'Aladdin': Genie, peddler theory confirmed by directors
That urban legend connecting the worlds of Frozen and Tarzan may not hold water, but at least one fan theory about a Disney movie does.
Ron Clements and John Musker, co-directors of Aladdin, spoke with E! News and they confirmed what some fans have long thought about the peddler in the beginning of the film. “I saw something that speculates that the peddler at the beginning of Aladdin is the Genie,” Clements said. “That’s true!”
He continued, “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 [Williams] 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.”
This particular theory gained traction for two reasons — one, Clements already said, was because Williams voiced both roles, and the other was that the peddler and the Genie each had four fingers. So, there you have it. As the peddler (or, rather, Genie) says, it is not what is outside, but what is inside the counts.
Clements, Musker, and composer Alan Menken recently sat down with EW to reflect on Aladdin, including Williams’ portrayal of Genie.
“Really, the Genie was Robin Williams,” said Clements. “When he first came in, he was like, ‘Should I play this with an accent? Should I create a character?’ And it was like, ‘No, really, the Genie is sort of like a stand-up comedian who’s been trapped in a lamp for 1,000 years and is suddenly released and is looking for an audience and wants to perform.’ And that’s Robin.”
Musker added, “I think Robin as a person, he wanted to make people laugh. It was like a Genie, like a wish-granter: I know that people enjoy humor, so I’m going to give them the gift of my comedy. So I feel like, yeah, he really was the Genie.”