Disney has declared the next target of its recent craze for live-action adaptation, announcing today that a non-animated prequel to Aladdin is currently in development. The new film, a comedy adventure titled Genie, will seek to answer the myriad questions that have plagued fevered Aladdin scholars for nigh-on a generation: “How did Genie get into that lamp?” for instance, or, “Where do genies even come from?” And, of course, “Why are all these heathens made of ink and paint, instead of our human flesh and blood, as The Bible demands?”
The film will apparently take place in the Realm of the Genies—the sort of alluring, mythical land that would be simply too lush and beautiful in animated form, and will thus be rendered in live-action for the safety of audiences—and will star whoever Disney can coax, Jafar-like, into taking on the impossible role of recreating one of the most iconic film performances ever, from comedy’s most recently canonized saint. (On the other hand, this might be the big break your work buddy Steve, who does a pretty funny Robin Williams once he’s got a couple beers in him, has been waiting for all along.)
Genie is being written by the team of Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, who are best known for the 2003 slasher mash-up Freddy Vs. Jason. Fittingly, that movie also focused on a wisecracking and cartoonish mythical creature being dragged into the real world by an unthinking, unstoppable juggernaut. To be fair though, Jason Voorhees was motivated by Oedipal impulses and dark magic, while Disney simply knows that tapping into new parents’ nostalgic desire to share childhood classics with their kids is pretty much a license to print money, especially if Genie is a hit and leads to the live-action Aladdin remake the studio has also hinted might be in the works.