The Genie (Aladdin)

The internet is bursting with fan theories about popular films, some more plausible than others, and it seems like new ones get added to the pile every day. But it’s not often one actually gets verified by someone who should know. 23 years after Aladdin‘s theatrical release, directors Ron Clement and John Musker have finally confirmed one of the most enduring theories surrounding Robin Williams‘ Genie. Find out what it is after the jump. 

Fans long ago noticed that the peddler at the beginning of Aladdin is also voiced by Williams, giving rise to speculation that he’s actually the Genie in disguise. Well, we can put the debate to rest once and for all. In honor of the film’s “Diamond Edition” Blu-ray release, Clements and Musker sat down with E! to address some well-worn urban legends about Disney films. During that conversation, they verified the peddler / Genie theory is 100% true:

I saw something that speculates that the peddler at the beginning of Aladdin is the Genie. That’s true! That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie, and of course Robin did the voice of the peddler. Just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end. So, that’s an urban legend that actually is true.

Aladdin fan theory

UPDATE: And you can see the original Aladdin ending, which reveals that the peddler is the Genie, below. Thanks to /Film reader Ryan for the tip!

While that particular theory holds up, Musker, Clements, and actor Scott Weinger (who voiced Aladdin) were happy to debunk some others…

No, Aladdin is not set in a distant post-apocalyptic future.

Musker claimed he hadn’t “even heard” this particular one. In truth, he explained, Aladdin was originally supposed to be set in Baghdad, but was moved to a fictional country after the breakout of the first Gulf War. “But no, we never thought it was post-apocalyptic, futuristic or in some other time,” he said.

No, Aladdin does not whisper “take off your clothes.”

Sorry, perverts. Weinger explained why there’s “no way” he would’ve done such a thing:

I feel bad because people are so excited to figure it out, but it’s not true: the thing about Aladdin saying, ‘Take off your clothes.’ There are websites dedicated to it. Like, ‘If you play it in slow motion at this frame rate, you can tell that he’s definitely saying that.’ The truth is that I never said it. I never said it! I feel bad being a myth buster, although it’s probably a good one to bust. Let me tell you, being in the recording studio with Robin Williams, wanting to do a good job and not blow it, there’s no way I would have made some dirty joke.

No, Aladdin and Jasmine are not the shooting star in Hercules.

To be fair, Clements and Musker directed Hercules as well as Aladdin, so it’s not that far-fetched to think they’d include a subtle Easter egg referencing their previous work. But Clements shoots down that notion: “Pegasus is sort of watching over Hercules until he joins with him. The shooting star, we were thinking, is Pegasus. Though no one, I guess, can ever know for sure…”

That may or may not be the King and Queen of Arendelle’s sunken ship in The Little Mermaid.

Although Clements and Musker directed The Little Mermaid, they had to admit they weren’t sure about this one. “We don’t really know on our end with Frozen, and I’ve never really asked [director Chris Buck],” said Clements. Musker found the theory “interesting,” but added, “It’s like fan fiction.”

Buck has previously confirmed a certain connection between Tarzan and Frozen, and he managed to slip a Tangled cameo into Frozen so secret that Tangled director Nathan Greno didn’t even notice. But he has yet to say whether the Little MermaidFrozen connection holds up.

 

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