You're about to feel like you stepped into a cave of wonders: The live-action adaptation of Aladdin will have brand new songs from the songwriting team behind La La Land. Though the Disney flick won't hit theaters until summer 2019, there are a few new tunes in the works, and they'll be performed by a variety of characters. Does this include Will Smith's Genie? Hopefully! Not that the original Genie wasn't a delight — let's be real, Robin Williams's performance made the movie — but Smith is a phenomenal performer, and he deserves tunes suited to his skills as well. Otherwise, audiences will end up comparing him to Williams, and that's not fair to either of them. They each deserve their own legacies. Let's give the dude some fresh material to claim as his own.
Per Variety, award-winning duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul teamed up with musical legend Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, 1992's Aladdin) to create brand new content for the film. Pasek and Paul have worked together on La La Land and The Greatest Showman, so if you don't recognize their names, you've probably heard them during awards shows. Not just any awards shows, either — they've won a handful of Oscars, Grammys, and Tonys. After all, if anyone is going to dream up new songs for the Aladdin soundtrack, it should be writers approved by an Aladdin OG.
Menken reportedly penned a new ballad for Jasmine (who will be played by actress Naomi Scott), while Pasek and Paul will bless audiences with an Aladdin and Jasmine duet. It's not just an updated "A Whole New World," either! Variety reports the pair has also added a new verse to the iconic "Arabian Nights" theme. That means new tunes for Scott and lead actor Mena Massoud, but what about Smith? As Comic Book Resource points out, there's no new information there. They were tight-lipped about everything beyond describing one new song as "sweet." In fact, fans still don't even know where the new verse will be slipped into "Arabian Nights."
But hey, with a May 24, 2019 release date, there's plenty of time to discover more info.
What we do know about the live-action Aladdin is this: There's a lot going on with it. When the film was announced, there were concerns about Guy Ritchie directing as he tends to prefer rough-and-tumble crime thrillers over family friendly fare. There were also immediate (and understandable) hesitations about Disney "white-washing" the production – in other words, casting white performers in roles designed for actors and singers of color — but all that seems to have settled down. But then, Disney went ahead and wrote in an original character for Billy Magnussen. Not that Magnussen isn't a gem, because he is (Ingrid Goes West! Game Night! Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!) but, as the argument went, did they really have to write in a new character for a white male actor?
Saturday Night Live comedian Nasim Pedrad will also play a new character — one of Jasmine's confidantes.
Yay, Jazzy finally gets to talk to someone other than tigers and her dad!