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Writer, reviewer, creator of Filly Fantasy VI, occasional PMV maker, and uploader of mildly amusing image macros to Derpibooru. https://www.patreon.com/drakeyc

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"Jafar" movie idea · 3:18pm Jul 20th, 2022

Pondering how a "Jafar" live-action prequel could go without ruining the character. Here's what I came up with.

Jafar is a young man working in Agrabah to support his sickly father Khalid and the two live in squalor. He works two jobs, a market stall as an assistant and at a paper mill. He's been working the latter since he was a child and used his position to teach himself how to read and write, and he gets his hands on books when he can to keep studying. He's contemptuous of the customers who look down on him and try to haggle with him because he knows he's smarter than most of them but is stuck in the streets, and he's particularly hateful of thieves for obvious reasons.

The royal vizier Yaqub is bringing his procession through the market when a thief robs one of his guards, Razoul, of a pendant, and Jafar stops him from getting away; Razoul invites Jafar to dine in his home that night as thanks. Jafar recognizes the sigil on the pendant and over dinner questions Razoul about it. Razoul explains that it was a symbol of the old dynasty before the current sultan came to power, and although their family has been disgraced and eradicated, he still discretely wears the pendant since he was friends with the old sultan.

Jafar goes home and realizes where he knows the sigil from, and finds it woven into a few old tapestries in his family home, and eventually finds an identical pendant hidden away. Khalid admits that they were a noble family under the old sultan, who was overthrown in a coup. Since Khalid supported the old sultan and refused to bow to the new one, he was to be executed, but a friend begged for his life and he was spared, but stripped of his family name and ownings. Jafar is furious his father kept this from him, but Khalid tells him to let the past be past and be happy with the life he has now. Jafar rages at the idea and vows to take back what was taken.

Jafar learns that the friend in the nobility who got his father spared was Yaqub, who supported the coup. Using his budding friendship with Razoul, Jafar manages to meet with Yaqub and discretely reveals his identity to him. Yaqub explains he truly was a friend of Khalid and only supported the coup because otherwise he would have shared Khalid's fate, and he's genuinely sorry for what happened to their family. As a way to make amends, Yaqub offers Jafar a position as a scribe keeping records in the palace, which he accepts.

Jafar begins working alongside Yaqub and proves himself highly intelligent, charismatic, and capable. He keeps in touch with the people he knew in his old life and discretely passes along information to Razoul to bring in thieves and criminals. In private Yaqub admits he's worried some loyalists of the old sultan are plotting to assassinate the new one, and Jafar pledges his fealty. Yaqub trusts him and makes him his personal aide. Jafar tells Khalid about his new life and leaves home, implicitly abandoning his father to die without anyone to care for him, and takes the old sultanate pendant too.

Jafar's connections to the old nobility cause him to be contacted by a couple of lower nobles planning the assassination, and he agrees to help. But the night of the assassination he betrays them and they are arrested and executed by the guards. The sultan praises Jafar for his role in stopping them, but Jafar fingers Yaqub as the mastermind of the plot and claims he found the pendant of the old sultan in his belongings as proof of his disloyalty. Razoul backs him up, as he considers Yaqub a coward and a traitor and thinks he's not fit to be vizier. Yaqub is arrested, and the sultan appoints Jafar as his new vizier and grants him all of Yaqub's titles and holdings.

The film ends with Jafar watching Yaqub's execution with Razoul and the sultan. Razoul muses on how Jafar has now reclaimed all that was taken from his family, and Jafar ominously murmurs that he could still have more, and eyes the sultan.

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Comments ( 7 )

No Iago yet? If we are including DTV-canon in this (and really, we have every right to just ignore it), I’m guessing Jafar’s purchase of him at a bazaar hasn’t happened yet. Still, it’s a choice to not have the parrot present yet; I think it’d be more believable they were as thick as thieves if Jafar had risen up to the position of Grand Vizier with Iago at his side. If he just acquired him somewhere between then and his search for the Genie’s lamp, I don’t think they’d have nearly the same relationship they do.

…Too much? Hey, Aladdin’s my favourite Disney film, what can I say.

As for this? It’s a fine bit of theorycrafting, and builds his personality in a believable way. Hard to judge it beyond that, because tonally, it’s so far removed from the film’s manic wacky energy, being more of a starch drama, that my brain can’t process the two together, and thus can’t easily pick apart the seams between the two (even the limited appearances of the current Sultan here, it’s hard to visualize him as the same roly-poly jolly old man from the film, you know?).

It did occur to me after that I left out Iago. But I think that's okay. On the one hand, as you say it clashes with this film's different tone from the animated film to have a talking, snarky parrot.

But also, I think one of the issues with the live-action Disney villain prequels is that they try too hard to tie it into the original animated films by explaining every minor thing. We have to make sure the villain knew the heroes, know how the villain got all their signature traits and possessions, etc. I'm not sure Jafar's age in the animated film, but I'm sure he's probably in his 30s if not more. So as I picture this Jafar, in his early-to-mid 20s, there's plenty of time for a decade to pass between films for Jafar to still grow fully into his animated self while this film still making it clear he's going to end up there, and the sultan can grow older and his young daughter and become a teenager.

Plus, a time gap like that allows room for a sequel where Jafar finds out about the lamp, and maybe he gets Iago in that film.

As you say, I think most importantly, this expands Jafar's character in a believable way. As I picture it, maybe Yaqub is a bit cowardly and opportunistic, but he is definitely not the villain of the film and Jafar's betrayal of him is a horrible thing to do after Yaqub did so much for him.

Only thing missing here is Jafar finding out about the lamp.

After-credits scene shows him going through Yaqub's books and scrolls, and one falls on the ground in view of the camera and unfurls to show a sketch of the lamp.

Author Interviewer

That's honestly not too bad! :O Casting ideas?

No whatsoever, I don't follow actors and actresses.


I'm already hearing the faint Arabian Nights music play at that.

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