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Aladdin: Will Smith Pays Tribute to Robin Williams' Genie

Aladdin Live-Action Genie Comparison

Live-action Aladdin star Will Smith paid tribute to the original animated Aladdin genie, the late Robin Williams, with a touching social media posting. Released in 1992, the original Aladdin was part of Disney's animated renaissance, going on to gross $504 million worldwide largely on the strength of Robin Williams' verbal acrobatics as the voice of the genie.

With Disney now revisiting its animated catalog in live-action form, and scoring blockbuster hits while doing so, Smith is taking over the genie role originated by Williams in a new version of Aladdin. Fans were recently treated to their first glimpses of Smith as the blue genie, and it's safe to say reactions to Smith's appearance were quite divided. One fan tried to improve Smith's genie look using effects software, and may have actually one-upped Disney's VFX people in the process, while another fan-created art that swapped out Smith for Williams himself.

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Obviously, the legacy of Williams still looms large when talking about Aladdin and the genie character. With that in mind, Smith offered up his own tribute to Williams' work in the original film with an image bringing his genie and Williams' together (with a shout out to Disney character designer Luigi Lucarelli for creating the new artwork). See the image below:

Directed by Guy Ritchie, Disney's live-action Aladdin stars Mena Massoud as the title character, a street urchin who unleashes Smith's genie from a magic lamp. Naomi Scott plays Jasmine, the princess whose heart Aladdin wishes to win, while Marwan Kenzari plays the villainous Jafar. In late casting news, it was just revealed that Alan Tudyk has also joined the film as the voice of Jafar's bird sidekick Iago.

Ever since Aladdin was announced, many have questioned the wisdom of Disney revisiting this particular story in live-action form, especially given the singular nature of Robin Williams' performance as the animated version of the genie. More questions were sent Disney's way after the studio hired Guy Ritchie, a man not necessarily thought of as a lighthearted director, to handle helming duties on the musical film. First glimpses of Smith's genie did little to ease fears that Aladdin was on the way to being a disaster. After the release of the newest trailer, buzz about the film may have turned around somewhat, but there are still many reasons to wonder if Disney may have made a wrong move by attempting to bring Aladdin and its genie to life in live-action form, with Smith attempting to fill the void left by the incomparable Williams.

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Source: Will Smith/Instagram

Key Release Dates
  • Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019
  • The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019
  • Dumbo (2019) release date: Mar 29, 2019
  • Mulan (2020) release date: Mar 27, 2020
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