Add Hercules to the list of animated Disney movies that will be adapted for a live-action movie. And on top of that, Guy Ritchie will be directing it. Let’s just answer this question right off the bat. Is he a good choice for directing this? If you ask me, the answer is absolutely yes. Why him? I think the obvious answer is that he has already ventured into these deep waters before. Back in 2019, Disney delivered the live-action Aladdin movie, starring Mena Massoud as the titular character, along with Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and of course, Will Smith as the Genie. Out of all the live-action adaptations for classic animated Disney movies, 2019’s Aladdin turned out pretty good. It received mixed reviews from critics, but audiences seemed to enjoy it overall. Oh, and not to mention it made over a billion dollars at the box office.
Without a doubt, 2019’s live-action Aladdin made enough money to warrant the green light for a sequel. On top of that, Guy Ritchie was more than willing to return to direct. Okay, so just in case anyone forgot, Aladdin did spawn two sequels. The first was The Return of Jafar in 1994 and then the King of Thieves in 1996. Both were direct-to-video movies, unlike the first Aladdin and neither one of them received the critical acclaim that the first one did. Not even close.
So with that in mind, Guy Ritchie does have some kind of outline for an idea for an Aladdin sequel. Is an Aladdin 2 really necessary? Well, given on how well the first Aladdin did, it’s no surprise that Disney would want to develop a sequel. And let’s just say it, Will Smith as Genie was by far the best part of that movie. All of his recent controversies aside, he did a magnificent job of making that character his own.
There was no hint of a Robin Williams imitation and he was able to convey the charisma and playful nature of the Genie. He did become human by the end, but weird magic exist in that world. If a sequel to Aladdin does happen, I think most people would watch it just to see Will Smith as Genie again. And why wouldn’t you? We loved watching him and Guy Ritchie would find a way to make him the all powerful Genie again. And as for the other characters, he can dive deeper into the marriage of Aladdin and Jasmine. Could he bring back Jafar as well? It would be cool to see him as the evil genie, but then again, audiences were divided on Marwan Kenzari’s performance. Or maybe, the rumors could be true and Dwayne Johnson can replace Will Smith as the Genie?
I wouldn’t count on that, but let’s talk more about Guy Ritchie. His direction of Aladdin was a source of criticism and in some points, it’s fair. Some of the changes he made didn’t sit well with fans, including the fact that Iago was just a regular parrot. Could you imagine Gilbert Gottfried voicing that live-action version? Oh if only. But, if in my opinion, the good that he did with Aladdin ultimately outweighed the bad. Aside from casting Will Smith as the Genie, he made another perfect casting decision with Naomi Scott. What really separated her from the animated version was her original song. That was a powerful moment for her Jasmine and made her more than just a damsel in distress princess that needed to be saved.
Aladdin 2, if it does happen, should put Naomi Scott in the spotlight more and by all means, let her sing more. When she and Mena Massoud sang “A Whole New World” together, the difference between their singing voices felt like night and day. Massoud felt like he was just talking, whereas Scott astounded everyone with her breathtaking singing voice. That doesn’t mean Massoud was bad, but Naomi Scott overshadowed him in almost every scene when they were together. But you know what? That just means Guy Ritchie chose some great actors to be his leading cast.
If he can do that with Aladdin, he can do the same with the live-action Hercules movie. Given that Hercules is one of my personal favorites for classic Disney animated movies, I’m really pulling for this live-action adaptation. If Guy Ritchie is going to make this work, then we have to look at how he directed the live-action Aladdin movie. Much like how the other directors made their own live-action adaptations, he made some significant changes to Aladdin. If you’ve seen the movie, you already know. Some of it was probably hit-and-miss for you, but I felt like he a good job on staying faithful to the animated classic. Many things felt like an homage to it and some of the original things he added didn’t feel out of place.
That was essential to making that Aladdin movie work. Guy Ritchie did well in that aspect and he can do the same with Hercules. My prediction: he will add at least one original song and make certain non-human characters less anthropomorphic. This includes making Pegasus act more like a regular horse and have the Titans just roar and smash things. But please, just please, don’t change Pain and Panic. Nearly every animated Disney villain had a standout dimwitted sidekick. For Hades, it was the hilarious duo of incompetent demons, Pain and Panic. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. If that rule should apply to anything, it should be for those two.
Aside from that, I am very interested to see Guy Ritchie’s take on Hercules. I have a good feeling he’ll find the right cast, especially for Hercules himself, as well as Megara and Hades. Could he get Danny DeVito back for Phil? Hey, why not? He probably won’t get James Woods to come back, but it could be a similar situation with Genie. Whoever he gets, he just needs the actor to not do an imitation and just let him make it his own. But let’s face it, Hades stand out by being a more comedic villain than a straight up villainous one. Guy Ritchie needs to find an actor who can sell the facetious and sarcastic nature of Hades, while also conveying the short-tempered side.
And as for Hercules himself, maybe Guy Ritchie can give Tom Holland a call. Hey, I’m just saying, this is being produced by the Russo Brothers and they have a tendency to bring back MCU actors. Either way, I’m confident in Guy Ritchie’s vision for a live-action Hercules movie. What are your thoughts, Disney fans? Do you think Guy Ritchie is the right choice to direct this project? I can’t wait to hear some casting announcements.