collection become available on Blu-ray starting Tuesday, September 10.