Even though Scott Weinger (Aladdin) and Linda Larkin (Jasmine) are pretty decent singers, they did not sing for their respective characters. Brad Kane did Aladdin's singing while Lea Salonga did Jasmine's singing (Liz Callaway in the sequels).
One that was oddly used for someone who did do his own singing in all other scenes—Robin Williams of all people. Even though Robin Williams also voices the Merchant (who was going to be revealed in the end to be the Genie before the scene was cut), he does NOT sing for him. Bruce Adler does the Merchant's singing.
In Spain, Josema Yuste was replaced by professional voice actor Pep Antón Muñoz in the TV series and The King of Thieves, probably because of Yuste's Celebrity Voice Actor status. Also, Rubén Trujillo (who has always dubbed the Genie himself) replaced his fellow Mexican voice actor Hectór Lee as Iago in the series but imitating Lee's accent. Sergio Zamora, who is much well known as a voice actor than for his singing, and for voicing Simba and Hercules for Disney, temporarily replaced Miguel Morant as Aladdin's singing voice in The Return of Jafar. Juan Antonio Gálvez replaced Joaquín Muñoz, who retired in the early 2000's, as Jafar since House of Mouse and would voice him again in Kingdom Hearts II. Jordi Boixaderas briefly voiced Jafar in one of Disney Channel's Quiz Show shorts. However the entire cast was darrined in Kingdom Hearts II with Madrid established voice actors (the films and series were originally recorded in Barcelona).
In Poland, Aladdin had two different voice actors: Paweł Tucholski (who later voiced adult Simba in the first TLK movie) and Jacek Sołtysiak. Tucholski voiced him in the first and third movie, while Sołtysiak did in the second (and was also a Non-Singing Voice, unlike the previous VA; the singing was performed by Kacper Kuszewski). As for the TV series, Aladdin was dubbed by Tucholski when it first aired in 1995 and later by Sołtysiak when a redub was made. This is also the case with Jasmine: she was voiced by Katarzyna Skrzynecka in the first movie and then by Olga Bończyk in all her other appearances.
Author Existence Failure: During the early stages of production, Howard Ashman died in 1991 of AIDS complications. Tim Rice wrote new songs with Alan Menken after Ashman's death. Three of Ashman's songs, specifically, all three song sung by a character played by Robin Williams, remained in the final film and were credited to Ashman ("Arabian Nights", "Friend Like Me", and "Prince Ali"; the rest were written by Rice). Aladdin is the last project Ashman had any involvement in.
When he heard that Disney was doing an adaptation of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp, Howard Ashman, a huge fan of the story and who had starred in a production of it at his homegrown black box theater, dropped everything he was doing for Beauty and the Beast and wrote a pages-long outline and some template lyrics just so he could be involved (Ashman had already been diagnosed with HIV at this point and knew he was going to die soon, so time was of the essence).
Cut Song: Tons. By both songwriters. Many were reinstated in the stage adaptation.
Doing It for the Art: Robin Williams signed on to the film immediately because he loved cartoons and jumped at the chance to be part of an animated film from Disney, whom he called the Rolls Royce of animation. He even tried to enforce this by taking a much lower salary than he could have and requiring in his contract that Disney limit the use of his performance in the marketing and not use it at all in merchandise (a rare case where it stuck was the official artbook, which features no pictures of Williams and only refers to him as "the voice of the Genie" and such). Disney, of course, had other ideas, and skirted around or blatantly ignored these requests, angering Williams and causing a rift between him and Disney for a few years.
One of the most convoluted examples ever with Richard Williams' The Thief and the Cobbler, which had been in production for over two decades when this film's production started and was not released until long after this movie was completed and became a big hit, by which point the movie had been taking out of Williams' control, shipped off to overseas studios for rushed completion and drastically re-cut to be an Aladdin knockoff. This has led to some dispute amongst animation fans as to whether Disney plagiarized Williams' film or if it only borrowed some ideas as homage. Williams had shown footage of Thief to the animators on Roger Rabbit in hopes of recruiting them, which obviously backfired. According to some of his collaborators, when asked about it, Williams just shrugged and said "It is what it is."
In typical Richard Branson extravagance, Virgin Games produced a pair of Aladdin games that were pitted against another. More interesting is the fact that it was Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) vs. David Perry (Earthworm Jim); both men were very important to video games in general. On an historical note, Robin Williams was paid a little less than he probably deserved, with the stipulation that his Genie stay a secondary character (thus justifying the lower pay) and not be at the forefront of the marketing. Plenty of merchandise like the front of the SNES and Genesis/Mega Drive carts featured the Genie prominently. This led to Williams and Disney having a public falling-out. He did not voice the Genie in Return of Jafar or the TV series.
The SNES version is technically proficient and fun, but it doesn't push the console's limits or redefine the state of video game animation, so it's not on anyone's top SNES games list. (If anything, the nineties were over-saturated with platformers.)
'Floaty' is the word for the Sega title; in fact, most Genesis/Mega Drive platformers felt that way. The Sega version got more hype due to the buttery-smooth animation: Virgin had the actual Disney Animators assist the dev team on the game's art direction, thus the better visuals. Very authentic and felt true to the movie, and it's the one people talk about still. The Virgin games are not to be confused with the Master System version of Aladdin, which combined endless running with Prince of Persia-style cinematic platforming. And the graphics look pretty good for 8-bit.
Executive Meddling: In exchange for working for union scale, Robin Williams had a few contractual agreements. The biggest one, outside of not using his voice for merchandise, was that they not make a big deal about him being in the movie (Toys was coming out the following month, and he didn't want this film to overshadow his friend Barry Levinson's pet project), which included the requirement that they not use his lines in commercials and the poster not have the Genie take up more than 25% of merchandise. Studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg either ignored the stipulations (talking Genie dolls were made) or used Loophole Abuse (as seen on the main image, Genie doesn't technically exceed the maximum allowed amount of space, but he's still by far the most obvious character). Robin Williams was livid and vowed never to voice the character again. CEO Michael Eisner went as far as to purchase an original Picasso for Williams as an apology, but Williams still refused. After Katzenberg resigned and was succeeded by former 20th Century Fox production chief Joe Roth in 1994, Williams and the studio patched things up and he returned for Aladdin and the King of Thieves (as well as other Disney projects such as Flubber).
Fake Brit: Cleveland-born Jonathan Freeman as Jafar. Who, like everyone else in the movie, is technically supposed to be Arabian, but was portrayed a villainous British accent anyway. Amusingly, Douglas Seale, who voiced the Sultan, actually was British.
Harpo Does Something Funny: The animators and writers managed to accommodate Robin Williams during his extensive ad-libbing, no small feat when you see how many celebrity impressions, sly one-liners, and wild transformations they managed to work in.
The Other Marty: Aladdin himself: Aladdin was originally drawn as a scrawny 12-year-old. (Or thereabouts.) It was only after animation had begun that they realized they needed a more buff look for their hero. However, it was too late to re-do the animation that had been done already, and the 'scrawny' Aladdin can be seen in the "Friend Like Me" sequencenote Pay attention to Aladdin during the lines "You gots power in your corner now" and "you ain't never had a friend like me" just before "yes, sir, we pride ourselves on service", where it's particularly obvious. In fact, Aladdin's original design was based on Michael J. Fox, which would make him an Other Marty for the original Other Marty.
Promoted Fanboy: Will Finn is the self-proclaimed world's biggest Gilbert Gottfried fan and was ecstatic to have him working on the film, which meant he got to meet his hero. He and Gottfried remained close friends after the film finished.
Referenced by...: The Cut Song "Proud of Your Boy", which eventually got a life of its own, down to being part of the Broadway version, named the infamous far-right group Proud Boys - the group's founder, who first heard it in a recital of his daughter, interpreted the lyrics in which Aladdin apologizes to his mother for being a bad son as "apologizing for being a boy".
Role Reprise: Jonathan Freeman, who voiced Jafar in the original Aladdin, reprised his role for the Broadway play.
Screwed by the Lawyers: Disney began arranging plans for a live-action Genie prequel as an origin story which would take place before the Live-Action Adaptation of the film, but it got canceled thanks to a clause in Robin Williams' will. His estate informed the company the clause bars any further usage of voice recordings and likenesses that had not been already made available to the public for 25 years after his death, meaning Disney cannot move forward with using Williams' likeness until August 11, 2039. Not to mention having Will Smith portraying the Genie in the new live-action adaptation makes it useless to have a prequel with him being portrayed by Williams, anyway. Disney also had plans to make a third sequel with unused Robin Williams recordings, but it ended up being scrapped for the same reason.
Screwed by the Network: The IMAX version of The Lion King (1994) had a preview for a large-format version of Aladdin attached to its run. Unfortunately, the low grosses of IMAX DAC moviesnote before TLK, Disney released Treasure Planet, the Beauty and the Beast Special Extended Edition, and Fantasia 2000 in this format prompted Disney to cancel Aladdin's engagement (the remastered animation was eventually used for the DVD release). Similar circumstances later turned it into the only one of the Renaissance's four most famous movies without a 3D conversion; while Disney never actually announced one in the works, the failures of those of Beauty and the Beast and some Turn of the MillenniumPixar moviesnote They failed so badly, that the Little Mermaid conversion, which Disney did announce, went straight to Blu-ray 3D. guaranteed that Aladdin wouldn't get one.
As stated in Exact Words, the 'Applause' sign on the Genie's back after "Friend Like Me". This came up due to Jeff Katzenberg, then creative head at Disney, wanting the audience to clap after every musical number. So the animators put the sign in, and just for good measure, made the Carpet clap (The Sultan claps at the end of "Prince Ali" as well).
Many scenes are Robin Williams ad-libbing, particularly the opening one with the Peddler. Gilbert Gottfried also did it at times, a notable example being the line "gotta pack up the guns, the weapons, the blades, and how 'bout this picture, I don't know, I think I'm making a weird face in it." line shortly after Ali Ababwa/Aladdin unveiled Jafar and Iago's treacherous ambitions to the Sultan.
There was so much ad-libbing, Aladdin was disqualified from any screenplay Oscars.
Michael Bolton and Céline Dion, who was coming off the success of the title song of Beauty and the Beast, were given initial consideration to record the pop version of "A Whole New World." Instead, the song went to Dion's previous duet partner, Peabo Bryson, and Regina Belle, an R&B star without much recognition in the pop world at the time. Even without the star power of Bolton and Dion, the song not only went to number one, but had the distinction of knocking Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" off the top of the Billboard chart.
Aladdin was originally supposed to have a mother, as mentioned on several documentaries, being a character that lyricist Howard Ashman reportedly wanted. Her character and the original draft of the film got thrown out by studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg during production, and Katzenberg also reportedly wanted the mom "86ed", calling her "a zero". This led to Aladdin being an orphan in the original film instead. This also led to Elliott and Rossio joining the writing team and the rest of the story being reworked. Aladdin was the second Disney Animated Canon film in a row to get a Reset Button from Katzenberg; he also played this card on Beauty and the Beast, and Ashman could not argue for the original draft this time due to his death (the meeting where Katzenberg hit the Reset Button, known to Disney animators as "Black Friday", happened a month after Ashman had already passed away from AIDS) note Katzenberg would be involved in a second "Black Friday" regarding Toy Story before he left Disney .
An unused alternate ending features the peddler telling the story suddenly turning into the Genie before the credits roll. Not technically confirmed in the film itself, but both of them were still voiced by Robin Williams, and if you look closely, the peddler and the Genie both have four fingers, while all the other human characters have five. They also have similar clothing, facial hair and even faces. This was passed over because the reveal dragged the ending on for too long; people were applauding and standing up on the fireworks shot of Aladdin and Jasmine.note In October 2015, directors John Musker and Ron Clements officially confirmed that the Peddler is indeed the Genie. This idea would be recycled for the live-action remake, in which the Genie (as his liberated human form) introduces the story to his children, though he isn't explicitly revealed to actually be Genie until the end.
Aladdin was originally gonna have a trio of friends (named Babkak, Omar, and Kassim) who would help him out. They were written out, and became the villains Minos, Fatima, and Aziz in the TV seriesnote Though the former two had a HeelFace Turn while the latter remained a villain., while Kassim's name was reused (spelled "Cassim") for Aladdin's father in Aladdin and the King of Thieves. They would eventually appear in the stage musical adaptation as Aladdin's sidekicks, subsequently replacing Abu.
Indie animation legend Bill Plympton was offered a six figure deal to animate on the film, nearly halting production on his first feature, The Tune. He only turned it down when he learned that Disney held intellectual rights over any ideas he had while working for them.
Originally Genie was able to grant unlimited wishes, but he was changed to the standard three-wish genie to raise the stakes.
According to the "Pop-Up Fun Facts" on the DVD, Genie was originally going to be purple. They changed his color to blue to better fit the film's color scheme (Blue signifying "Good", Red signifying "Evil", and Yellow signifying "Neutral").
Adding onto this, some concept art showed that the filmmakers at one point considered having Genie be green, but this was scrapped. After that, he constantly bounced back between purple and blue, with the latter color ultimately winning out.
There was originally supposed to be a scene where Jafar quizzes the Genie on all the animals that appeared in the Prince Ali song, finding out that the Genie had turned Abu into an elephant in the process. In the final version of the movie Jafar doesn't find out that the Genie did this until right before he sends Aladdin, Abu & the Magic Carpet to the arctic.
Originally, Jafar was the hot-headed one while Iago was the more quiet, subdued one, but it was quickly decided that Jafar losing his temper every few seconds would get old fast and also make him less menacing as a villain.
The Genie of the Ring from the original story became The Speechless Carpet because two genies would have been too much.
There was going to be a Genie-centric prequel to the upcoming live-action remake, but was cancelled due to reasons explained in the Screwed by the Lawyers section.
Jasmine was supposed to have freed herself from the giant hourglass with the jewel from her headband but that was changed to a last-minute rescue.
The Genie was intended to be voiced by an African-American actor, with Ashman and Menken's original Friend Like Me" taking heavy inspiration from the likes of Cab Calloway and Fats Waller. This idea was dropped to avoid the implications of a black actor playing a character who was essentially a slave. Funnily enough, the Genie would eventually be played by black actors in both the Broadway musical and the live action remake.
A remnant of the Cab Calloway style Genie can be seen in the final film- when the Genie dances in a white tuxedo during the song, he's doing a pastiche of Cab Calloway's dance motions he did onstage while performing.
This video shows several of Robin William's ad-libs that didn't make the cut, including a few alternate versions of scenes that did make it in.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Jonathan Freeman's serious fear of birds became an issue when some live parrots were brought into the studio for the animators to work from in creating Iago. There's even a bonus feature showing him visiting a pet shop and demonstrating that he's somewhat less frightened of birds now.
Word of Saint Paul: According to his actor, Jafar's obsession with power came from being a neglected Child Prodigy forced to spend his youth in a boarding school and then tend to a none-too-bright sultan.
Write Who You Know: Jasmine is heavily based on Mark Henn's (the leading animator) younger sister.
Writer Conflicts With Canon: In 2015, the film's co-directors said the revelation that Peddler was Genie, despite being cut from the final version, was still canon. They were either ignoring or just unaware of the end of Aladdin and the King of Thieves, where the two are shown to be separate people, although Genie splitting himself into multiple people at once has always been an established power of his.
Vaporware: Disney announced a Myst style game set for release on October 17, 1997 called "Aladdin: The Fate of Agrabah" but for some reason was never released despite having a trailer appearing on one of their demo samplers (with a demo of Hercules - The Action Game and Nightmare Ned) as well as box art appearing on the back of the instruction booklet for Nightmare Ned.