The Guy Ritchie-directed upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s “Aladdin” is making a few changes from the original film, and today it has been revealed that one of the most notable is that Jasmine’s pet tiger Rajah is being removed.
Naomi Scott, who will portray Jasmine in the new movie has revealed to THR that Rajah is gone in order to focus on Jasmine’s relationship with a new character, her handmaid Dalia (played by Nasim Pedrad).
Why is this? Because the film wanted to show how Jasmine relates to another woman and, unfortunately in the original 1990s cartoon, Jasmine is the sole female character main or supporting. Scott says:
“I never realized it, but in the animation, Jasmine is really the only female character — isn’t that crazy?… So we wanted people to watch the movie and see Jasmine’s relationship with another woman, and be like, ‘Ah, that’s what I’m like with my girlfriend,’ or ‘We would so do that if I was in that position.’ That’s something that’s missing from the animation.”
Scott adds that Dalia and Jasmine have been best friends for their entire lives despite Jasmine being in the greater position of power in that relationship:
“The Dalia character is so important to this movie because she’s the only other female character. She may be the handmaiden but they’re best friends; they’re so close because they’ve grown up together.”
In ditching the anthropomorphised tiger, it suggests the film might also ditch Jafar’s parrot Iago which puts the casting of Numan Acar as Jafar’s new henchman Hakim in a new light. No word on Aladdin’s monkey Apu either, though as the creature didn’t speak it could still be in there.
The live-action “Aladdin” is set for release in May 2019.