Iago (Disney)

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Iago
Disney's Aladdin character
Iago-Aladdin.jpg
Iago during one of his angrier moments
First appearanceAladdin (1992)
Created byWill Finn
John Musker
Ron Clements
Howard Ashman
Voiced byGilbert Gottfried (1992 film, The Return of Jafar, animated series, Aladdin and the King of Thieves)[1]
Alan Tudyk (2019 film)
SpeciesParrot

Iago is a fictional supporting character who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 31st animated feature film Aladdin (1992), the direct-to-video sequels The Return of Jafar (1994), Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), and the television series. He is voiced by American comedian Gilbert Gottfried in animation and by Disney voice actor Alan Tudyk in the live action adaptation of Aladdin. Iago first appeared in the first film as a minion to the main villain Jafar, and later becomes one of the protagonists for part of the franchise's run, particularly the two direct-to-video sequels and television adaptation. The red-plumed talking scarlet macaw is an homage to the villain of William Shakespeare's Othello.

Development[edit]

Iago's original voice actor, Gilbert Gottfried

Voice acting[edit]

Iago had been originally conceived as a "British" calm and serious straight man working off Jafar, who was originally conceived as more over-the-top, comedic, and irritable, but the filmmakers later reversed their personalities in large part in order to make Jafar more threatening and when they saw Gilbert Gottfried in Beverly Hills Cop II and Gottfried was cast to provide Iago's voice.[2] Iago's animator Will Finn tried to incorporate some aspects of Gottfried's appearance into Iago's design, especially his semi-closed eyes and the always-appearing teeth.[3]

Gilbert Gottfried has said that his voiceover career really began after voicing the character in the 1992 film. “... that has been one of those things that lives on,” he said. “That seemed to open the door for other voiceover jobs.” [1] [4]

Gottfried's unique onstage persona led to him being cast as the wise-cracking Iago.[5] Gottfried is often referred to as "the Iago guy" and similar terms, being more known by his voice role than by name.[6][7]

Personality traits[edit]

Iago resembles a scarlet macaw, though smaller in size and with shorter feathers while retaining the blue tipped wing feathers, blue tail, and white around the eyes. He can speak fluent English and has the ability to perfectly mimic other characters' voices.[8] He also possesses knowledge of various tricks learned from Jafar. He is easily frustrated and openly vocalizes his frustrations, and avoids direct confrontations if he can help it, but when required, he can be quite cunning and mischievous.

Iago is also known for his notorious greed of treasure and gold, for which he will go to outlandish lengths to acquire, usually dragging along Abu to help him, but Abu's incompetence always costs him. Iago is often put in situations of deciding between saving his own tailfeathers or doing the right thing. His guilt always leads him to do the latter, usually costing him some form of reward or riches, for which he always berates himself afterwards.

His name is a reference to Shakespeare's play Othello. In the play, the main character Othello has an ensign named Iago he believes to be trustworthy, though all Shakespeare's Iago cares about is getting himself ahead and his own wants; he ends up creating a devious scheme to find a way to get what he wants and ends up surprising Othello when he betrays him (which is not too far fetched from the conflict in Aladdin).

Appearances[edit]

Aladdin[edit]

According to a piece of conversation in The Return of Jafar, Jafar had picked up Iago in Agrabah's bazaar and reared him as his accomplice in crime. In the first movie he resents living under the Sultan and Jasmine as much as his owner Jafar does, though he contrasts Jafar's dark brooding with angry, sarcastic ranting. Iago often says how he hates crackers which the Sultan always force-feeds him. The Sultan seems to not know until the end of the first movie that Iago can fully comprehend and converse in human speech and is evil. In the end, Iago is dragged into Jafar's lamp with him at the end of the movie and is banished to the Cave of Wonders.

The Return of Jafar[edit]

Having escaped from the lamp, Iago is fed up with being pushed around by Jafar and leaves the latter. Iago appears to have the most character development in the film, as he slowly warms to the idea of friendship after Aladdin saves him from the Sultan's wrath in return for Iago unintentionally saving him from Abis Mal, and finally risks his life to kill Jafar by pushing his lamp into molten lava. Following his heroic deed, he is adopted by Aladdin as his second pet. In the film, Iago performed the songs "I'm Looking Out for Me" and "Just Forget About Love", with Aladdin and Jasmine (the latter a piece of reverse psychology to encourage Jasmine to forgive Aladdin for keeping Iago's return secret).[9]

Aladdin TV series[edit]

In the series he provides a sarcastic, realistic, or cowardly perspective on events and is only really willing to face danger if great reward is promised. However, he is sometimes forced to battle his conscience, and generally does the right thing even when he doesn't have to or could just as easily leave the city (alone) altogether; when Sadira used a memory sand that somehow caused her and Jasmine to switch lives, Iago, Abu and Rajah were the only ones unaffected, with Iago leading the other two animals in finding Jasmine to restore the world to normal. Iago's common schemes involve trying to sell anything with any value (real or not), trying to steal things, and trying to treasure-hunt; he can usually convince Abu to be his partner in crime, but Abu is more likely to leave at the first sign of danger and often lacks the finesse that Iago requires. He and the rain-bird Thundra had feelings for one another, although Iago was hesitant at first, admitting his manipulative personality made appealing to others difficult; Aladdin has occasionally exploited this fact, since antagonists are more willing to accept Iago as being more ruthless and amoral than he actually is, though Iago was initially a villain in the first place anyways. Due to his time with Jafar, Iago possesses extensive knowledge of various forms of magic, not only proving useful as Genie's otherwise superior knowledge is ten thousand years out of date (it's Iago who recognized the Kingdom of the Black Sand and its former ruler Destane in "The Citadel"), but also giving him Genie's ability to commonly reference modern things for humor, albeit without a logical excuse (in one episode he mentions that he has a brother named Othello, a reference to the play where his name may have come from). As a comic relief sidekick Iago is always good for a laugh-an in-joke in one episode of the TV animated series has Iago running in panic after his face is turned into that of Gilbert Gottfried.[10] Iago and Genie have a close friendship: one episode had Genie give Iago his powers just for one day (though this backfired when Iago tried to bring water to the desert), and Iago is the only one who knows that Genie once used his own magic to make himself an ice cream sundae as big as a pyramid (something that Genie dares not let the Genie Guild know about).

Aladdin and the King of Thieves[edit]

He has a supporting role in Aladdin and the King of Thieves, where he helps out with Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding, as well as aiding Aladdin to find his estranged father Cassim, who happens to be the King of the Forty Thieves. Acting on behalf for Aladdin, Iago convinces Cassim to attend the wedding, promising that he will help him get the Hand of Midas. In the end, although the Sultan pardoned him from life imprisonment for his complicity with the King of Thieves, Iago chooses to depart Agrabah with Cassim instead of staying with Aladdin and Jasmine on the grounds that he could not handle the "lovey-dovey" stuff, though he briefly breaks down in tears while telling Cassim, implying he will miss them dearly. He also points out that Cassim's sense of thievery is more in line with his as well. However, Iago does promise to visit the couple frequently. He is last seen with Cassim waving farewell to the newly-wed Aladdin and Jasmine as they ride off to the night.

Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams[edit]

With his travels with Cassim at the end, Iago has returned to Agrabah and appears as a supporting character in the straight-to-DVD movie Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams[11], and he performs a musical number called "Peacock Princess" with Princess Jasmine in her princess duties.

Kingdom Hearts[edit]

In the video game Kingdom Hearts, he is initially Jafar's sidekick, but then later is used by the player to assist in defeating Jafar. His Japanese voice actor in Kingdom Hearts is Akira Kamiya, and his voice actor in Kingdom Hearts II is Tōru Ōkawa. Gilbert Gottfried reprises his role in the English versions of both games.

In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories he makes a brief cameo appearance during the Boss battle against Jafar's genie form. During the battle, attacking Jafar has no effect. Rather, the lamp must be hit which is held up high by Iago, à la The Return Of Jafar. It can therefore be assumed that Iago is on the side of the good guys again.

In Kingdom Hearts II, like in The Return of Jafar, Iago leaves Jafar and returns to Agrabah in a slump after failing to make amends to Aladdin and Jasmine. When he unintentionally assisted Sora in the task of beating the Heartless and retrieving Jafar's lamp, he manages to gain everyone's trust. But that trust is soon shattered when Iago is forced to help Jafar yet again in keeping Sora and the others occupied at the ruins. Despite losing faith, Iago redeems himself by intentionally getting shot by a spell that Jafar intended to shoot at Aladdin. After Jafar's defeat, Iago reveals he wants to help Aladdin out, but can't do as much as Genie and the others. However, Sora tells Iago that friendship is about enjoying each other's company and having fun.

Aladdin (2019)[edit]

Iago appears in the 2019 live-action Aladdin, voiced by Alan Tudyk.[12] It marks the first time Iago is voiced by someone other than Gilbert Gottfried as on December 20, 2018, Gottfried said he was not asked to reprise the role. While he still shows signs of sentience and a cynical sense of humor, he is notably less anthropomorphic than his animated counterpart as the film wanted to make Iago more realistic. He first appears during the song "Arabian Nights", where Rajah slashes him with his claws for spying on Jasmine, then he flies to the Cave of Wonders to be with Jafar. He later appears in Jafar's lair in the castle dungeon. After he talks to the Sultan, Iago mimics Jafar saying "remember your place", after which Jafar threatens the bird if he says it again. He's also seen during "Prince Ali" just sitting on Jafar's shoulder as opposed to dancing in the original movie. He's later turned into a giant in order to retrieve the lamp from Aladdin, Jasmine and Abu. He succeeds and is transformed back to a normal parrot. He is last seen being dragged inside Jafar's new lamp by him.

Other appearances[edit]

Like most characters from Disney's animated films, Iago made recurring appearances on Disney's House of Mouse, he also sings "A Parrot's Life For Me" at the House of Mouse where the movies' continuity did not seem to matter, and Iago was depicted as either Jafar's sidekick or exhibiting his protagonist behavior.

At Walt Disney World, along with Zazu from The Lion King, he was introduced as one of the hosts of The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) in 1998. Following a small fire in 2011, the two were removed as the attraction reverted to its earlier format as Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. Reports had described the 1998 format as "unpopular" and Iago as "annoying".[13][14]

Iago also appears in the stage adaptation of the film. However, unlike his film counterpart, he is portrayed as a human, working as a personal assistant to Jafar.[15]

Iago appears in season six of Once Upon a Time: however, this version is a non-anthropomorphic red cockatiel as opposed to a macaw.

Reception[edit]

In reviews for The Return of Jafar Iago was often described as being the real star of the film: "The plot thickens when Aladdin becomes indebted to Jafar's former partner, Iago (a wisecracking parrot), for saving his life. Struggling with issues of honesty and loyalty, Iago becomes the film's focus as he grapples between standing by Aladdin or succumbing to Jafar's evil pressures."[16]

In popular culture[edit]

Iago's ability of mimicking voices (e.g., Aladdin) was referenced during a sketch entitled the "Real Housewives of Disney" in an episode of Saturday Night Live.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kelly-Ann Franklin (July 13, 2011). "Comedian who voiced Aflac duck coming to Mohegan Sun". The Bulletin. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  2. ^ John Musker, Ron Clements (2004). Aladdin: Platinum Edition (Disc 2) (DVD). Walt Disney Home Video.
  3. ^ Pop Up Fun Facts. [DVD]. Aladdin Platinum Edition Disc 1: Walt Disney Home Video. 2004.
  4. ^ "About Gilbert". GilbertGottfried.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  5. ^ Burger, David (August 5, 2011). "Interview with Gilbert Gottfried, performing in Utah this weekend". The Salt Lake Tribute. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  6. ^ "What to read, what art to see and what concerts to go to this week". Las Vegas Weekly. August 3, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Man Behind Iago Enjoying a Grate Career". Philadelphia Daily News. June 30, 1994. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  8. ^ TOP PICKS: Animated sidekicks Archived 2010-06-26 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Aladdin 2: The Return Of Jafar / Aladdin 3: Aladdin And The King Of Thieves (2-Pack) - DVD review (1 of 2)". Dvdtown.com. 2005-01-18. Archived from the original on 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  10. ^ Aladdin - Episode 53 - When Chaos Comes Calling approx. 4 mins in.
  11. ^ "DVD Review: Disney Princess Enchanted Tales - Follow Your Dreams". The Trades. 2007-09-04. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  12. ^ Parker, Ryan (March 12, 2019). "'Aladdin': Alan Tudyk to Voice Iago (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  13. ^ Levine, Arthur (July 28, 2011). "Disney World Show is for the Birds". About.com. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  14. ^ TBO.com Staff (July 3, 2011). "Theme parks adding rides". The Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  15. ^ Marks, Peter (March 20, 2014). ""Aladdin" opens on Broadway". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  16. ^ Sinclair, Dawn (May 20, 1994). "Disney's 'Return of Jafar' a Nimble Follow-Up to 'Aladdin'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  17. ^ Friar, Christine (March 4, 2012). "The Real Housewives Of Disney: 'SNL' Pitches A New Bravo Series (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 25, 2012.