Earlier today, we reported on the news that Disney's upcoming live-action Aladdin film would not have Jasmine's pet tiger Rajah in it. It was said that Rajah essentially was removed from the film to make way for a much-needed second female character, Dalia, who would have a friendship with Naomi Scott's Jasmine. However, now it appears that Rajah may actually be in the movie after all.
According to Comicbook.com's sources, Jasmine's loyal pet Rajah will indeed be in the film, as the animal sidekicks are part of what gives the original animated Aladdin its magic. If this information is true, it appears we don't have an either/or situation between the tiger and Nasim Pedrad's Dalia. The live action adaptation will definitely benefit from the addition of Dalia since Jasmine is the only named female character in the original film, but fans don't want that to come at the expense of Rajah. In the animated version, Rajah acts as Jasmine's loyal friend and fierce protector. If he is still to be included in the adaptation, my assumption is that he will have a diminished role and only show up in a few scenes just to sate the audience's demand for adherence to the original movie. Jasmine will probably be shown petting or playing with the tiger a few times and that will be it.
Disney's animated movies are famous for their animal sidekicks, and Aladdin is no exception. Abu, Iago and Rajah are all part of what made Aladdin a worthy entry in the Disney Renaissance. But with these live-action adaptations, Disney has to make some careful choices. Rajah and Abu have personalities, but they don't talk. Therefore, there should be no problem including them in this film, but a character like Iago is different. Talking animals are harder to pull off in live-action, especially when they are interacting with human characters. Although The Jungle Book managed this successfully, that story literally cannot be told any other way, Aladdin can. Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella is probably the best indication of how Rajah and the other animal sidekicks will be handled in this film. The mice in that film had personalities and intelligence, but they didn't talk or play a massive role in the story.
Fans should not be too worried, as with the exception of Maleficent and the Alice in Wonderland films, Disney seems to have found its groove on these live action remakes. Cinderella was fantastic, The Jungle Book was a technical marvel (and gave us an idea of what Rajah might look like) and this years's Beauty and the Beast has been a massive success. This is just the tip of the iceberg too, as Aladdin, Dumbo and The Lion King hit first in 2019, followed by Christopher Robin and Mulan. Member berries are proven box office gold, so we can expect these live-action remakes to continue for years to come.