No one needs to tell Disney that live-action remakes are big business — this year alone, the studio has made over $2.5 billion at the global box office with new takes on their old classics, including “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” and “Dumbo” — so it’s fitting that the Mouse House might be pursuing sequel options from their latest cash-earners. One obvious option: another live-action remake of an existing animated sequel.
Speaking to SYFYWIRE, “Aladdin” producer Dan Lin was asked about the possibility of a sequel to the Guy Ritchie-directed hit, perhaps in the form of a remake of Disney’s direct-to-video sequel “The Return of Jafar,” which followed the original 1992 animated film and hit shelves in 1994. (The studio released yet another direct-to-video sequel in 1996, “Aladdin and the King of Thieves.”) While Lin is optimistic about sequel possibilities, he’s more cautious about deeming any follow-ups as “Return of Jafar” remakes.
“We’d love to,” the producer told the outlet when asked about making a sequel. “People clearly loved the movie and watched it multiple times and we get lots of fan letters and people asking us to make ‘Return [of] Jafar’; and I can just tell you that we’re in early stages right now, but we’re certainly talking about another movie.”
He added, “Like with ‘Aladdin,’ it will not be a straight remake of any movie that’s been made before, so we’re looking at ‘where’s the best way to go with these characters?’ … The audience response has really touched us in thinking about where we can go with these stories, and we feel like these characters have more adventures in store.”
While Ritchie’s billion-dollar film included a few updates to the story of the scrappy “street rat” who finds his life transformed after the discovery of a magic lamp containing a plucky, wish-granting genie (memorably played in the new film by Will Smith), the basic story beats remain the same. And, yes, those are the same story beats that bred not just one, but two sequels and a short-lived animated television series. There’s certainly material here.
It’s no wonder that Disney would want to keep that magic carpet ride going, and Lin added that he’d love for Ritchie to return to direct any possible sequels.
“I think that’s certainly the hope,” Lin told SYFYWIRE. “He made this movie for his kids. … He certainly loved the experience, I think both he and Will Smith — even before the box office success, they said it was the best filmmaking experience of their lives and they had so much fun doing it. And we’d love to have Guy back and get the team back together. If we do another ‘Aladdin’ movie, we’d certainly love to have him at the helm.”
IndieWire has reached out to Disney and Lin for further comment.