Without Robin Williams, there should never be a Genie from Aladdin. That is the logic we all had back when Disney announced they were doing a live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic. But hold on, guess who they got to play a live-action version of one of the greatest animated sidekicks ever? You already know, the man himself, Will Smith. Oh man, we can’t talk about this guy without treading on some mighty thin ice. By now, everyone and their grandma knows about the infamous slapping incident at the last Oscar ceremony. Iconic comedian Chris Rock told a joke about Will Smith’s wife that he took some offense to, and Mr. Smith went up on stage and slapped him. It was a bit of an awkward moment for everyone, not to mention it was pretty tough to take the rest of the night seriously.
Ever since that notorious incident, a plethora of upcoming Will Smith projects have been either cancelled or postponed. Then again, maybe some of those projects, such as Bright 2, were probably never going to happen anyway. I could be wrong, but at the end of the day, things aren’t going very well for Will Smith’s career. And one of those projects is a sequel to the 2019 live-action Aladdin movie. I think most people would agree that Will Smith as Genie was the best part of that movie.
All right, just let me be totally clear here, no one can measure up to Robin Williams as the Genie. In order to play the Genie, you need a special kind of charisma that only Robin Williams had. A unique character like that just needs that one particular actor who can capture that kind of charisma. Needless to say, Mr. Williams basically owned the character, so we were understandably skeptical when Disney got Will Smith to play the live-action Genie. With the tragic passing of Robin Williams back in 2014, I think it would have been safer to just leave well enough alone. If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it or try to mess with it.
But then again, why would that stop Disney and director Guy Ritchie from trying? We’ve seen Disney start this new trend of live-action adaptations of classic animated movies and so far, they have been hit-and-miss. However, I must say, Aladdin was more on the hit side. Of course, it wasn’t nearly as good as the animated movie, but there was a lot of fun to be had with it. And yes, Will Smith’s Genie was surprisingly very fun to watch. Not that I ever doubted his ability to give us a good Genie, but the issue was that he still wasn’t Robin Williams. He actually didn’t try to mimic Williams’ performance in any way and actually gave his own take on the character. You know, the Will Smith take that we’ve been seeing since the ’90s.
That’s not a bad thing. In fact, he brought the charisma needed to make this new Genie a fun character. And in a critical difference between his version and the animated version, his Genie actually became content with being human and finding love. So I guess that means there’s no reason to bring him back for the sequel, right? Oh yes, Disney did intend to follow up with a sequel to that Aladdin movie. Will it actually happen? Maybe, but at this point, we should question if it will bring back Will Smith to reprise the role as Genie.
Genie is, at this point, not really a Genie anymore, but things can always happen. Since Disney has a tendency to change crucial things in these live-action adaptations, don’t be surprised if they make another big change to his character. Actually, the biggest change they could possibly make is to just recast him. Wait, that sounds little too extreme, but guess no studio is taking any chances with Will Smith’s latest controversy.
As as for his role as the new Genie, think we should consider that him being replaced is a probability. In fact, according to Inside the Magic, Disney is not only planning on replacing Will Smith, but they already have the replacement picked out. Care to guess as to who? Here’s a hint, he’s the biggest star in Hollywood. That would be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. No, seriously.
Just imagine on how that would work. Seeing The Rock play the Genie would be like watching a watered down version of a WWE match. Take the playful charisma out and replace it with a lot of yelling and showboating. That’s not really the Genie we all know and love, but that would probably be the version the Rock would give us. I just don’t see that version playing out well for the Aladdin sequel.
Now I’ll be clear, the sequel could very well happen, but we have to wonder if Will Smith will actually return. Personally, I think he won’t be recast. Above all else, I really don’t believe that Disney will consider Dwayne Johnson to play the Genie. That just wouldn’t work. You know what would be some hilarious irony? Just imagine if Disney did replace Will Smith with Chris Rock. Okay, now that would be an unlikely, but very bold move. Now Chris Rock as the Genie, that would be something to look forward to.
So what are your thoughts, Disney fans? For one, do you think this Aladdin sequel will actually happen? If it does, will they bring back Will Smith? After the slapping incident, it seems like that would be the ideal move. On the other hand, why remove your key ingredient to making that recipe work? Unless you know you can find the right substitute, I wouldn’t risk replacing it. Who knows what Disney has in mind, but they better pick the right guy to play the Genie. That is a tough casting call and Will Smith was actually a good choice to carry the torch after Robin Williams. Hey, only time will tell.