This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

A teaser trailer whetted our appetites for the new version of Aladdin back in October, but there was one thing missing: Will Smith as the Genie.

The Fresh Prince is due to play the larger-than-life character made famous by Robin Williams in Disney’s classic 1992 cartoon, but while the trailer showed us Agrabah and the cave of wonders with a brief glimpse of the street urchin Aladdin, there was no sign of Will blued-up.

That all changed today (December 19) when Entertainment Weekly unveiled the first image of Will as the erstwhile lamp inhabitant, alongside newcomers Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and Mena Massoud as Aladdin.

And, while he may not be blue, he’s certainly got the topknot down pat:

So how does someone approach taking on such an iconic character? In addition to the first look EW includes an interview with Will. And, in a rare moment of self-doubt, he admits it’s “always terrifying.”

He goes on to say, “The question is always: Where was there meat left on the bone? Robin didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone with the character.”

Luckily director Guy Ritchie (yup, that Guy Ritchie, of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels fame) was on hand to put his fears to rest.

Also in the same interview: “The great thing about the role of the Genie is that it’s essentially a hyperbole for who that individual actor is, so it’s a wonderful platform and tapestry for an actor to fill his boots on.”

If there’s anyone who can fill his boots, even with shoes as big as Robin Williams’s, then it’s Will Smith. His take on the character is described as “part Fresh Prince, part Hitch,” which manages to sound both familiar and distinctive.

“I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was a homage to Robin Williams but was musically different,” he explains. “Just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane, versus trying to compete.”

And yes, Will has recorded his own version of “Friend Like Me,” Big Willie-style. If that’s not a reason to watch, we don’t know what is.

Aladdin hits theaters May 24, 2019.

Do you think Will can live up to Robin’s performance?

Read More
Filed Under: Aladdin, Will Smith
By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.