Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin is now in theaters, and the ending lays the groundwork for a possible sequel - but will Aladdin 2 actually happen? The studio is currently heavily invested in remaking its classic animated movies, with three remakes releasing this year alone: Aladdin, Dumbo, and The Lion King. There's also Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which is a sequel to the Sleeping Beauty retelling Maleficent that released in 2014.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, Aladdin stars newcomer Mena Massoud in the titular role, with Naomi Scott playing Princess Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie. The film brings back classic tunes from the 1992 animated movie like "One Jump Ahead" and "Prince Ali," and also adds a new song for Jasmine called "Speechless."
Aladdin is currently projected for a $70-75 million domestic opening weekend, which is in the same ballpark as Cinderella and Maleficent, so it looks like Disney has secured another hit. But does that mean we'll get to see Aladdin and Jasmine on the big screen again? Here's what we know so far about a possible Aladdin 2.
How Aladdin Sets Up A Sequel
Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Aladdin
Ritchie's Aladdin follows the beats of the original movie fairly closely, right to the end - where Aladdin tricks Jafar into using his final wish to transform himself into a genie, thereby becoming trapped and powerless in a lamp of his own. Jafar's parrot, Iago, tries to fly away, but Jafar grabs him by the tail feathers and drags him into the lamp as well. Before he vanishes into his new prison, Jafar vows to one day get revenge on Aladdin for what he has done - clear foreshadowing for a sequel, should Disney decide to make one.
As in the 1992 movie, Genie flings the lamp containing Jafar across the desert, commenting that a couple of thousand years in the Cave of Wonders ought to cool him off. However, that didn't stick for long the first time around, as Jafar returned just a year later in the direct-to-video sequel Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar. There are myriad ways in which Disney could bring the villain back for another showdown with Aladdin - starting with a straightforward remake of the original Aladdin sequel.
Would Disney Do The Return Of Jafar In Live-Action?
In the 1992 Aladdin, Iago getting pulled into the lamp became a crucial part of the set-up for The Return of Jafar. In that movie, the parrot manages to escape the lamp before Jafar, leaves his old master behind, and decides to try and ingratiate himself with Aladdin, Jasmine, and the Sultan. However, it isn't long before Jafar manages to dupe someone into rubbing the lamp and becoming his "master," thereby creating an opportunity for his revenge against Aladdin.
It would certainly be interesting to see a live-action take on one of Disney's direct-to-video sequels, and the end of Aladdin does set up the return of Jafar - as a general plot point, if not necessarily as a movie title. However, a straightforward remake probably wouldn't work; Iago's character is much less fleshed-out in the live-action movie, speaking only in his croaky parrot voice rather than in the dulcet tones of Gilbert Gottfried. If Ritchie's Aladdin does get a sequel we can probably expect it to have an original plot - similar to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Aladdin 2 Could Happen... But Not Yet
Athough Disney has no shortage of animated classics left to adapt, that doesn't mean the studio isn't also interested in making sequels to its live-action remake success stories. Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and The Jungle Book have sequels either already released or on the way - and of course there's 102 Dalmatians, which was released in 2000 as a sequel to the 1996 live-action adaptation of 101 Dalmatians (which is also getting a live-action reinvention in Cruella.
Disney hasn't so far indicated any plans for a sequel to Aladdin, which isn't particularly surprising given that the first movie is only now being released. The likelihood of a sequel will naturally depend on the box office of the first movie, and based on the opening weekend box office projections, Aladdin could gross anywhere from $500 to $800 million worldwide, depending on its legs. If Aladdin 2 does happen, however, it probably won't be for several years, since Disney already has a lot on its plate.
What Could Aladdin 2's Release Date Be?
If Aladdin 2 does get made, it probably won't happen for some time. Disney tends to take the long road to making sequels for its live-action remakes, with Alice Through the Looking Glass releasing six years after Alice in Wonderland, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil releasing five years after the first movie.
Disney recently announced a release schedule for movies through to 2027, including four as-yet untitled live-action movies in both 2021 and 2022. While not all of these will be live-action remakes of animated movies, it's safe to assume that quite a few of them will be. Among the current in-development projects without confirmed release dates are The Little Mermaid and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as well as a sequel to Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book.
Since Disney has no shortage of live-action remakes already in the pipeline, we probably won't see Aladdin 2 for several years - perhaps in 2024 or 2025, if Disney follows a similar pattern to its Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent sequels. Maybe that will be long enough for Jafar to cool off in the Cave of Wonders.