Twitter Reacts To Will Smith's Genie Costume

The age of Disney live-action remakes is upon us, and so far the Mouse House has failed to disappoint. 2015's Cinderella got the ball rolling in style, and Jon Favreau's critically acclaimed version of The Jungle Book was one of the movie events of 2016. The 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast didn't score quite as highly with critics, but it still managed to pull in a whopping $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office. The studio has three big live-action remakes hitting theaters in 2019, but while The Lion King continues to generate buzz, people are getting worried about Aladdin — and the first official photos (released via Entertainment Weekly) have done little to ease those concerns.

The biggest sticking point for most fans seems to be the fact that Will Smith is playing the Genie, a character immortalized by the late, great Robin Williams. Smith told EW that his performance would be "an homage" to Williams but would differ somewhat in terms of musical style. "There hasn't been a lot of that hip-hop flavor in Disney history," he pointed out. We get that they're trying to go for an all new take on the Genie, but why isn't he blue? And what's up with that hairdo? Smith answered the first question (He'll be a blue, CGI Genie most of the time), but he hasn't responded to the onslaught of tweets about his character's costume. Here's a roundup of the best Twitter reactions.

Summoning the Sinbad of our dreams

Actor and professional wrestler RJ Skinner (better known by his ring name RJ City) helped reignite an age old debate when he saw Will Smith's Genie costume — one that involves '90s comedy star Sinbad. A generation of kids grew up believing that Sinbad (real name David Adkins) had starred as a genie in a movie called Shazaam, but here's the thing — that movie never even existed. According to Snopes, the "Sinbad-genie phenomenon" is a prime example of the Mandela Effect, which is "an informal term for a collective false memory."

Some pretty convincing fake VHS covers have been circulated by those trying to perpetuate the myth, but Sinbad has always denied the existence of such a film. He blames all this on the wild imagination of kids who grew up in the '90s, but RJ City offered a different explanation: "Remember that alternate universe s*** when we thought Sinbad starred in a genie movie?" he tweeted. "Turns out we were actually thinking of a timeline in the future with Will Smith." We think he could be on to something here.

Twitter goes on the Shaq attack

It's possible that one of the reasons people believe they remember a Sinbad movie named Shazaam is because of the similarly titled Kazaam, according to Snopes. For those of you lucky enough to have avoided 1996's Kazaam all these years, it stars basketball ace turned actor Shaquille O'Neal as a rapping genie who appears from a magic boombox to grant a boy named Max three wishes. If that sounds ridiculous, that's because it is.

Kazaam has a rather telling 6 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, whose critics bemoaned the fact that "Shaq's larger-than-life charisma is stifled by rote filmmaking and an unimaginative story." The movie has actually been called out for ripping off numerous plot points from Disney's 1992 animated Aladdin, but for many, O'Neal's flop has become a cult classic — Erik Lonnquist included. "I'm sorry, Will Smith, but you can never replace the world's greatest live-action movie genie," the Esports caster tweeted. "It's a lost cause."

That hairdo may finish him

Marlow Stern, Senior Entertainment Editor at the Daily Beast, was one of a number of journalists who tweeted about the first official images of Will Smith in his Genie costume, but instead of questioning his casting or the fact that he wasn't blue, Stern just made an astute observation. "Will Smith's Genie in Aladdin got the Goro hairdo from Mortal Kombat," he tweeted, and he's not wrong.

As it turns out, Smith's Genie isn't the first to take inspiration from Goro, the four-armed Shokan warrior notorious for his brutality. Filmmaker Gabriel Barreto was quick to point out that pop star Ariana Grande has also been rocking the Goro look. "One taught me love, one taught me patience, one taught me pain," Barreto said, tweeting an image of Goro, Grande, and Smith side by side for comparison. We'll let you decide who wore it better.

In West Philadelphia, born and raised...

If there was one man you could guarantee was going to jump in on the Will Smith Genie debate, it's Dave Itzkoff, a culture reporter at The New York Times. When he's not writing about movies, he works on books, and his most recent release was entitled Robin, a biography of Robin Williams. Itzkoff is "an unabashed fan" of the late comic, so it was a foregone conclusion he'd have something to say about Smith's updated version of the Genie.

Instead of tearing into the first images of Smith in character, Itzkoff offered a simple (albeit insane) solution. "It's not too late to salvage this" he captioned a picture of Smith's Genie, but in place of that perfectly pruned beard is Gritty, the totally creepy mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers. As we all know, the Fresh Prince was born and raised in West Philadelphia, but somehow we can't see Disney going for this late addition to his Genie costume.

Hedge your bets, folks!

If you're British and you're a gamer, then you've probably come across the name Chris Scullion before. The veteran video games journalist plied his trade in the Official Nintendo Magazine at one stage and has also written for CVG, the longest-running British gaming publication in history. Sadly, both mags no longer exist, but Scullion still shares his expert opinions via his own website, Tired Old Hack. He's also active on Twitter, where he joined the debate over Smith's new Genie costume by offering an unusual alternative.

"I see a lot of people are unhappy that Will Smith's Genie character isn't blue in that EW Aladdin cover," Scullion tweeted. "Don't worry, yer man Scullion's found a way to kill two birds with one stone." The self-proclaimed hack came up with a solution only someone who grew up obsessing over video games in the '90s could conjure — Will Smith's Genie's head on Sonic the Hedgehog's body.

Jada: We need to talk

Saeed Jones is the co-host of the BuzzFeed show AM2DM and the author of Prelude to Bruise, a collection of poems that won the 2015 Stonewall Book Award. "In his debut collection, Jones has crafted a fever dream, something akin to magic," Publishers Weekly said in its review (via Coffee House Press). That sounds lovely, but when Jones chimed in on the Genie debate, there was nothing particularly poetic about his comment, though he did raise a good point.

"What could Will Smith possibly have done to deserve this?" Jones tweeted. "Jada is gonna have to do a whole episode of Read Table Talk about this hair piece." What Jones meant to say was Red Table Talk, which is the name of Jada Pinkett Smith's Facebook Watch series. Will's wife has been dishing some pretty juicy gossip in recent episodes, even opening up about her relationship with former NBA star Grant Hill back in the '90s. Who knows, maybe we'll get to hear Jada's opinion on her hubby's new costume.

Doh! Smith is trending for the wrong reasons

Kyle Cardine is a producer on AM2DM, the BuzzFeed show co-hosted by Saeed Jones. Like Jones, Cardine couldn't help but chime in after the first official images of Will Smith as the Genie dropped, but instead of taking a shot at the actor he decided to poke fun at the internet's reaction to those images. "Twitter this morning," he said, tweeting a new version of a popular Homer Simpson meme used to convey cluelessness about a big event online. In this instance, the heads of all the people around Homer in the bar have been replaced by that of Smith's Genie.

This was the second time Smith had been made the subject of online ridicule in as many weeks. Beneath Cardine's tweet, his followers were quick to bring up the disaster that was YouTube Rewind 2018, in which Smith played a prominent part in. The actor's involvement caused quite the stir within the YouTube community, whose members were quick to upload videos mocking the A-lister.

Big Willy responds

When Smith shared the Entertainment Weekly cover with his Instagram followers, he must have been aware of the backlash that was building over on Twitter. In an attempt to steady the ship, the actor reassured fans that his Genie will indeed be blue, for the most part. "Check me rockin' the top knot ponytail vibes," he captioned the photo. "And yes, I'm gonna be BLUE! This is how the Genie is in human/disguise form. My character will be CGI most of the movie." However, when the EW images dropped, plenty of people were unaware that this was the Genie disguised as a human, and one disgruntled Disney fan took it upon himself to make the Genie blue himself.

Photoshop wizard and popular fan artist BossLogic made the necessary adjustments to the photo before sharing it on Instagram, where noticed it. The publication described the blue Smith Genie (complete with inky black eyes and pointy ears) as "mildly terrifying," and that pretty much hits the nail on the head. Let's hope the final version isn't as nightmarish as this.

You know it's bad when Star Wars is in the mix

Erik Kain is a video game and TV writer currently plying his trade at Forbes. After seeing the first official images from the upcoming live-action Aladdin, Kain said that doing "Aladdin without Robin Williams is a bit like Solo without Harrison Ford." He wrote this in a tweet, but it was also the headline of an opinion piece he penned for Forbes. In it, he argues that Disney really had no choice but to take a totally different angle with the Genie character because the brilliance of Robin Williams' performance couldn't possibly be replicated.

"There wasn't such a wide gulf between animated Belle and live-action Emma Watson," Kain said, referencing Disney's 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. "They're different but they're not entirely different. Of course, that's the whole point in casting Will Smith instead of someone more Williams-like, if there is such a person. He's different enough that we can accept him as a new Genie altogether."

We wished for sarcasm, and we got it

Actor Joshua Malina is the man who ruined The West Wing. (Those are his words, not ours.) In his Twitter bio, Malina jokes about the fact that some people seem to hold him responsible for the downfall of the powerhouse political drama. His character, Will Bailey, was introduced in Season 4, just as fan favorite Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) was on his way out. Malina is able to laugh at the notion that he ruined the show, and he seemingly thinks Will Smith is destined for a similar fate with Aladdin.

After seeing the first official images of Smith in costume as the Genie, Malina sent out a tweet implying that his involvement will ruin the movie. "I saw 'Will Smith' trending and my heart dropped!" Malina said. "For a second I thought he was going to play Genie in a live-action version of Aladdin." Other Twitter users came to Smith's defense, pointing out that people also thought Heath Ledger would ruin the Joker before he turned in an Oscar-winning performance in 2008's The Dark Knight.

Die-hard fans are sticking up for the Fresh Genie

Sean O'Donnell describes himself as an actor, musician, and photographer in his Twitter bio, but he left out one important role: He may be Will Smith's chief defender. O'Donnell (who has more than 65,000 subscribers on YouTube, where he's best known for his collaborations with Jordan Doww) didn't approve of the way Smith and his rather unusual Genie get-up were being mocked on Twitter, so he jumped to the actor's defense. Speaking to his Twitter followers, O'Donnell urged people to stop moaning about the controversial Genie costume and just get behind Big Willy.

"Everyone ripping apart what Genie looks like in the live action Aladdin but I'll trust Will Smith till the day I die so I'll rock with it," he tweeted. Smith's career has been on a downward slide for a number of years (Digital Spy renamed him the not-so-fresh prince in 2017), but we're with O'Donnell on this one — let's wait and see what the full CGI Genie looks like before we go writing off the movie.