Guy Ritchie's live-action remake of Aladdin just took a few major leaps forward. Disney is currently holding their D23 Expo in Anaheim, California and today they unleashed their massive live-action movie presentation, which previewed their upcoming slate. During the panel, they finally revealed the cast for the upcoming live-action take on the 1992 animated classic Aladdin. Naomi Scott is Jasmine and Mena Massoud is officially Aladdin with Will Smith finally being officially confirmed as Genie.
D23 was Disney's last chance to make a big splash with the live-action Aladdin movie before it heads into production, which was supposed to start this month but was reportedly delayed due to the long and complicated casting search. That search is now over as the man tasked with bringing the title character to life has been revealed. Mena Massoud is that man and he is far from a household name, but that could wind up working in his favor since fans won't really have any preconceived notion of him as some other big character.
"Mena Massoud announced as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Will Smith as Genie in live-action Aladdin! #D23Expo."
Naomi Scott also isn't a huge name at the moment, but she did star in the recent Power Rangers reboot, which didn't go according to plan. But that put her on the map and Disney's radar and helped land her this very coveted gig. She was on the rumored shortlist prior to this announcement. Indian actress Tara Sutaria was also on that shortlist and it looks like Scott was able to beat her out for the job.
Will Smith has been rumored for the role of Genie for months, the role that was first brought to life so wonderfully and brilliantly by the late, great Robin Williams. It will be very tough to accept anyone else in that role, but Will Smith is one of the biggest stars in the world and has a ton of Charisma. If anyone can pull it off, it's him. When he was announced for Aladdin at D23, the crowd reportedly responded very well, so he already has that working in his favor.
Guy Ritchie is responsible for one of the summer's biggest bombs with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Apparently, that wasn't enough to make Disney nervous as he is still the one who is going to be bringing Aladdin into the world of live-action. We still have some major casting announcements to wait for with this movie, like who is going to play the villain Jafar. Tom Hardy's name has been thrown out, but no confirmation on that yet. In any case, this movie is shaping up and Disney won't have to worry about any whitewashing controversy on this one. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as we will be keeping you up to date on all the big news from D23 throughout the weekend.