Aladdin is one of those animated classics that could never be replicated, and a good part of that fact is due to the fact that the voice and performance of Robin Williams is so iconic and irreplaceable that it can't be duplicated. According to a clause in the late actor's will, Disney will have no means of even trying, as a treasure trove of outtakes are off limits for any future usage.
The New York Post broke the details, as a former Disney executive dropped the knowledge that there was enough excess material from Williams' 1991 recording sessions to constitute a fourth performance as the Genie in a new Aladdin film. Unfortunately for the powers that be, Williams' estate had a prohibition on such activity for at least 25 years after his death. The reason is that any future sequels would have generated financial penalties for his family – as any posthumous earnings are subject to such technicalities. Though looking back on the comedian's history with Disney, we're not sure finances were the only reason.
When Robin Williams worked on the original Aladdin, he had one major stipulation to ensure his participation: he didn't want his work to be used in shilling any sort of merchandising or tie-in products, such as fast food advertisements. Disney agreed with this stipulation, only to turn around and do exactly the opposite of what Williams asked them to honor – and that left some hurt feelings between the actor and the studio. Though apparently, time and a Picasso peace offering are enough to heal old wounds, as Williams eventually returned to Disney for one more film – the direct to video sequel Aladdin and The King Of Thieves.
Despite the Aladdin series closing itself off with that final film, the clause in Robin Williams' will has us wondering if this was the reason the studio decided to move forward with the prequel / re-imagining of the series, Genie. With a fresh take on the character coming into play, we would assume that Disney's endgame is to eventually introduce everyone's favorite blue wise-cracker to a new generation, with his street rat of a best friend by his side. As the studio has taken this tack with many of their other franchises, this could be written off as just an action that fits with the business model, so this could be just a coincidence.
Even if the restrictions on the deleted material from the original film were non-existent, crafting a fourth Aladdin film out of Robin Williams' legacy wouldn't be a move forgiven by the fans of both animated films, and Williams' comedic stylings. However, after the 25 year clause expires, don't be surprised if some enterprising Disney executives decide to resurrect the materials in question, and make good on their plans to give the world one last ride on the magic carpet. Let's just hope that whoever this hypothetical person may be goes through the right channels, so as not to alienate any fans or descendants of Williams' family down the line.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the original Aladdin on Diamond Edition Blu-Ray, as it's available in stores now.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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