Production has finally begun on Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin, which brought the excitement level up only to be taken back down when Disney announced that they had cast Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods) as a new character named Prince Anders, who was not originally in the 1992 animated movie. The move has been criticized by many who claim that Disney only added the character so that they could introduce a Caucasian actor into a movie where there are no other white people. The news comes after Disney was slammed for casting Naomi Scott in the part of Princess Jasmine because she is not from Arab descent, but instead British and Gujarati Indian, which many feel reinforces the stereotype that South Asian and Middle Eastern people are interchangeable.
Guy Richie's upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin is set to have a diverse cast, which is a relief to many, but the addition of a brand new white character seems to have really tipped the scale towards rage. Though not technically "whitewashing" because they didn't replace a non-white character with a white character, the term "whitewashing" is being thrown around towards the movie as a whole instead of just one singular character. Disney's motivations are not clear for hiring Magnussen, but social media has a few ideas why.
Twitter especially had a thing or two to say about the whole situation. VancityRenyld's Twitter, not to be confused with actor Ryan Reynolds account, said this: "They did not just rewrite Aladdin?? Just to add a white person into it?? Right in front of my salad??" Yes, social media is bringing popular memes into fight the Aladdin race debate. RJ Sharp had this to say.
"Disney shoehorned a white guy into the Aladdin movie because they just gotta have a white person in a movie set in the Middle East."
Another Twitter user was more lighthearted about the situation and suggested a Disney Cinematic Universe. Mr. Feel said, "oh my god the new guy in Aladdin is white and probably from Europe he'll mention Belle or some s%$t DISNEY CINEMATIC UNIVERSE." While the argument was summed up pretty nicely by another critic who said, "Was it really necessary for you to throw a white dude in the movie, Disney? Ain't no one asked."
The situation is even more under the public microscope since the events of surrounding the Hellboy reboot last week. Actor Ed Skrein decided to exit the movie after the project came under fire for casting a white actor to portray the part of a character with Asian heritage. Skrein was not initially aware of the change and chose to leave the project after he learned of the character's origins. Many actors in the Hollywood community backed Skrein's decision and publicly praised the actor for bowing out.
At this time, it is not even clear how large the part of Prince Anders will be, but it is assumed that the part will be pretty small in relation to the rest of the Aladdin live-action remake. But the question still remains: Why did Disney add a new character only to cast a white actor in a movie where there are no other white actors? Nobody seems to be bummed on the choice of Will Smith playing the Genie who was originally blue, which is strange. At this time the answer is unclear, but in the meantime, go check out what social media has to say about the decision below.