Great. Not only is Disney adapting their classic animated films into the live-action format, they’re also making sequels. Collider reports that Disney is bringing in an entirely new writing team to start penning the sequel to last year’s Aladdin starring Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Will Smith as the charismatic blue Genie.
Oscar-nominated writers John Gatins (Flight) and Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton) have been roped in by the house of mouse to collaborate on the Aladdin 2 screenplay. It’s also reported that producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich have been taking pitches from writers for a while now before finally settling on Gatins and Berloff.
Nobody asked for this. I don’t know a single person who watched the live-action Aladdin and went “Oh gosh! I can’t wait to see what happens next!” To be fair, I’m not at all surprised. We live in an era of sequels, reboots, remakes and franchises. So, while I may have found Aladdin enjoyable but uninspiring, it did go on to make over $US 1 billion at the worldwide box office. Naturally, Disney’s going to milk the cash cow until her teats are sore.
But let’s try to stay positive for a second. The writers they’ve roped in are talented. If they’re given enough space and freedom to exercise their creativity, we could end up with an exceptional screenplay. Then there’s the matter of the director. It’s currently unconfirmed if Guy Ritchie will return to the helm. It’s possible but I sincerely hope not. Guy Ritchie is an odd fit for the property.
I’ll repeat what I said in my review of the 2019 Aladdin. Guy Ritchie is a weird choice for a director. There’s no denying the man’s talent. Action-thrillers like Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Sherlock Holmes are brilliant works of art that showcase Ritchie’s overt sense of style and vision that’s unlike any other director working today. But it isn’t a style that gels well in a film that’s desperately trying to be magical and wondrous. As the film progresses, it becomes painfully obvious that Ritchie is at times wrestling with himself as he tries to capture the awe of the original while also injecting his own flavour.
But if we could perhaps get someone like Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) on board, Aladdin 2 could shape up to be a genuinely exciting project.