Everyone's obsessed with Aladdin's newest cast member - but not for the reason you'd think

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Megan Murray
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Listen up, Aladdin fans: rumours about the live action film have been flying around like magic carpets – but we now have confirmation as to who will be playing the film’s big baddie.

We’re talking, of course, about Jafar (aka the ultra-creepy sexist intent on marrying Jasmine (against her will) so that he can steal the kingdom of Agrabah out from underneath her bumbling father, the Sultan).


Well, it has now been confirmed that Dutch-Tunisian actor, Marwan Kenzari has landed the role of the Sultan’s evil adviser – and the announcement has sent fans into a tailspin, albeit not for the reason you might expect.

Sure, everyone seems excited to be one step closer to the film being made, and, of course, Jafar is a pivotal character in the plot. He basically is the plot, in a way: he’s the one who leads Aladdin to the magic lamp in the first place, after all.

But social media doesn’t care about that. What they care about, right now, is Kenzari. 

And, more specifically, what he looks like.

It all started when some topless images of the actor appeared on Twitter, which whipped Aladdin lovers into a frenzy, with many commenting on the casting choice. 

One Twitter user joked they would be now be supporting “Team Jafar”, writing: “This is who they cast as Jafar in the live action movie @aladdin? I'm Team Jafar all the way now, goodnight folks“.

Another agreed, saying: “This man is the new Jafar in the live action version of #Aladdin? Um, I may have to root for the bad guy! #drool #MarwanKenzari”

And they’re not the only ones waxing lyrical about Jafar’s looks, either.

Check it out:


Earlier this summer – and much to the delight of Disney fans everywhere – the Fairy Godmother of Film (aka Disney’s annual D23 expo) confirmed who would be taking on the roles of Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie.

Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud, who has previously appeared in Jack Ryan and Open Heart, will be taking on the rags-to-riches role of the films’s eponymous character.

Massoud took to Twitter to share his pride in playing the character writing, ‘So honoured and grateful for the opportunity to help bring this magical story to life once again.

“Let's get to work!’

British actress Naomi Scott will be joining Mena as leading lady (and unapologetically feminist) Princess Jasmine, having already starred as the pink ranger in the Power Rangers reboot earlier this year.

And Hollywood favourite Will Smith will be flexing his wish-granting powers as the iconic Genie, the very same role that Robin Williams voiced in the original 1992 animation. 

The annual expo also made some exciting announcements regarding arguably one of the most loved Disney films of all time, The Lion King.

American actor and rapper Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is set to star as Simba, and he will be joined by names such as Seth Rogen, John Oliver and James Earl Jones (who, yes, is reprising his role as Mufasa).

The film will be directed by Jon Favreau, who also worked his magic on the remake of The Jungle Book and is therefore well-versed in recreating a Disney classic.

Although the part of Nala hasn’t been cast yet, there has been speculation that Beyonce could be seen for the role – which would basically be heaven. 

Emily Blunt also made an appearance at the event to speak about starring in Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 version which sees everyone’s favourite nanny float back into the lives of an all grown-up Micheal and Jane Banks, 25 years after first serving them a spoon full sugar. 

Speaking at the expo, Blunt spoke about the importance of honouring her predecessor, Julie Andrews, whilst still making the role her own.

“I needed to pay homage to what Julie [Andrews] did, but also carve out space for myself,” she said.

She continued: “No-one is ever going to out-Julie Julie Andrews – she’s unbelievable and there'll never be anybody like her. So I had to do my version of Mary – I think she is a little more acerbic and odd and vain in the books, so we went towards that version a little more.

“It’s my version of her.”

Alongside director Rob Marshall, the actor also teased some footage and music samples for the film that will be released in December 2018 – all of which was warmly received by audiences and critics.

And if that’s not enough to satisfy your Disney cravings, there were even more exciting announcements to be made about Tim Burton’s live-action remake of Dumbo. Namely the fact that Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and Michael Keaton are all on board to star.

Roll on 2018 already, we say…

Images: Rex Features / Disney YouTube / Getty