Genie is an all-powerful spirit (a "jinni") residing in a magical oil lampand the tritagonist in Disney's 1992 animated feature film, Aladdin.
Genie is loosely based off the Genie of the Lamp featured in the One Thousand and One Nights folk tale Aladdin. The figure in the tale, while important, was portrayed as a mere servant, while the Disney interpretation was greatly expanded into an identifiable character personality, the most notable difference being the Disney genie's ultimate wish to be free.
Like most popular depictions of genies, Disney's Genie was originally a slave. Though he possesses "phenomenal cosmic powers", he is bound to an "itty bitty living space" and can only use his powers when the owner of the lamp (his master) makes a wish; he occasionally does things without granting a wish, but never anything that greatly affects the world around him. He is also bound by three laws; he cannot kill anyone, he cannot make people fall in love with each other, and he cannot revive the dead. It is possible, however, that he can do the third one, but as he puts it, "It's not a pretty picture. I don't like doing it!". Alternatively, it could mean that while he can revive a person's corpse, he cannot bring them back proper. Each master has three wishes, and cannot exceed this amount by wishing for more wishes. The lamp comes into the possession of Aladdin during the course of the first film, and he remains in servitude until Aladdin uses his third and final wish to grant Genie his freedom at the end of the film.
As well as largely driving the plot in the first movie, Genie serves as a comic relief element in each of his appearances. He is shown to have shape-shifting abilities, which allow for many and varied sight gags. His supernatural disposition permits him to break the fourth wall, as well as parody real-life people and popular culture completely outside of the boundaries of the universe in which he is contained. Robin Williams is responsible for most of these because he improvised many of the lines in the film. Genie's true name, if he has one, has never been revealed; he answers to being called "Genie", and never says that he has a real name, though it's implied he forgot his true name after ten thousand years.
Genie is full of life, and bursting with positive energy. Though he is amongst the most powerful beings in the universe, Genie is benevolent, easygoing, and friendly; so much so, that he primarily uses his abilities as a means to amuse both himself and those around him. According to the filmmakers' commentary, Genie's energy is a direct result of his imprisonment; his years of isolation has left him teaming with vigor, so whenever he's given a chance at freedom, his first instinct is to crack jokes and entertain. He is also warm and inviting, as when he first met Aladdin, Genie immediately introduced himself as a friend to rely on and emphasized the fact that his purpose was to magically enhance Aladdin's life by any means necessary (so long as it didn't interfere with the three rules of wishing).
Though he was generally devoted to whomever held temporary ownership of the lamp, Genie has always had a will and mind of his own, outside the bounds of a stereotypical genie slave. As seen during his time as Jafar's lackey, Genie's job did not require him to agree with his masters' morals. It did, however, force him to adhere to their three commands without question, no matter how vile they may have been. Nevertheless, Genie was still able to provide advice to masters that were willing to listen. In the original film, he served as a mentor figure to Aladdin, often giving the latter advice and encouragement when needed, as seen when he advised Aladdin to tell Jasmine the truth about not being a prince. As mentioned, Genie did not offer himself as a mere slave, but also as a supportive friend to his masters. Genie's friendship with Aladdin proved that he was capable of forming genuine relationships with masters, though it wasn't until Aladdin that Genie was treated as anything beyond a mere slave by his superiors. This tied to Genie's dream of being freed from the lamp.
Though manic and explosive, Genie is also compassionate, wise, and serious when he feels it's necessary. He understands human emotions and traits to a profound degree, and takes matters such as love, trust, and being true to yourself quite seriously. Genie's more sincere moments are indicated by his tone, which change from wily and exuberant, to low and soft when he wants to get a serious point across. Despite this, he still tries to lighten even the darkest moments with a dose of comedy, an example of this being the climax of the original film, where Genie transformed into a cheerleading squad to root for Aladdin during his battle against Jafar.
In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Genie was is now freed but continues to show genuine love and support for most Aladdin and his endeavors. He was still every bit comedic and lighthearted, but never held his tongue when it came to objections towards Aladdin's more controversial choices. He is nevertheless shown to assist Aladdin, magically, whenever asked to.
John Musker and Ron Clements created Genie with Robin Williams in mind, even though Disney studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg suggested names such as John Candy, Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, Williams was approached and eventually accepted the role. Williams came for voice recording sessions during breaks in the shooting of his other two films at the time, Hook and Toys. Unusually for an animated film, much of Williams' dialogue was ad-libbed: for some scenes, Williams was given topics and dialogue suggestions but allowed to improvise his lines. It was estimated that Williams improvised 52 characters. Eric Goldberg, the supervising animator for Genie, then reviewed Williams' recorded dialogue and selected the best gags and lines. Goldberg and his crew then created character animation to match Williams' jokes, puns, and impersonations.
Robin Williams supplied the character with an unconventional method of voice acting which proved to be groundbreaking, resulting in universal acclaim and Genie becoming one of the most iconic and influential characters in the history of animated films.
On a dark night, a shady man named Jafar seeks the location of the Cave of Wonders, plotting to use Genie to take control of a nearby kingdom known as Agrabah. Unfortunately for Jafar, only one individual may enter the cave, the "diamond in the rough", who turns out to be a street rat named Aladdin. Jafar manages to manipulate Aladdin into entering the cave to retrieve the lamp for him, but Aladdin's monkey sidekick, Abu, touches a piece of forbidden treasure, resulting in the cave sinking back into the sand and trapping Aladdin inside. There, Abu reveals to have the lamp intact and hands it over to Aladdin, who inadvertently unleashes the Genie. Genie immediately introduces himself as a servant, willing to grant Aladdin a total of three wishes, be they food, riches, or any other form of luxury that sticks within the confines of the genie laws. To ensure he doesn't waste any wish, Aladdin tricks Genie into freeing he and Abu from the cave, which Genie falls for, taking the duo, as well as Genie's Magic Carpet companion, to an oasis in the desert.
There, Genie realizes Aladdin's trickery but quickly gets past it to return to his job at hand, waiting patiently as Aladdin ponders on his wishes. The street rat, out of genuine curiosity, asks Genie what the latter would wish for, which sparks the reveal of the Genie's longing to experience freedom, explaining he can never escape his lamp prison unless his master wishes him out. Feeling sympathy, Aladdin promises to use his third wish to free Genie, though the latter is initially hesitant to agree. Once Aladdin reassures he's telling the truth, hope reigns over Genie, and a promise is set before attention is given to Aladdin's first wish: making him a prince to legally allow a relationship with Princess Jasmine, as only a prince can marry the princess. Along with new attire, Aladdin is given the alias "Prince Ali" and travels to Agrabah with the accompaniment of an elaborate parade led by a disguised Genie. Though the front is enough to impress the Sultan, Jasmine is less than amused by Ali's flashy nature, disregarding him as another pompous suitor who sees her as nothing but a prize to be won.
Genie's advice on how to properly establish a relationship with Jasmine. That night, Aladdin laments his foolishness, feeling lost as to what more he can do. He asks for Genie's advice, though he merely advises Aladdin to drop the act and be himself, to which Aladdin scoffs, feeling Jasmine would never want association with a mere street rat. Aladdin flies up to Jasmine's balcony on Carpet, making another attempt to earn the princess' attention, but fails again as a result of keeping with the "Prince Ali" persona. Genie disguises himself as a bee to couch Aladdin but is shooed off. Aladdin nevertheless apologizes to Jasmine for his behavior and starts to make his leave, though the appearance of Carpet sparks her curiosity. Knowing Jasmine craves freedom just as much as he does, Aladdin offers the princess a ride on Carpet, to which she accepts. In during which, the two successfully spark a romantic relationship, but this causes trouble for Jafar, who wishes to marry Jasmine for power. Aladdin is kidnapped by the royal guards per Jafar's orders and thrown into the bottom of the sea. He manages to rub the lamp just before he loses consciousness. A panicked Genie forcefully uses Aladdin's second wish to rescue him, carrying him back to land, thus saving his life. Aladdin warmly thanks Genie, who responds by admitting to have a growing fondness for the street rat
As Aladdin expresses his guilt and frustration, Genie's hopes of freedom lowers. Genie then takes Aladdin back to the palace, where Jafar's treachery is revealed. Just before he escapes the Sultan's guards, Jafar notices Genie's lamp hidden inside Aladdin's turban, and subsequently sends his parrot, Iago, to steal it. The next day, Genie congratulates Aladdin on his success, as Jasmine has officially chosen Ali as her suitor. Unfortunately, Aladdin feels unworthy of Jasmine's love, due to the fact that his persona is built on a lie. Genie, however, feels happiness and hopeful that Aladdin would now keep his promise and set him free. Because of his aforementioned feeling of guilt, Aladdin believes he's unable to keep up the ruse without Genie, denying the latter's freedom out of desperation. A downhearted Genie laments his feeling of betrayal, before returning to his lamp, leaving Aladdin to think over his choice. With remorse and selflessness having consumed him, Aladdin makes the decision to tell Jasmine the truth, leaving the lamp behind as he leaves to do so, and allowing it to fall into the hands (er, wings) of Iago.
When Genie is summoned once more, he starts to berate Aladdin, only to find that Jafar is now the master of the lamp. Genie is then forced to abide Jafar's first wish to rule on high as sultan, stripping Jasmine's father of his title and transforming to a monstrous size to place the palace upon a high mountain. Aladdin tries to stop Genie, but the latter can only apologize, explaining that he must follow the orders of his new master. Craving dominance through the use of fear, Jafar wishes to become the most powerful sorcerer in the world, which Genie fearfully grants. Jafar uses his new powers to reveal Ali's true identity to Jasmine, and subsequently banishes him to the ends of the earth, alongside Abu and Carpet. Genie can only watch the scene unfold in despair, and just as Jafar assumes control of the world. In the dystopian Agrabah, Genie sits in depressed silence as Jafar continuously tortures the imprisoned Jasmine and former sultan. Fortunately, Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet return, elating Genie, though he warns Aladdin that he won't be able to assist him, being that his lamp was in the ownership of Jafar. Aladdin makes a stealthy attempt to steal the lamp, but Jafar spots him and attacks. Genie watches helplessly as the two adversaries battle, though he cheers Aladdin on throughout. When Aladdin is cornered, he looks to a fearful Genie for help and gets the idea to trick Jafar into wishing to become an all-powerful genie. Though horrified by the thought of such a cruel man having all the power in the universe, Genie reluctantly grants Jafar's wish. Unfortunately for Jafar, the powers of a genie come with a price, and the former vizier soon becomes trapped in his own black lamp.
Jafar's magic upon the kingdom and its inhabitants are lifted, and a joyous Genie celebrates the villain's defeat by flinging the latter's lamp to the Cave of Wonders, to ensure 10,000 years of imprisonment. Afterward, Aladdin apologizes to Jasmine for lying to her and accepts the fact that they can never be together. Genie watches sadly and urges Aladdin to use his final wish to become a prince again, willing to lose his freedom for the love Aladdin and Jasmine share. Aladdin refuses to continue living a lie, and wishes for Genie's freedom, much to the latter's surprise. Genie undergoes a transformation, losing his shackles and misty tail, symbolizing his newfound freedom. Genie is ecstatic, and eagerly sets his sight on seeing the world, but not before bidding Aladdin farewell, claiming the latter will always be a prince in his eyes. Genie's words prompt the Sultan to abolish the law separating Aladdin and Jasmine, believing Aladdin has proven himself worthy enough for Jasmine's love. Genie joyously celebrates the romantic moment before leaving Agrabah to begin his travels, with Aladdin and Jasmine seeing him off as he does so.
In honor of their engagement, Aladdin and Jasmine share a lavish magic carpet ride. As they fly off into the night, a zestful Genie (in the form of a moon) watches over them.
The Return of Jafar
In the 1994 direct-to-video sequel The Return of Jafar, Genie returns to Agrabah, deciding that the world is not all that great without his friends to share it with. He tells Aladdin and Jasmine that he is no longer as powerful as he once was because free genies are not as strong as genies bound by lamps. Instead of having phenomenal cosmic powers with an itty bitty living space, he now has "semi-phenomenal, nearly cosmic powers" and is as free as a bird. Despite the fact that he lost some of his power when he was freed, he still appears to be roughly as powerful as Jafar is in the first film after he makes his second wish and becomes the most powerful sorcerer in the world. He can fly, shape-shift, conjure things out of thin air, and make them disappear.
That night, when Jasmine gets angry at Aladdin for hiding from her the fact that he brought Iago back to the palace, Genie convinces Iago to help get Aladdin and Jasmine back together. Later, he is confronted by Jafar and imprisoned alongside Abu. Jafar is able to do this because he was still bound by his lamp and thus had access to all the power that came with it. If Jafar had been freed from his lamp by Abis Mal, his power would have been downgraded and he would have most likely been just as powerful as Genie, but no more powerful. Ironically, Jafar wishes to become a genie to become even more powerful than he already was, and it came with a price. If Jafar had been freed, he would only have been as powerful as he was before becoming a genie, making his third wish a waste.
After being freed from Jafar's imprisonment by a morally confused Iago, Genie saves Aladdin from being executed by the palace guards, who Jafar had tricked into believing that Aladdin had murdered the Sultan.
Together they decide that Jafar must be stopped once and for all and Genie says that the only way to destroy Jafar is to destroy his lamp. Genie later attempts to discreetly grab Jafar's lamp but is unable to do so. When Aladdin attempts to grab the lamp in front of Jafar, Jafar blows him out of the throne room into the palace garden, and Genie saves Aladdin from serious injury by catching him when he falls. He then assists Aladdin in the final battle against Jafar by shape-shifting into Aladdin in an attempt to distract him while Aladdin grabs his lamp. However, Jafar catches on in time to stop Aladdin from reaching his lamp. Fortunately, the reformed Iago manages to kick Jafar's lamp into lava, thus destroying Jafar. While this happens, Genie saves Jasmine and Abu from a dangerous situation as the ground is closing back up. When he finds out that Iago survived the battle, he celebrates by turning into a firework.
Aladdin: The Series
Genie has a major supporting role in the Aladdin television series, set between The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves. In the series, being that his power lowered after his freedom, the villains in the series hold a better chance a succeeding but not extremely. While he beats monsters and saves the day when the heroes are in trouble, he does not do everything for them. Because he lost some of his power when he was freed, he cannot solve every problem that comes up with the snap of a finger, so it is often up to Aladdin and his friends to do their own fighting and save themselves. However, he is still an indispensable member of the group. There are many, many occasions in the TV series where Genie's magic is crucial for the heroes to win and the situation would have been hopeless without him. It is also shown throughout various times in the show that he tries to hide his identity as a Genie to ensure that no one tries to abuse his power like "Do the Rat Thing" where Aladdin says he never wants to misuse his powers again, in "Never Say Nefir" where he took on a human appearance, in "Fowl Weather" where he hides from a young orphan boy, and in "Moonlight Madness" where he transforms his tail into a pair of legs while he has a food fight with Iago and Abu in the marketplace where many bystanders are.
Aladdin and the King of Thieves
Aladdin and Jasmine are about to wed and the excited Genie spends the morning preparing. He decorates the city and informs the citizens of the special event. He is also Aladdin's best man as well as wedding planner, decorator, valet and more. During the ceremony, Genie and his friends are attacked by the Forty Thieves. Genie battles with ease having the villains retreat.
After the dust settles, Genie has the task of rebuilding and reorganizing the wedding. Aladdin learns they were after a scepter that unleashes an Oracle. The Oracle has the answer to every question and Aladdin uses the opportunity to learn the whereabouts of his father. Genie and the others find out he's the King of Thieves and while Aladdin goes to find him, Genie stays behind to fix up the wedding pavilion.
After time passes, Jasmine begins to worry for Aladdin's safety until Genie comes in and uses a mix of comedy and heart to re-ensure Jasmine of Aladdin's safety and to cheer her up. He and Jasmine spend time planning the theme for the wedding and different outfits to try. That morning, Aladdin and the others arrive with a mysterious man. Genie is told that the man is the King of Thieves. Genie, in shock, uses his high-tech security system to prepare an attack, but is told that the man is Aladdin's father, Cassim. Genie quickly welcomes him into the family.
That night, Cassim is exposed as the king of thieves and caught attempting to steal the scepter with Iago. After Razoul alerts the Sultan, he has no choice but to put him behind bars. After requesting from Genie his father's clothes, Aladdin breaks Cassim and Iago out and is ready for the punishment but Genie and Jasmine take up for him having the Sultan forgive and forget. Genie tries to ease Aladdin's anger and convinces him to save his father after he's been double-crossed by his former henchman. They go off to an island where lies the Hand of Midas. Genie begins to sink the island while Aladdin and the others battle the thieves and save Cassim. After all is good, Genie attends the wedding and watches Aladdin and Jasmine fly off on Carpet.
During the post-credits scene, Genie appears on the black screen and says "Game over man! Game over!" (a reference to a similar line by the character Hudson from Aliens (1986) before disappearing magically, indicating that the film is the last installment of the Aladdin trilogy.
Genie has a major role in the 3D animated crossover movie, Eska, as Eska's guide. While showing Eska around Castleton and helping her with her magic, he begins to to get a fond of the girl and becomes friends with her.
Disney Magical World: The Adventures of Eska Devereaux
Genie makes multiple speaking roles in the spin-off series Disney Magical World: The Adventures of Eska Devereaux as one of Eska's friends. Unbeknownst of him, she has a crush on him, but he is too oblivious to notice.
House of Mouse
Genie makes numerous appearances in the series House of Mouse, usually found with Abu, Iago, and Jafar. In Mickey's Magical Christmas, Genie takes part of the ending song and seen on stage with a microphone. Genie is also one of the guests yelling "No!" after Goofy offered more stew in Goofy's Menu Magic as was as being one of the guests shoved at one of the tables with other Disney characters in House of Scrooge. Genie was seen poofing out of his lamp during the headcount of all of the guest in the episode "Ask Von Drake". In "Big Bad Wolf Daddy", he was seen in the crowd during the eponymous character's finale number. Genie is also seen being trapped in the kitchen with other heroes in Mickey's House of Villains.
Genie makes a brief cameo appearance in the Quack Pack episode "Ducks By Nature" on the television set that Huey, Dewey and Louie are watching.
In the 101 Dalmatians: The Series episode "Home is Where the Bark Is", Genie's silhouette can be seen, as well as Aladdin, as one of the passengers of a subway train the dalmatians ride on.
Genie makes a cameo in the Hercules: The Animated Series crossover episode "Hercules and the Arabian Night", in which he punches Pain and Panic back to the Underworld when they are tricked into looking into the lamp by Aladdin (only his hand is seen).
A plush of Genie can be seen on Eric Goldberg's drawing desk in Fantasia 2000, during the introduction to The Carnival of the Animals.
Genie is featured prominently in two animated shorts featured on the Platinum and Diamond Editon releases of Aladdin—Inside the Genie's Lamp and The Genie World Tour. In the first, Iago escapes Jafar's lamp and enters Genie's, which happens to be the opposite of an "itty bitty living space", as it was described. In the latter short, he teasingly sends a magical postcard containing photos from his trip around the world to Jafar's lamp inside the Cave of Wonders.
In 2004, Genie appeared in a commercial promoting the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Genie makes a non-speaking cameo in the form of a silhouette during the finale of The Lion King 1½, joining several other Disney characters in watching the film.
An emoticon version of Genie appeared in the Aladdin entry of the As Told by Emoji short series. In the short, his lamp prison was stylized as a smartwatch.
- Genie was listed #20 in Empire Magazine's The 50 Best Animated Movie Characters. Stating his stroke of genius as the "Prince Ali" musical number, which sees Genie perform the main song but also transform himself into crowd members to start a hundred different rumors as Aladdin, disguised as a prince, makes his triumphal entry into the city.
- Before Robin Williams was cast, actors like George Wendt, John Goodman, Eddie Murphy, John Candy, Rodney Dangerfield, Dan Aykroyd, and Steve Martin were considered to voice him.
- Genie's weakness is sealed bottles and containers, which he's (unfortunately) easily tricked into.
- The designers had a hard time creating Genie, because they wanted him to be a character that could only exist in the realm of imagination, and to do that, they shaped him like a living cloud of smoke.
- Animator Eric Goldberg once said that he always imagined Genie as being Jewish. This could be why Genie sometimes uses Yiddish phrases.
- In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Genie turned into one of his voice actor's (Robin Williams) characters, Mrs. Doubtfire, when trying to cheer Jasmine up.
- Genie's appearance may have been inspired by a type of Djinn known as the Marid. Traditionally believed to be the most powerful classification of Djinn, the Marida (plural form of Marid) are known also as the "Blue Djinn" for their likewise skin texture.
- There is an homage made to Genie in The Princess and the Frog. As Mama Odie quickly digs through a pile of magical objects during "Dig a Little Deeper", his magic lamp gets tossed to one side. This makes him one of the four Disney characters referenced in the movie, with Magic Carpet, King Triton and Prince Charming being the other three.
- Robin Williams was allowed to improvise much of his performance, which is pretty unusual in animation. His initial recordings included about 52 separate characters, which Eric Goldberg then took and worked with, picking the funniest bits to animate.
- When Genie is discussing his wish for freedom, he briefly assumes a form resembling that of Genie Jafar and stands before a similar cosmic background to what Jafar was at the climax of the first movie. Whether this is intentional on Disney's part (i.e., foreshadowing Jafar's comeuppance), or merely coincidental is unknown. Ironically, the two images have opposite contexts: Genie assumes the form to lament his great power but a lack of freedom, while Jafar assumes the form while reveling in his great power. Furthermore, both scenes have the phrase "phenomenal cosmic power and itty bitty living space" spoken, the first by the (blue) Genie and the second by Aladdin himself.
- Genie is one of several Disney characters to break the fourth wall during his appearances in Kingdom Hearts, others include Donald and Mushu; in the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories manga, after Genie is free, he lists the places he wants to go. He then says "Heck, I could even go behind the page."
- The reason why Robin Williams refused to reprise his role as Genie in The Return of Jafar is because he had an agreement with Disney to not exaggerate his role, but they broke it as Genie appeared as the biggest part of Aladdin merchandising.
- Even though Genie said that one of the natural limitations of a genie is that they can't bring people back from the dead, it's implied that Genie can bring people back from the dead, but he just simply doesn't like doing it.
- Genie once made a speaking cameo appearance in The Simpsons episode "Mypods and Boomsticks," where he talked to Homer Simpson, which was intended as an inside joke, as Dan Castellaneta also voices Homer.
- Genie's Goofy costume worn at the end of Aladdin is a nod to Robin Williams' costume worn in the 1989 Disney short, Back to Never Land.
- There is a common popular fan theory about the Peddler who appears in the beginning of the film to be Genie in disguise. In an article by Laura Bradley on the Slate website, says that the rumor has been confirmed by Ron Clements where he explains that there was supposed to be a big reveal at the end but it was ultimately cut. However, fans were able to pick up on subtle hints that the merchant was Genie such as his blue clothing, red sash, bushy eyebrows and beard ending in a curl, the fact both characters had only four fingers in contrast to everyone else who had five, and the fact both were voiced by Robin Williams.
- He is mentioned in Once Upon a Time though in respect for Robin Williams, the Genie doesn't appear. When Aladdin steals a Genie's Lamp from Mr. Gold's pawnshop, Jasmine asks whether the Genie is inside, to which Aladdin replies that he is free and has moved on.
- Despite having been freed, Genie continues to wear his gold cuffs in the sequels and television series. Some storybooks such as Jasmine's Royal Wedding, however, stay true to the original film's ending by featuring Genie without the cuffs.
This was all taken from the Disney Wiki. I did not write any of this...