Agrabah has found a new ruler for Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin with Navid Negahban rounding out the cast. It was just announced by Aladdin co-star Will Smith that filming is officially underway on Guy Ritchie's live-action retelling of the beloved 1992 animated feature. In making the announcement, Smith shared a cast photo of the core group of actors that will join him on this journey. Mena Massoud is set to lead the way, while Naomi Scott will portray Princess Jasmine and Marwan Kanzari will play Jafar. Smith, meanwhile, is taking on the iconic role of the Genie.
However, the official start of production on Aladdin only further highlighted that a few key roles in the animated feature had not yet been cast for the live-action rendition, one of these being the ruler of Agrabah and Jasmine's father. However, it has now been revealed that a former Homeland star has landed that role.
Disney has officially announced the full cast for Aladdin and in doing so, revealed that Navid Negahban will play the Sultan. He will join the aforementioned names and others in bringing the animated classic back to life on the big screen in live-action. Negahban not only had a recurring role on Homeland, but also previously appeared in American Sniper and had a recurring role on 24. Below is the press release issued by Disney announcing the entire cast (along with details about their characters):
Casting for “Aladdin,” the live-action adaptation of the studio’s animated classic, is complete and production is currently underway at Longcross Studios outside London.
The “Aladdin” cast includes: Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith (“Ali,” “Men in Black”) as the Genie who has the power to grant three wishes to whoever possesses his magic lamp; Mena Massoud (Amazon’s “Jack Ryan”) as Aladdin, the hapless but lovable street rat who is smitten with the Sultan’s daughter; Naomi Scott (“Power Rangers”) as Princess Jasmine, the Sultan’s beautiful daughter who wants to have a say in how she lives her life; Marwan Kenzari (“Murder on the Orient Express”) as Jafar, an evil sorcerer who devises a nefarious plot to unseat the Sultan and rule Agrabah himself; Navid Negahban (“Homeland”) as the Sultan, the ruler of Agrabah who is eager to find a proper husband for his daughter, Jasmine; Nasim Pedrad (“Saturday Night Live”) as Dalia, Princess Jasmine’s hand maiden and confidante; Billy Magnussen (“Into the Woods”) as Prince Anders, a suitor from Skanland and potential husband for Princess Jasmine; and Numan Acar (“Homeland”) as Hakim, Jafar’s right-hand man and head of the palace guards.
The press release comes at the perfect time and, apparently, has revealed Aladdin's main cast in its entirety. All of the character descriptions fall right in line with how the character were portrayed in the original animated film, while also giving more information on some of the players that are new to the live-action version. This confirms that Pedrad will play the role equal to Jasmine's best friend, whereas Magnussen will be a fellow suitor vying for Jasmine's hand in marriage.
However, these changes and the fact that this is the complete cast for Aladdin could illustrate one or two major changes as Disney adapts the animated feature to live-action. Jasmine's "best friend" in the animated feature was her pet tiger Rajah. By giving her an actual human best friend to confide in, it could be a signal that the live-action remake will not include Rajah. However, since he did not speak, Rajah could very well still be included, but just have a diminished role when it comes to learning what Jasmine is thinking and feeling.
The other missing link is Iago, Jafar's faithful and evil bird sidekick. Since his inclusion would be as a speaking part, leaving Iago out of this press release and framing it as the complete cast makes it clear (for now) that the bird won't be included. Removing both Iago and potentially Rajah could be one way to keep the film feeling somewhat realistic, but it also will include a wish granting genie, magic, and a flying carpet. While it'd be great to see either or both animal characters appear, they may not be as pivotal as their animated counterparts, should they ultimately be included. Let's just hope Abu doesn't get left out as well.
Aladdin is currently filming and does not have a release date.