Disney’s Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ Movie Is Getting the Most Surprising Follow-Up Ever

Love them or hate them, Disney’s live-action remakes of its animated classics aren’t going away anytime soon. Just this year alone, both The Lion King and Aladdin each made more than $1 billion worldwide. Naturally, the studio is already considering how it can build off those successes.

Aladdin in particular leaves room for Disney to tell more stories set in that world. The 1992 animated film spawned two straight-to-video sequels as well as a TV show following the continued adventures of Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, and the gang. But, as it turns out, Disney is going a much different route with the live-action version.

Director Guy Ritchie and the 'Aladdin' cast
Director Guy Ritchie and the ‘Aladdin’ cast | KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images

A whole new world for ‘Aladdin’

For the most part, Aladdin 2019 stayed very close to the blueprint laid out by the animated film. Director Guy Ritchie’s version reimagined elements of the original’s story in an effort to make Agrabah’s kingdom more tangible. But the biggest changes involved fleshing out Princess Jasmine.

Actress Naomi Scott — who recently appeared in the new Charlie’s Angels — has a bit more agency than her animated counterpart. Jasmine even gets her own power ballad, the stirring “Speechless,” added to the original film’s repertoire. As a result, the new Aladdin strikes a better balance between its two romantic leads.

The film did make some significant changes with Will Smith’s Genie as well. But these were more so Aladdin 2019 stand apart from Robin Williams’ unforgettable performance. Fans also weren’t initially too pleased with Marwan Kenzari’s casting as a very different version of Jafar. But his wasn’t the role that caused the biggest stir.

Prince Anders takes one jump ahead

Since Aladdin is set in the Middle East, fans were surprised when Billy Magnussen was cast as Prince Anders, a suitor hoping to win Jasmine’s hand. Ultimately, the character only appears briefly in the film and has little impact on the cultural authenticity of Aladdin 2019. However, he wasn’t exactly a fan favorite either, which makes the latest news so unexpected.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is developing a spinoff film built around Prince Anders, with Magnussen reprising the role. The actor reportedly approached the Aladdin producers with a story idea for his character. Rather than getting a theatrical release, the untitled project will be released exclusively on Disney+.

Disney has brought screenwriters Jordan Dunn and Michael Kvamme onboard to write the script. The duo are up-and-coming writers focusing mostly on comedy. Among their forthcoming projects is something called Operation Prince of Freedom.

The news has left fans speechless

Needless to say, a Prince Anders film probably isn’t what fans expected. Magnussen has proven to be a standout in films like Game Night. But we doubt many moviegoers left Aladdin hoping for more of his character.

Thankfully, development on the Prince Anders spinoff will have no effect on a potential Aladdin sequel. That project is still very much in the works, a fact that star Mena Massoud should be happy to hear. However, we still have no idea whether a sequel would draw any inspiration from 1994’s The Return of Jafar.

As for the Prince Anders spinoff, this announcement isn’t inspiring much confidence in Disney+ original content. While fans are loving The Mandalorian, the streaming service’s original movies so far — such as Noelle and a live-action Lady and the Tramp — aren’t exactly must-see viewing. Hopefully, Disney+ will be able to better find its footing as a content creator soon.