Dating all the way back to their first animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Disney has always been synonymous with fairy tales. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise then that the studio has ongoing plans to develop live-action adaptations of several of their most beloved animated films.
This year’s Cinderella – which earned more than $500 million at the worldwide box office – is certainly a good example of how the company can introduce a new audience to a classic story, all the while banking on the name recognition and broad appeal to rein in moviegoers. Now it sounds like they’re poised to do it again.
According to THR, Disney is developing a live-action prequel to its 1992 animated classic Aladdin. The comedy adventure, which is reportedly titled Genies, aims to tell the story behind how Aladdin‘s Genie (famously voiced by the late Robin Williams) ended up in the “itty-bitty living space” of the lamp in the first place. The film – written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift – will explore the realm of the genies themselves and lead directly into a live-action Aladdin film.
Disney’s Maleficent essentially took the same approach in expounding on a popular character’s mysterious backstory, to great success (at least financially), and Aladdin remains popular, thanks in part to the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Moreover, the Genie’s name is never mentioned in the animated film, essentially serving as a clean slate ripe with storytelling possibilities.
That being said, delving into the Genie’s backstory – and launching a live-action Aladdin with this shared universe plan – does risk demystifying the character. After all, prequels have a tendency to disappoint, and while this live-action genie is technically a different interpretation than the one Williams so brilliantly played back in the 1990s, there’s every chance that the live-action Aladdin film that follows Genies could serve essentially as a remake of its animated counterpart, much in the way the upcoming Beauty and the Beast film is tackling that material.
However, Disney clearly has no intention to stop raiding its archives for upcoming projects. In addition to those mentioned above, live-action films based on The Jungle Book, Mulan, Pinocchio and Dumbo (among others) are in development at the Mouse House. Here’s hoping that the team behind Genies – and the rest of these classic stories – is able to come up with something inventive enough to please audiences.
Are you excited to see a live-action Aladdin prequel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.