‘Aladdin’ Directors Confirm Long-Running Fan Theory About the Genie
As a general rule, fan theories are typically over-reaching, laughably terrible and unnecessary. But one such fan theory has actually been confirmed by the directors of the film. In this case, it’s the long-running fan theory about Robin Williams’ Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, the rare bit of fan speculation that’s actually harmless and kind of cute. You win this round, fan theorists — sort of.
In an interview with E! News, Aladdin directors Ron Clements and John Musker discussed some fan theories that have been making the rounds since the animated classic first introduced audiences to “A Whole New World” in 1992. First, they denied that Aladdin is set in a post-apocalyptic future or that the titular hero ever uttered the phrase “take off your clothes” (come on, fan theorists, really?), but they did confirm that one particular fan theory is correct.
The theory suggests that the merchant from the opening sequence of the film is actually a disguised version of the Genie. Here’s the hard (and to be fair, quite obvious) evidence: Williams voiced both characters, and the merchant has four fingers, just like Aladdin’s big blue magical friend. In fact, Clements not only reveals that this is true, but that their original ending was going to make it more obvious:
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.
So there you go. Although it’s hardly a “fan theory,” as the “evidence” isn’t really evidence at all and seemed obvious to many viewers from the start, but we’ll let you have this one, fan theorists.