It’s been a good week for Disney casting new versions of its most iconic villains; hot on the heels of Chiwetel Ejiofor entering serious talks to play Scar in Jon Favreau’s The Lion King, the studio has also found its Jafar for Guy Ritchie’s live-action Aladdin. Variety reports that Marwan Kenzari, recently of Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, is in discussions to play the vile vizier.
We can only hope that Kenzari—who’s also set to appear in Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Murder On The Orient Express—won’t be too distracted by his franchise obligations to the ever-growing, vital and active Universal Dark Universe to really commit to this new part. (But we kid the giant, possibly moribund cinematic universe.) The role of Jafar previously belonged to Jonathan Freeman, who played him in the 1992 animated original, its sequel, several Kingdom Hearts games, and the 2011 Broadway musical adaptation. (Meanwhile, the part was played by Oded Fehr—a survivor of a very different Mummy movie—and Lost’s Naveen Andrews, on ABC’s Once Upon A Time and its spin-off, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland.) Kenzari joins a cast that includes Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, and Will Smith as Genie.