Looks like the rumors of Disney having trouble finding an actor to become Aladdin in their live-action remake of the film was nothing more than pure speculation, or a way to get some hype up on the movie.
Why? Well, because as die-hard Disney fans know their annual D23 Expo is currently underway, and it’s where huge announcements on major films currently in production are made. So of course it only seemed natural for them to unveil the cast of Aladdin at this event, and sure enough…they did!
The biggest surprise was that the Internet’s favorite choice for the lead wasn’t chosen, but Disney did stick to their promise of casting an unknown in the role. So who’s going to play to coveted role of Aladdin? Actor, Mena Massoud who’s currently starring the Amazon series Jack Ryan.
Disney made the announcement official on Twitter by writing, “Mena Massoud announced as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Will Smith as Genie in live-action Aladdin! #D23Expo.”
Mena Massoud announced as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Will Smith as Genie in live-action Aladdin! #D23Expo
— Disney (@Disney) July 15, 2017
The actor took to social media to confirm the exciting news and tweeted out, “So honored & grateful for the opportunity to help bring this magical story to life once again. Let’s get to work! #Aladdin #Disney.”
— Mena Massoud (@MenaMassoud) July 15, 2017
The internet of course has rightfully freaked out about the casting – in a good way of course, considering Mena looks so much like his cartoon counterpart.
Of course the next big question is, who’s playing everyone’s favorite princes, Jasmine? The answer to that is actress, Naomi Scott. She may look pretty familiar to some, and that’s because she starred alongside Becky G in the Power Rangers flick as Kimberly, the Pink Ranger. And you know, for her role as Mo in the DCOM, Lemonade Mouth. Remember her iconic solo number, “She’s So Gone?”
Finally, the speculation of Will Smith taking on the iconic role of the Genie, originally played by the late Robin Williams proved to be true as well.
It’s a casting choice everyone on the internet can get behind, even though everyone can unanimously agree that Will does have some pretty good shoes to fill. There’s no doubt he will bring something iconic and all his own to the role.
— (@JHerondaleW) July 15, 2017
no one could ever replicate robin williams (and i wouldn't want anyone to try), but will smith is an INSPIRED genie choice #Aladdin
— spooky mer (@mackfisto) July 15, 2017
Of course many are still upset that their favorites like Avan Jogia, Jade Thirwall, and Riz Ahmed didn’t get the roles, but obviously Mena and Naomi must be great. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been chosen to take on these iconic characters.
Watch the video below to see highlights from the Expo!