Will Smith has paid tribute to Robin Williams in a very touching way. Smith, as most anyone with social media at this point knows, is playing Genie in Disney’s upcoming live-action Aladdin remake. That role originally was played by the late, great Williams in the 1992 animated version and it was always going to be the make or break element of this new movie. Smith is well aware of that and has paid his respects to the great artist that came before him.
A new trailer for Aladdin was released online recently and it made up a lot of ground. Both Genie reveals, both in his human form and the first look at the blue Genie, didn’t go so well. But this trailer put most of the puzzle together and the general consensus seems to be that far more people are on board now. To coincide with the trailer, Will Smith shared an image of Robin Williams’ animated Genie alongside a version of his new Genie, done in that same style of animation. Smith had this to say in his caption.
“I know Genies don’t have Feet… But you left some Big Shoes to fill. R.I.P., Robin! And Thank You, @helloluigi Love the art work!”
The image is pretty amazing and it’s hard not to wonder, in some other universe, what it might be like to have both versions of the character interact with one another. Even though it was animated, what Robin Williams did with Genie was nothing shy of iconic. The character was 100 percent injected with his DNA and the performance is nothing short of brilliant. Anyone who has seen the behind the scenes videos of Williams recording his parts knows that this wasn’t just a guy having some fun in a recording studio. The late actor and comedian threw himself into the role head first in a way that nobody could ever hope to replicate.
The unenviable job of having to live up to that falls on Will Smith’s shoulders. But as we saw in the most recent trailer, director Guy Ritchie, luckily, isn’t asking Will Smith to do an impression of Robin Williams. He’s making the character his own. We even got a taste of his version of the song Friend Like Me, which sounds like it could be a lot of fun. While it’s very difficult to accept anyone other than Robin Williams in the role, there are few people who have the charisma and prowess to pull this off, and Smith is one of them.
Related: Robin Williams Becomes Live-Action Blue Genie in Aladdin Fan Art
Elsewhere, Mena Massoud is on board as the titular character, with Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. We also recently learned that Alan Tudyk will voice the parrot Iago. Aladdin is set to hit theaters on May 24. Be sure to check out the post from Will Smith’s Instagram below.