Aladdin, the 1992 Disney classic, has recently become relevant in light of the 2019 live-action remake. (Though, for the millennial reader, was Aladdin ever really irrelevant?) But regardless of whether or not you enjoyed John August’s and Guy Ritchie’s remake, the film delivered on the main points. There were a few changes in the latest version empowering Jasmine quite a bit more, which was great to see, but ultimately, the most critical scenes, as well as the ending, remained the same. Jarfar was defeated, Genie was freed, and Aladdin and Jasmine ended up together.
But let’s go back to the original film and look at Aladdin‘s ending scene. Early storyboards for Aladdin had a different ending than the one we know and love. Let’s hop on our flying carpet to explore a whole new world (and ending)!
Watch: The Ultimate Guide to Animation
Subscribe for more filmmaking videos like this.
Alternate ending was actually a reveal
Sometimes big reveals in movies aren’t just fun for the audience. Some filmmakers start and plan the entire film around these reveals.
The original Aladdin started with that intention. Ron Clements and John Musker, who directed the 1992 animated feature, used storyboards to plan out a very different ending than the one we saw as kids.
Remember that peddler in the beginning of the movie?
They planned to reveal the peddler as the Genie in the film’s closing. The fact that Robin Williams also voiced the peddler, engaging with the magic lamp, was a strong indication. His comedic performance as the peddler helped audiences quickly question his identity.
This has been a theory amongst fans for over twenty years, and now there is finally some hard evidence!
In a USA Today interview, Clement says "That was always the intention in making the movie. The end would be this reveal — this man with the turban in the beginning was, in fact, the Genie." He goes on to mention that the scene "was eliminated as 'Aladdin' continued to evolve."
With the release of Aladdin on Blu Ray, the bonus footage of the animatic alternative ending confirms the theory.
Of course, this reveal doesn’t change anything major in the movie, but it is a fun little piece of trivia, especially in light of its revival.
Aladdin Ending Scene
The original Aladdin ending scene
Disney ultimately ends the final animation with something that was a bit more aesthetically pleasing — Aladdin and Jasmine flying into the night on their magic carpet. As for the Genie, he breaks the fourth wall similar to the animatic. The rest is history.
What do you think?
Did Disney, the storyboard artists, writers, and filmmakers of Aladdin make the right choice? That’s pretty subjective, and up to the viewer. But they were able to determine their preferred ending scene at minimal cost by creating the animatic.
So, for filmmakers and animators, how did Disney do it?
It all starts with a storyboard.
Plan Vision with Storyboards
Aladdin ending scene storyboard
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional filmmaker or a hopeful one, planning what you see in your head, is essential to nailing your scenes (or endings!).
Storyboarding is a creative tool but it’s also a necessary one to manage your time effectively when you’re planning your shoot. Knowing how long each shot will take is critical, and you can throw all of that information into your storyboard.
Some storyboard tools also have unique share features. Feel free to comment and share boards in real-time with your team with StudioBinder’s Online Storyboard feature. We added our Aladdin ending scene animatic as an example of how animators design their films.
No matter what software you use, planning with storyboards can help you showcase your ideas to others clearly. It can keep everyone on the same page and in line with the vision.
Explore iconic storyboard examples
It takes practice to storyboard well, but it is essential in laying out your vision for your project. The next post explores some of the best storyboards to inspire you, and to show you some examples of how the pros do it. Ever wonder what the raptor attack from Jurassic Park looked like as a storyboard? There's also a free storyboard template, which doesn't hurt.