While many children growing up in the '90s likely watched Aladdin multiple times - and many of them are revisiting the Disney classic in preparation for its live-action counterpart - speculation about the plot, characters, and backstory of the film can make it feel brand new. These Aladdin fan theories from the world of Reddit and beyond will make you look at the animated classic in a whole new light.
Could it be that audiences were taken in by a Genie who wasn't what he appeared, or that they misjudged Jafar without due process? After all, genies are infamous for their underhanded trickery, and where magic is involved, nothing is ever guaranteed to be quite as it seems. Some of these theories may permanently change the way you view the film, and others may simply have been generated by someone with too much time on their hands. Vote up the Aladdin theories that sound the most likely.
Among the numerous Aladdin fan theories, one has actually been validated by the movie's directors. Clever fans have long proposed that the street merchant who welcomes the audience to Agrabah in the film's opening is actually Genie.
When asked about the theory in 2015, director Ron Clements confirmed the speculation:
That’s true! That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie, and of course Robin [Williams] did the voice of the peddler. Just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end. So, that’s an urban legend that actually is true.
Original Disney storyboards also reveal this discarded ending.
When Aladdin wishes for Genie to make him a prince, Genie seemingly just gives him a costume and a magical parade. Later on in the movie, Aladdin is exposed as a fraud, which would be impossible if his wish really was granted.
Redditor /u/Undependable offers a fascinating alternative: Genie may have fulfilled Aladdin's wish not by conjuring up a kingdom for him to rule, but by pulling the strings behind the scenes in order for the plot to unravel in Aladdin's favor. After all, Aladdin does eventually marry Jasmine, which technically makes him a prince. Marrying Jasmine was his real wish to begin with, so perhaps Genie merely orchestrated the events so that Aladdin's wish would be realized by the end of the film.
Redditor /u/greenfingers559 theorizes that the Cave of Wonders may have been the work of the last lamp-holder. After all, immense wealth is likely a commonplace first wish. The Magic Carpet may have been their second, and finally, after a lifetime of enjoying the Cave of Wonders, they spent their final wish on a worthy heir.
How better to ensure their wish would be granted than to tuck away the cave until a "diamond in the rough" arrives to prove himself worthy?
Among the most popular Aladdin fan theories is one proposed by Redditors like /u/naryn. According to this proposition, Aladdin takes place not in the ancient Middle East but in a post-apocalyptic future. Much of the evidence comes from Genie's dialogue. When he first appears, he remarks that being in a bottle for "10,000 years will give you such a crick in the neck." Soon after, he tells Aladdin that the young man's fez and vest are "much too 3rd century." Genie also makes numerous references to modern technology and celebrities, suggesting he already experienced the 20th century.
Some fans theorize that a cataclysmic nuclear conflict or other massive tragedy took place and only Genie and those in Agrabah and the surrounding kingdoms survived. Supporters of this theory also point to the Aladdin video games, in which more of the kingdom's surrounding wastelands are revealed. They not only contain modern items like stop signs, but also barren landscapes and skeletal human remains.
Aladdin's animals are also said to lend credence to this theory. For instance, Iago's enhanced communication could be the result of genetic manipulation or exposure to chemical radiation. Evolution, science, or a combination of the two may have granted some animals the ability to communicate clearly with humans.