After making over a billion dollars at the box office last year, Aladdin was one of the Disney live-action remakes most speculated about in terms of getting a potential sequel.
Sure enough, Disney is quietly working on exactly that. According to Variety, a sequel is on the way. It’s unknown whether or not Guy Ritchie will return to direct, but he’s at least off scriptwriting duties. This time around, the script will be tackled by the team of Andrea Berloff and John Gatins. All due respect to Ritchie, but this is certainly an upgrade on the surface. Both Berloff and Gatins are Oscar-nominated writers, Berloff for 2015’s Straight Outta Compton and Gatins for 2017’s Flight.
Producers on the first film, Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich will once again be producing under their Rideback banner. Ryan Halprin will executive produce. According to the report, they have long-planned for a sequel, but have spent the last six months figuring out the direction for a sequel before greenlighting it. Now, they’ve apparently found their direction. Plenty of fans have wondered if they’d adapt The Return of Jafar, the direct-to-video sequel of the original animated movie, if a sequel ever got greenlit. But sources say it will it be a completely original script, and producers decided after hearing Berloff and Gatins’ pitch that it was the right way to go.
What we also know is that they plan to bring back stars Mena Massoud (Aladdin), Naomi Scott (Jasmine) and Will Smith (Genie), but offers are being held until a script is finished. If they do indeed extend an offer, it would be both incredible and a shame for Massoud, who, in December, revealed to The Daily Beast that even though Aladdin was a billion-dollar success, he hadn’t had a single audition since its release:
“I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it. I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like Aladdin. ‘He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers.’ It’s none of those things. I haven’t had a single audition since Aladdin came out…People have these ideas in their head. It’s like, I’m sitting here being like, OK, Aladdin just hit $1 billion. Can I at least get an audition? Like I’m not expecting you to be like, ‘Here’s Batman.’ But can I just get in the room? Like, can you just give me a chance? So it’s not always what you think.”
So I say “incredible,” because it would rightfully give Massoud another big payday and a new project, but “a shame” because there’s no reason why the actor with the mega-watt smile and charm out the wazoo shouldn’t have gotten more auditions by now. Hopefully, an original script can even further play to his strengths and help him get his foot in the door for future projects.