In 2019, Will Smith stepped into one of Disney’s most iconic roles — the Genie in Aladdin. The Genie role was first made famous by the legendary Robin Williams, who passed away in 2014. Many were skeptical about whether Smith could pull it off, but he impressed audiences with his modern take on the role. Unfortunately, after a massive misstep during this year’s Academy Awards, it is unlikely that Smith will return as the Genie in a sequel film. Still, Aladdin director, Guy Ritchie, would love to see him back.
As you may remember, during the live broadcast of the Oscars, comedian Chris Rock, who was presenting an award, made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Will then walked up on stage and slapped Rock, stunning Rock, and a worldwide audience. Smith later apologized, but that didn’t stop the consequences from coming, and Smith was subsequently banned from attending the Academy Awards for ten years. There are also reports that he lost several roles and that Disney is considering replacing Smith with Dwayne Johnson for any future Aladdin film.
While Disney has not given any details on a potential Aladdin sequel, what is even more unknown is if Will Smith will return. However, Ritchie has publicly expressed his support of Smith coming back. Ritchie even went so far as to call Smith “a consummate, generous gentleman” while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter.
“I’ve never met a more lovely man, and working with him was one of the most wonderful, great experiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “I never saw anything other than the consummate, generous gentleman.”
With Aladdin 2 now in pre-production, would he reconsider casting Smith again? Absolutely not. “I wouldn’t have any issue casting Will Smith in anything, because, as I say, he was just the fucking perfect gentleman,” he said.
Ritchie was not the only one asked about an Aladdin sequel. Mena Massoud — who played the titular street rat — spoke with Variety and said that he wasn’t entirely sure the sequel was still happening. He did say, however, that, if the sequel were to happen, it would not be based on the 1994 animated sequel, The Return of Jafar. He said any new film would tell a brand-new, original story.
Disney is also currently working on an Aladdin series for Disney+, but this new show will focus on Prince Anders, who gained immense popularity when he was introduced in the live-action film.