Guess those rumors about Disney and director Guy Ritchie struggling to find leads for the live-action Aladdin remake were just that. The main cast was revealed at the D23 fan expo over the weekend, along with bits of news about a slew of other film projects Disney is working on.
The casting process got started in March, when Disney put out a casting call for young actors and actresses of Middle Eastern descent — with the requisite singing and dancing skills, of course. Earlier this month, there were rumblings that production was seeing delays because of difficulties in casting Aladdin and Jasmine. Either those rumors were bunk or Disney demanded a decision before the big D23 expo, because the cast is now set!
Mena Massoud will play Aladdin, while Naomi Scott, who recently played Kimberly in the Power Rangers reboot, is on as Jasmine. Will Smith, who was once rumored to be the lead for the live-action Dumbo remake, has signed on as Genie. Colin Farrell will play the lead in Dumbo instead, and will be joined by Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Eva Green.
Dumbo has already gone into production and won’t arrive in theaters until March 29, 2019, so expect Aladdin to be even farther away than that. Mulan and Cruella are expected to come out in 2018, while Dumbo will be followed in the summer of 2019 by Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of The Lion King.
Disney shared a teaser of The Lion King behind closed doors at D23 that’s been raved about by those who saw it, so we have high hopes for that one. Donald Glover has already been confirmed as Simba, with James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa. This weekend saw tons of rumors that Hugh Jackman would be voicing Scar, but those rumors proved false (they should really just get Jeremy Irons back if he wants to do it). Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, and John Oliver are on as Timon, Pumbaa, and Zazu, though, so that should be fun!