Disney slammed for adding white character to ‘Aladdin’

Disney is at the receiving end of criticism this week after it created an entirely new character for its live-action remake of “Aladdin” — and made him white.

Billy Magnussen (“Into the Woods,” “Ingrid Goes West”) has been cast as Prince Anders, who was not featured in the 1992 animated film and is fresh to the “Aladdin” series. A Disney press statement describes him as “a suitor from Skanland and potential husband for Princess Jasmine.”

There were suitors in the animated movie, but they were bit comedic parts, while Magnussen gets prominent billing in Disney press materials for the movie.

There’s now concern on social media about what the move says about Disney’s promise to cast racially-appropriate actors for the movie’s main roles.

“They did not just rewrite ‘Aladdin’… just to add a white person into it??” one Twitter user asked.

“THEY WILL BEND OVER BACKWARDS TO INSERT A WHITE CHARACTER OUT OF THIN AIR,” tweeted comedian Jenny Yang.

Guys, the wrote a new part into Aladdin just so they could do this https://t.co/tY6SRk3ryZpic.twitter.com/fzTkNsZokI

— geejayeff (@geejayeff) September 5, 2017

18 PHOTOS
Disney Live-Action Movies in Production
See Gallery
Disney Live-Action Movies in Production

Donald Glover will play Simba in the upcoming live-action adaption of "The Lion King," and James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa (!!!). According to Disney, the film is on the "fast track" through production and may arrive sooner rather than later. Jon Favreau will direct -- he also directed 2016's "The Jungle Book," so he's sure to crush it!

Credit: Disney

Now this is interesting: Disney is developing a story centered on Prince Charming (either from "Cinderella" or "Snow White"). There's a lot of work to be done there since the original men weren't exactly riveting characters.

Credit: Disney

In perfect casting news, Reese Witherspoon has signed on to play the sassy Neverland fairy in "Tink."

Credit: Disney

Your childhood crush is coming to life. The new "Aladdin" will reportedly be a brand-new take on the beloved story and is expected to seriously deviate from the original plot. In March 2017, Disney announced open casting calls to find their perfect Aladdin and Jasmine. They're looking for Middle Eastern actors, and shooting begins this summer.

Credit: Disney

We've seen remakes of "Peter Pan" before, but the magical story is slated for another upcoming live-action reboot. It's difficult to cast because not too many actors have pointed elf ears.

Credit: Disney

What's Christopher Robin up to now? The upcoming "Winnie the Pooh" adaption will show us: In this version, he'll be all grown up.

Credit: Disney

The live-action "Mulan" is currently in pre-production, and the actress taking on the title role hasn't yet been announced. It's scheduled for a 2018 release.

Credit: Disney

Disney is working on a real-life "Little Mermaid," and she better still be a redhead.

Credit: Disney

Emma Stone will play the evil Cruella in the 2018 flick. You've gotta assume she received offers for "The Little Mermaid," too, and she was like, nah, I know what I'm about.

Credit: Disney

Disney announced an "Aladdin" prequel that reveals Genie's backstory, but the plan was tabled (or maybe entirely scrapped) in favor of an Aladdin-focused story. We'll see if it moves back into development.

Credit: Disney

"The Sword in the Stone," released in 1963, is making its return! The story features King Arthur before he reigned supreme: He was an orphan who received special lessons from Merlin the wizard.

Credit: Disney

Tim Burton is directing the live-action "Dumbo," which means it may not be quite so cheery as the original.

Credit: Disney

The new adaption of "Pinocchio" will reportedly be only loosely based on the original story.

Credit: Disney

After the smash success of 2016's "The Jungle Book," it was no surprise that Disney decided to move forward with a sequel.

Credit: Disney

Angelina Jolie will return as Maleficent in a sequel to the 2014 film.

Credit: Disney

"Snow White," originally released in 1938, is getting a much-deserved remake. 

Credit: Disney

Did you know Snow White has a sister? Neither did we, but apparently her name is "Rose Red" and she's getting her own live-action movie. She hangs out with the dwarves after her Snow White meets her poisonous (temporary) end.

Credit: Disney

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

they did not just rewrite Aladdin?? Just to add a white person into it?? Right in front of my salad?? https://t.co/bmoTX8gaT2

— #defendDACA (@VancityReynIds) September 6, 2017

..and currently over on the Disney live-action #Aladdin set pic.twitter.com/GDg3LEinC3

— Kyle Krieger (@KyleKriegerHair) September 6, 2017

They wrote a new character in for a remake of the cartoon Aladdin…..*looks at new character* pic.twitter.com/0QuGdskP9u

— ????ThaTzuBurr???? (@BaeTzuBurr) September 6, 2017

Hey, @DisneyStudios. Thanks for casting Billy Magnussen in #Aladdin. Finally, white kids will have somebody to relate to in this story!

— Peter Armado (@parmado) September 6, 2017

Some people felt that the move, while not whitewashing, shows that Disney doesn’t trust a cast made up entirely of people of color. Others are looking at other Disney live-action remakes like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Cinderella,” which remained close to their source material.

“This is purely a cynical effort by Disney to make ‘Aladdin’ more palatable to white viewers,” wrote another user. “It is needless and insulting to all involved.”

So millions of people have seen the Aladdin cartoon.They couldn't trust the live action to work enough without creating this?! https://t.co/ZeX9XDLGo2

— #1WonderWoman (@bgirl65) September 6, 2017

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST gets a shot-for-shot remake. #Aladdin gets a white guy who was never in the film or the cartoon series. ????????????????

— Mala Bhattacharjee (@badnecklace) September 6, 2017

This new character for #aladdin makes me sad to be white, the Aladdin world has no white people sorry but we don't need to be in everything pic.twitter.com/jaj2JWqn6m

— Ashley ®© ➰ (@Ashleyfangirl) September 6, 2017

The move also comes after it was reported that Disney had issues finding its Aladdin and Jasmine after 2,000 actors read for the parts. Internet users were confused by the delay, since according to one, “Aladdin is neither South Asian nor Arab. He is a cartoon hybrid of every racist trope.”

Don't forget that after "auditioning" thousands of ME actresses they cast a British-Indian actress, who has worked w Disney before. #Aladdinpic.twitter.com/UfiY24linW

— ferdosa @ TIFF (@atomicwick) September 6, 2017

12 PHOTOS
Stars Who Turned Down Disney Roles
See Gallery
Stars Who Turned Down Disney Roles
Reese Witherspoon had agreed to voice Merida in Disney's "Brave" -- but there was one key issue. According to Reese herself, she had trouble mastering the character's Scottish accent: "I tried to do a Scottish accent once. It was bad. I had to quit the movie."
Before agreeing to play Belle in "Beauty and the Beast," Emma Watson turned down the opportunity to play Cinderella in the live-action remake: "When they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did," she said.
Is your favorite Disney Channel film "Hocus Pocus"? Well, the classic DCOM almost looked much more handsome: Leo was approached to play the role of Max, offering him "more money than I ever dreamed of," but he walked away. "I don't know where I got the nerve," he later said.
"Hannah Montana" without Miley Cyrus? It almost happened! Singer JoJo was offered the lead role by Disney executives, but she turned it down, later revealing she had "no regrets at all" about rejecting the opportunity.
Warren Beatty was offered the part of Iago, villain Jafar's saucy parrot sidekick in "Aladdin." After he turned it down, Gilbert Gottfried landed the role -- although he first had to beat out Joe Pesci and Danny DeVito, he revealed.
Annnd sometimes you kick yourself later. Billy Crystal has said that turning down a role in "Toy Story" during its early development stage is "one of the only regrets I have in the business of something I passed on." He later took the lead role of Mike Wazowski in "Monsters, Inc."
In 2015, Variety officially announced that Moretz would play Ariel in Disney's live-action "The Little Mermaid." However, a year later, Moretz announced that she had pulled the plug not only on that film, but also on all others she was committed to. "I want to reassess who I am and find myself within my roles again," she explained.
Elle Fanning also turned down Disney's offer to star in "The Little Mermaid." She did, however, agree to play Aurora in "Malficent."
Michael Shannon was reportedly approached to do a major Disney blockbuster, but he wasn't interested at all. Although he wouldn't confirm the film, he gave this cryptic explanation: "They called me recently about some iteration -- I won't say -- but some version of a movie that's been made already countless times. They were gonna give me a lot of money, but I was like, nah. Big movie, too. But I have to think it's an interesting story. If I don't, I can't do it."
The director of "Monsters, Inc," Pete Docter, was dying to slate Bill Murray as monster Sulley alongside Billy Crystal. But after doing a screen read for the part, Murray refused to answer the phone when the director repeatedly called. "We took that to mean no," Docter said.
No thanks! Although she hit it big on Disney Channel's "Wizards of Waverly Place," Gomez declined the leading role in its hit movie-musical "Camp Rock." She also turned down a part in "High School Musical 3: Senior Year."
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Disney announced Wednesday that casting is complete and production is underway in London. The “Aladdin” remake also stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Merwan Kenzari, who respectively will play the Genie, Aladdin, Jasmine and Jafar.

“Homeland” star David Negahban will play the Sultan, along with Nasim Pedrad and Numan Acar. No release date has been set yet.

32 PHOTOS
Coolest Disney World and Disneyland snacks
See Gallery
Coolest Disney World and Disneyland snacks
Killer shot!!!! #thisisdisney 📷: @the_little_pixie. ••• (#DisneyFoodBlog to see your pic featured)
Owl isn't sure about this rose cake pop 😂🌹#Disneyland
#GROOT BREAD!!! Find it in #disneycaliforniaadventure! Thanks for the pic, @sandyruns26.2!! #Disneyland
Well this is gorgeous!!! #Ghirardelli Strawberry Soda Float 🍓🍦Find it in #disneycaliforniaadventure and #disneysprings! 📷: @dolewhipdollies_ (#disneyfoodblog to see your pic featured)
These mini Mickey waffles are pretty much everything right now. #gottagettotokyo #tokyodisneyland 📷: @tableforlily 🙌🏻 (#disneyfoodblog to see your pic featured)
#mickeymouse shave ice from #Disney's Aulani in #Hawaii!!! My life is complete. 📷: @aly_sf #disneyfood #aloha #obsession . (#DisneyFoodBlog to see your pic featured)
Haha! Love this pic by @thejentravels!! #disneyfoodblog to see your shot featured! #Disney #disneyfood #ComeAndGetIt
Waffle bowl pattern at Clarabelle's in #disneycaliforniaadventure ❤️ 📷: @diningindisney #disneyland #disneyfood
No Way Jose from Beaches & Cream at Disney's Beach Club Resort!
#Breakfast at #TokyoDisneyland: PERFECT #Mickeymouse waffles with chocolate and whipped cream 😍 📷: @diningindisney #disney #disneyfood
Raspberry lime macaron from Les Halles in #Epcot's France. #Disney #disneyfood
Mickey #Pizza Bread at #tokyodisneyland!!!! 📷: @tokyodisneylorien (<-- Follow! She's super cool!)
Still loving this lotus blossom glow cube! Now available at several #Disney's #AnimalKingdom locations including Thirsty River Bar and Snacks.
Apple --> Caramel --> Chocolate --> #MickeyMouse!! #Disney #DisneyFood Here's a TIP: Ask the cast member to cut up the apple for you for easier eating!
Meanwhile, in #AnimalKingdom 😍 #dolewhip #whynot #cantstayaway #justsayyes
Loving this #MickeyMouse cinnamon-sugar #donut from #disneylandshanghai! 📷: @snowflakespalmtreesandpretzels. (#DisneyFoodBlog to see your pic featured) #shanghaidisneyland #disneyfood #disney #breakfast
Berry Brickle at the #epcotflowerandgardenfestival is still a winner
#Pandora Night Blossom from Pongu Pongu #disney #disneyfood The "light up cup" is a souvenir cup with a glow pod that clips on. I like it since previous light up cups just break when you wash them.
Hello, old friend. I haven't had one of these cuties in a loooooong time. It's classic; soft and sweet with a touch of almond flavor. Don't overlook this one. #cookie #mickeymouse #disney #disneyfood #eatthis
The sparkles. Na'vi blueberry cheesecake at Satu'li Canteen in #Pandora #diseyworld #disneyfood
Finally tried this #limoncello #mule at Via Napoli last night! Soooo good, even if you're not a #gingerbeer person. #Disney #booze #waltdisneyworld #vianapoli #epcot
#TokyoDisneyland goodies!! 📷: @hungryhugh (who I'm totally meeting someday). #Disney #disneyfood (#DisneyFoodBlog to see your pic featured)
#MinnieMouse cupcake at Gasparilla Grill in #Disney's Grand Floridian Resort has forgettable cake but dense and delicious cookies and cream frosting on top and as filling! Plus #cutebow
Chili Mac and Cheese -- secret menu item from Refreshment Corner in #Disneyland! #yum #sourdough #boudinbakery #macncheese
This #peanutbutter pie is still my second favorite dessert in #disneyworld! (After #Ohana bread pudding!) Get this at Contempo Cafe ❤️
Who's tried this crazy-town Seven Seas Lagoon cocktail at The Wave Lounge in #Disney's Contemporary Resort?? #booze #yum #sharingiscaring
Best Krispie ever @lynleesmmt!!!!! #mainstreetelectricalparade #disneyland
We're talking #Disneyland #icecream in an upcoming YouTube video! What's your favorite??? This one is a #hotfudge #sundae at Golden Horseshoe! #disneyfood #disney
Lapu Lapu at Tambu Lounge in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!
Beautiful shot of the #icecream #martini from @artisandesglace!! Get yours with one of three alcohol toppers! 📷: @caitlinmcaninch (#DisneyFoodBlog to see your pic featured)
Dinner!! Find @ghirardelli sundaes and chocolate on both coasts: #DisneySprings in #disneyworld and #disneycaliforniaadventure in #disneylandresort. 📷: @stitchlovesdolewhips . (#DisneyFoodBlog to see your pic featured) #icecream
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.