'Aladdin': Will Smith Pays Homage to Robin Williams' Original Genie With Touching Post

On the heels of the first full-length trailer for Disney's live-action reboot of Aladdin, Will Smith, who plays the Genie, paid homage to the late Robin Williams in a touching social media post referencing Williams' powerhouse performance in the original film.

Williams originated the Genie's role in the 1992 Disney movie, bringing the character to life with a gregarious performance full of memorable moments and one-liners.

To commemorate the role, Smith posted an image of Williams' Genie alongside a cartoon rendering of Smith as the Genie, with the two mystical beings happily pointing at each other. The artwork was created by character designer Luigi Lucarelli.

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(Photo: Instagram / @willsmith)

"I know Genies don’t have Feet... But you left some Big Shoes to fill," Smith captioned the post. "R.I.P., Robin! And Thank You, @helloluigi Love the art work!"

Smith previously discussed taking on Williams' iconic role during a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly.

"I produced The Karate Kid with my son Jaden, so whenever you’re doing things that are iconic, it’s always terrifying," he said. "The question is always, where was there meat left on the bone, and with the Robin Williams character, Robin didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone. For me, the first aspect was it was live action, so that meant it would look and feel really different, so I was encouraged by that."

The 50-year-old added that he wanted to do his best to create his own version of the character, rather than imitating what Williams had already done.

"Secondarily, after I watched the movie a few times, I saw where Robin Williams infused the character with a timeless version of himself, so I said to myself, 'What if I just infuse the character with a timeless version of myself?'" he explained. "And then that opened up for me...hip-hop, it opened up fashion. Because the Genie is timeless, you get to really say and do anything so I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Willians but was musically different and just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane versus trying to compete."

After the trailer dropped, Smith also revealed that he has seen the film in its entirety, writing, "IT IS FIRE."


Fans will finally get to offer their own verdicts on the movie when Aladdin arrives in theaters on May 24, 2019.

Photo Credit: Getty / Axelle/Bauer-Griffin