There has been much debate concerning the live adaptation of Disney classic Aladdin.
Almost two years ago, Disney was criticized for casting British and Gujarati Indian actress Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine. The internet was in agreement that while the kingdom of Agrabah is a fictional place, the female lead should have gone to a woman of Middle Eastern descent instead. The beloved classic opens with “Arabian Nights” and it is stated that Agrabah is near the Jordan River, after all. Not to mention, the film was originally supposed to be set in Baghdad, but location changed due to the Gulf War.
“I love Naomi Scott but i don’t love the ‘brown ppl are interchangeable’ idea that hollywood believes in so it’s a no from me,” one fan wrote online. But Disney’s flippant attitude with regard to race didn’t end there. There were also reports they “browned up” some white folks who were playing extras.
“Great care was taken to put together one of the largest most diverse casts ever seen on screen,” responded a Disney spokesperson, according to HuffingtonPost. “Diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in.”
After all the casting and blackface criticisms died down, fans had a new bone to pick with Disney—Will Smith‘s genie look. First, fans were scared he wasn’t going to be blue, at which point Will assured the world that he would, in fact, be blue. But then, after his final look was revealed, lots of people were left unsatisfied. In fact, at the time, Will Smith as the genie was one of the top trending topics in the nation… “The more I see of Aladdin, the more I hope this kills off live-action remakes of animated movies,” just one of many, many disgruntled fans tweeted.
Well, now the official trailer is here—and we can, at the very least, say that Will Smith’s genie isn’t all that bad. In a video post published to his Instagram earlier today, the famed actor wrote “I just saw the finished version of #Aladdin!! IT IS FIRE 🔥 I AM HYPED!!! I can’t wait for y’all to see it. But, for now… Here’s the full trailer! :-)”
Check it out above and let us know if you’ll be tuning in when it hits a theatre near you on May 24.