How The New Cast Of Aladdin Changes Up The Original Characters (Spoiler: It's A Lot)

Photo: Courtesy of Disney.
Welcome to a whole new world and a whole new cast for Aladdin. Disney’s live-action remake includes all of our favorite characters from the 1992 animated classic (including a talking Iago), but also expands on some of the characters, too. We've even got a few brand new Aladdin characters as well, namely Nasim Pedrad’s Dalia, who is a handmaiden and best friend to Princess Jasmine (because the original film only featured one female character — Jasmine — so it’s about time we got at least one more woman in Agrabah).
While these new characters are in no way trying to directly copy the original (especially in the case of Will Smith taking on the role of Robin Williams’ Genie), they are breathing new life into an updated version. There are also a few instances where characters have been tweaked a little bit, but that mostly falls with the animals in the movie: Abu isn’t as human anymore, Iago isn’t as talkative, and Raja isn’t super expressive. But aside from those, everyone has the same character essence as they did in 1992. Even Carpet!
Whether you’re headed to Agrabah now or just got back from your trip, here are all the new names and faces in Aladdin, with a few reminders of the versions that preceded them.
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Photo: Courtesy of Disney.

Will Smith As The Genie

You’ve definitely encountered Will Smith at least a dozen times throughout your life so far, if not more. He’s been recording music as a hip hop artist since the 1980s, but really rose to household name fame when he starred in an NBC TV show — The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Fresh Prince lasted for six seasons, and following that Smith made the much deserved jump to the big screen. His first BIG movie was Bad Boys (a franchise he’s still in, with the Bad Boys for Life movie set to be released in 2020), and following that saved the planet from invading aliens in Independence Day and gave us one of his most iconic on-screen lines, “Welcome to Earth” as he actually punched one of these aliens. He’s also appeared in the likes of the Men in Black franchise, Hitch, and Suicide Squad.

Smith’s filmography isn’t the only thing of interest, as he’s definitely a part of one of Hollywood’s most prominent families. He married Jada Pinkett Smith in 1997, and they have to kids together, Jaden and Willow. The entire family has acting credits to their name, with Jada an actress in her own right; and Jaden and Willow are both musicians and actors themselves.
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Robin Williams' Original Genie

We owe everything about the Genie we know and love to Robin Williams, who voiced the big, blue character in the original animated movie. The character was actually written specifically for Williams, and to get him to agree to the movie the animators made a test scene set to Williams’ own stand up routines. It worked.

Legend has it that Williams recorded somewhere around 16 additional hours of unused dialogue for the role, because he would go into the studio and just improvise everything. It’s hard to talk about Genie without talking about Williams, since the two are so intertwined.
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Photo: Courtesy of Disney.

Mena Massoud As Aladdin

Massoud was born in Cairo, Egypt, and later moved to Canada for his childhood. Yes, this is his first major role for both film and television, but he did have a role in Amazon Prime Video’s Jack Ryan playing CIA operative Tarek Kassar, one of Ryan’s co-workers (it’s unclear if he’ll reprise the role for Season 2).

Massoud is a vegan, and even has his own travel show called Evolving Vegan, and explained that his reason for the show is to explain that, “It was apparent to me that many vegans made it seem like you were vegan or you were not vegan. There was no in between and no time to ask questions or actively transition. And if you were not a strict, 100% vegan then there was no room or time to waste on educating or accepting you into the community.”
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The Original Aladdin

Surprisingly, the new Aladdin in the 2019 movie isn’t as cocky as the old Aladdin in the 1992 movie (and maybe that’s for the better). Originally, Aladdin was voiced by Full House’s Scott Weinger and now’s a perfect time to talk about that one Full House episode where the Tanner family goes to Disney World and D.J. keeps seeing Steve *as* Aladdin.

Anyway. For the live-action Aladdin, the essence of the character has obviously changed, as the OG version was actually based off of a boyish Michael J. Fox but when he appeared too “young” instead the animators opted for Tom Cruise. (They apparently didn't understand quite how problematic modeling Aladdin after a white guy was, back in the '90s.)
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Photo: Courtesy of Disney.

Naomi Scott As Jasmine

Say hello to the latest IRL Disney Princess, Naomi Scott, who truly becomes Princess Jasmine in Aladdin. She’s also no stranger to Disney, as one of her first big roles as in Disney Channel’s Life Bites for two seasons, and later starred in the DCOM Lemonade Mouth. She also later starred in the short-lived Terra Nova for one season on Fox.

But, her big break came with her role in 2017’s Power Rangers movie where she played the ICONIC Kimberly/Pink Ranger. He’s also going to showcase her butt-kicking abilities in the Charlie’s Angels reboot playing Angel Elena.
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The Original Jasmine

As for the original Princess Jasmine, voiced by Linda Larkin, the two characters very much have the same spirit. Jasmine is still headstrong and determined to make a space for herself in Agrabah and the rest of the world, and she knows that means she’s got to travel outside the palace walls. The new Aladdin also gives Jasmine a little bit more to hope for, as we learn she’s determined to be Sultan of Agrabah, instead of just its princess.
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Photo: Courtesy of Disney.

Navid Negahban As The Sultan

Negahban has been steadily working for the last two decades, so you’ve definitely come across his work before. He was born in Mashhad, Iran, but later moved to Turkey, and then Germany, and finally the United States and along the way became fluent in English, German, Persian, and French — the latter for his role as Amahl Farouk / Shadow King on Legion for Season 2.

On top of that, he appeared on Homeland as Abu Nazir, and on 24 as Jamot. He’s also appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrow, and Fringe.
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The Original Sultan

The Sultan in 2019’s Aladdin is much different from the original one (and not just based on physical appearance). The original Sultan is more of a bubbling, sweet, and semi-clueless leader who unknowingly lets Jafar walk all over him (because he can’t see what Jafar is doing). If you’re hoping for the most iconic Sultan scene in the new movie — you know, the one where he’s playing with his tiny animal trinkets — that sadly didn’t make the cut for the live action one.
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Photo: Courtesy of Disney.

Marwan Kenzari As Jafar

Hello, there’s a reason New Jafar is more commonly known as Hot Jafar because, well… just look at Kenzari. It’s okay if you spend most of the movie rooting for his bad guy.

So now that you’ve seen Jafar in action, where else can you see Kenzari? He’s been in a handful of moves over the last few year, including big ones like Tom Cruise’s The Mummy and Murder on the Orient Express. And, ahem, in the 2014 Dutch movie Bloedlink, he appears completely naked. Just saying!
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The Original Jafar

For starters, the new Jafar is much younger than the original one. Much, much younger. (I mean look at the guy on the right.) We also learn a little bit about his backstory and how he managed to rise to power, instead of just assuming he's always had an evil face to match his evil plans. In the new version, once upon a time, he was just a street rat like Aladdin, stealing to keep himself alive.
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Photo: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images.

Alan Tudyk As Iago

Disney might own Tudyk, but in the nicest way possible. He’s been a stable voice actor for them since 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, and has lent his voice to Frozen, Big Hero 6, Rogue One (where he’ll reprise his role as K2-S0 for the Cassian Andor Disney+ series), and even Moana where he played the rooster Hei-Hei (who doesn’t really speak, so that means Tudyk just made Hei-He’s strange noises). He’s now continuing on with his voice work, and gives new life to Jafar’s wisecracking parrot, Iago.

If you’d like to actually see Tudyk on screen, instead of just hear him, he played Wash in Firefly and Serenity (RIP), Arrested Development, and Suburgatory.
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The Original Iago

Gilbert Gottfried’s voice gets stuck in your head for forever, so it’s impossible for anyone to perfectly mimic it for the new Aladdin. Thankfully, Tudyk isn’t trying, as the new Iago isn’t so wisecracking as he is just downright sassy. He’s also clearly a bird who has learned to speak simple phrases, compared to Gottfried’s who was planning his own schemes and only putting on an “I’m a bird!” front. This is also the first time Gottfried has not reprised the role, as he played Iago in all straight-to-VHS Aladdin sequels, along with the television show.
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Frank Welker As New Abu & Raja

Do you know how hard it is to cast a monkey? Disney clear does, because they got the original voice of Abu to reprise the role for the live-action remake. Frank Welker once again plays Aladdin’s pet/best friend, the sneaky Abu.

Frank Welker not only voices Abu in Aladdin, but pulls double duty and voices Jasmine’s tiger, Raja. He’s also reprising this role from the original 1992 movie — but unfortunately, if you think back, Raja didn’t have many lines then. He doesn’t have any sort of “lines” in the new 2019 version whatsoever.

Aladdin is not the only time you probably heard during Welker during your childhood. He’s the original voice of Fred from Scooby-Doo (and still does the voice on occasion), along with voicing Dr. Claw on Inspector Gadget, Baby Kermit on Muppet Babies, The Beagle Boys on DuckTales, and has more recently been playing Odin in the Avengers animated series. He also voiced Max the dog in The Little Mermaid and the Footstool in Beauty and the Beast. He’s set to actually play Scooby-Doo in the the new Scooby movie, Scoob.
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Original Abu The Monkey

With Welker reprising the role, Abu is maybe the character who has changed the least from animated to live-action. He’s still a sneaky little monkey and the reason Aladdin gets trapped in the Cave of Wonders in the first place. However, in the live-action he’s a little more mischievous, and actually steals a few things he shouldn’t which leads Aladdin into trouble. But, he’s still there for his buddy.
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Original Raja The Tiger

Raja’s personality has changed a little bit, because while the animated movie was able to completely personify him into a friend and confident for Jasmine, the new movie is strictly all-tiger all the time. He’s also sadly not featured in as many scenes as you might hope, but when he is present he’s a fierce, protective tiger and it’s clear he’d do anything out to help Jasmine and the Sultan.
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Photo: Courtesy of Disney.

Nasim Pedrad's New Aladdin Character, Dalia

If you enjoy laughing, you know Pedrad. She was actually born in Iran before moving to the United States at age 3, and grew up in California. But, you probably know her best from her work in New York City, specifically at 30 Rock. Pedrad spent five seasons on Saturday Night Live where she did spot-on impressions of the likes of Arianna Huffington, Kim Kardashian, and Lea Michele.

Since leaving SNL in 2014, she starred in John Mulaney short lived sitcom, Mulaney, along with playing Winston’s girlfriend and later wife on New Girl. She’s also one of Jake Peralta’s long-lost sisters on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

If you think about it, Princess Jasmine is actually the only female character in the animated Aladdin. Of course she’s lonely trapped inside the palace! Looking to rectify that, Pedrad’s Dalia steps into the picture, as Jasmine’s handmaiden and best friend. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Naomi Scott explained, “I never realized it, but in the animation, Jasmine is really the only female character — isn’t that crazy? We wanted people to watch the movie and see Jasmine’s relationship with another woman, and be like, ‘Ah, that’s what I’m like with my girlfriend,’ or ‘We would so do that if I was in that position.’ That’s something that’s missing from the animation."
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Photo: Presley Ann/FilmMagic.

Billy Magnussen's New Prince Character In Aladdin

Put Magnussen in more Disney movies! Let Magnussen be more Disney princes! He Played Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods opposite Chris Pine, where they had a sing-off on a waterfall, and there should be more musical numbers like that.

He also appeared in everyone’s favorite airplane in-flight movie, Game Night, along with Ingrid Goes West, Netflix’s Velvet Buzzsaw, and has an unknown role in the upcoming Bond 25. As for television, you can see him in the “U.S.S. Callister” episode of Black Mirror, along with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.

Magnussen’s Prince Anders looks like he walked in from a cut scene out of Frozen, as he’s from the kingdom of Skånland, which is actually in Norway. Jafar is hoping that he can pair Princess Jasmine and Anders off, to grow their allies in hopes of invading other countries. Anders, sadly, doesn’t have much to do in the film, but we need to see Jasmine reject a well off prince before she meets Prince Ali.

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