Alan Tudyk is lending his voice to Jafar's feathery sidekick Iago for Disney and director Guy Ritchie's upcoming live-action Aladdin remake. The Mouse House has enjoyed great success at the box office by re-imagining its classic animated films as live-action/CGI movies in recent years, and is actively developing several other live-action retellings at the moment. Among the ones due to arrive this year are Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King, the former of which opens at the end of this month (with the latter two set to arrive in May and July, respectively).
Disney dropped a full-length trailer for Aladdin online this morning, ahead of its run in theaters with Dumbo in a couple of weeks. The preview featured appearances by just about every beloved character from the studio's original 1992 animated film, including the animal sidekicks Abu the Monkey, Rajah the Tiger, and Iago the Parrot. Of the three, however, only Iago had a human voice in the animated movie - so, fittingly, he'll be the only one who speaks in english in Ritchie's remake, too.
Fans were starting to wonder if Iago would actually talk in the Aladdin remake, considering he hasn't spoken in any of the marketing footage released so far. Well, wonder no longer: THR is confirming that Tudyk will voice the character in Ritchie's film, taking over from Gilbert Gottfried. The latter voiced Iago in both the animated Aladdin and its direct to video sequels, The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
Tudyk has done a fair amount of voice-acting for Disney Animation in recent years, having lent his vocals to films like Wreck-It Ralph and Ralph Breaks the Internet (where he voiced different characters), as well as Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and Moana. He also played the droid K-2S0 in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (via motion-capture) and is voicing The Joker in DC Universe's upcoming Harley Quinn animated series. Suffice it to say, Tudyk as Iago will undoubtedly sound very different from the animated version, if only because Gottfried's performing voice is so unique and difficult to imitate. Nevertheless, he's a great pick to bring the (flying) villain to life onscreen.
Speaking of which: it looks like the live-action Aladdin will add a few twists to the Iago character that go beyond a new voice actor. The movie's full-length trailer teases a sequence where Aladdin is seemingly being pursued through Agrabah by Iago, who's been (one presumes, magically) made gigantic by his boss, Jafar. Ritchie's movie is expected to be more action-packed than the animated film in general, in keeping with the director's previous work on series like Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It's only appropriate, then, that Iago should get to join in the fun and chase the "street rat" too.
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019