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Disney developing a live-action Aladdin prequel, focusing on the Genie

Strange things are afoot at Disney Studios. The Disney classic Aladdin is getting a prequel, but it won’t be animated like the rest of the franchise. The studio is moving forward with Genies, a live-action prequel to be written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, according to THR.

In 1992’s beloved Aladdin, we watched a poor boy stumble across a magic lamp, and then enlists the genie inside (played by the indelible Robin Williams) to help him try to get the girl. Along the way, Aladdin and the Genie formed a close friendship, and it came out that the Genie’s deepest wish was to be free. The upcoming movie, Genies, will focus on genies in general, as well as exploring the past of Aladdin’s fast talking, joke-expelling original Genie.

The prequel is set to be a comedy but — even putting the transition from animation to live action aside — Shannon and Swift may have their work cut out for them. After all, this sounds like it’ll be the story of how the Genie became enslaved in the “itty bitty living space” he later lamented in Aladdin. That’s just … sad, isn’t it?

The writers are comedy vets, though, having most recently worked on the Baywatch movie and O’Lucky Day. Previously, they penned several notable horror flicks, including Freddy vs. Jason, the Friday the 13th reboot, and more. They’ll be joined by Tripp Vinson, who is set to produce the project through Vinson Films. His résumé includes, among others, an executive producer credit on box office goliath San Andreas.

Genies is anticipated to be just the first live-action addition to the franchise; Aladdin may also get a reboot with actual people onscreen, depending on the success of the latest venture. Of course, the late Robin Williams will be sorely missed, but the franchise has made do without him before. In 1994’s The Return of Jafar, he had a moderately worthy replacement in Dan Castellaneta of The Simpsons.