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Jafar as he appears alongside Iago in Disney's Aladdin.
|First appearance||Aladdin (1992)|
|Created by||Andreas Deja|
|Portrayed by||Jonathan Freeman (Broadway adaptation)|
Maz Jobrani (Descendants)
Marwan Kenzari (2019 film)
|Voiced by||Jonathan Freeman|
|Species||Human (Majority in the original 1992 film and the 2019 remake) |
Jinn (For the rest of 1992 film and the 2019 remake, and future installments)
|Children||Jay (son; in Descendants)|
Jafar is a fictional character who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 31st animated feature film Aladdin (1992). He is voiced by American actor Jonathan Freeman, who also portrayed the character in the Broadway musical adaptation. An inspiration to the character is the villain Jafar, played by Conrad Veidt in The Thief of Bagdad, from which Aladdin borrows several character ideas and plot elements. The Jafar of Disney's Aladdin plays essentially the same part as the character from the 1940 movie, and is drawn with notable similarity to Conrad Veidt's looks.
Animator Andreas Deja decided to design Jafar in a way he was contrasting to the other characters, with many vertical lines against the curvy designs based on Al Hirschfeld. Jonathan Freeman, who composers Alan Menken and Howard Ashman met when he auditioned for Little Shop of Horrors and had previously invited Freeman to audition for both The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, said that the artwork was what got him truly interested in the role, declaring that "once I saw those heavy lidded eyes, that long narrow face, I knew that Jafar was going to be something really special". He was the first actor cast, and spent one year and nine months recording dialogue, for months without any other actors to interact, and later interrupting theater tours to fly to Los Angeles and record newly written lines. When Deja first met Freeman, he was surprised to see the lack of physical similarity to the character, but included some of Freeman's acting and gesturing into Jafar's animation.
In Aladdin, Jafar is the Grand Vizier of Agrabah, the Sultan's most trusted advisor. He is also an evil sorcerer. Jafar secretly plots to obtain the Genie's magical oil lamp and rule Agrabah. Early in the film, Aladdin is imprisoned in the palace dungeons, as arranged by Jafar using his influence over the guards. He lies to Princess Jasmine that Aladdin has already been executed while pretending to be shocked that he had mistakenly believed that Aladdin abducted her. Jafar (disguised as a fellow prisoner) approaches him, striking a deal with Aladdin. In exchange for Aladdin's help in retrieving the lamp from the Cave of Wonders, Jafar reveals an escape route from the prison and promises him a reward if he succeeds, who soon reveals that the reward is death. When the plan fails, Aladdin and the lamp are lost. The Sultan later scolds Jafar for supposedly executing an innocent life behind his back without consulting him, in which Jafar pretends to regret his actions and promises not to do it again. When Iago suggests an alternative plan, Jafar next decides to, using the hypnotic powers of his cobra-headed staff, manipulate the Sultan into mandating a marriage between himself and Jasmine. This plan also instigates Jafar's lust towards Jasmine and thus he genuinely wants to have her as his bride. However, he is impeded by Aladdin, who had discovered the Genie and used his first wish to become a prince. Seeing “Prince Ali” as a potential threat to his plans and a rival for Jasmines’s hand in marriage, he plots to dispose of him. After a second attempt by Jafar on his life, Aladdin (with the help of the Genie as his second wish) survives and then exposes Jafar's plot against the Sultan, but Jafar learns that Aladdin possesses the lamp before making his escape.
Iago steals the lamp from Aladdin and Jafar becomes the Genie's new master. Jafar uses his first two wishes to become Sultan and the world's most powerful sorcerer. Jafar assumes control of the palace (which is lifted off the ground and put on the main top of a mountain by Genie) and banishes Aladdin to a frozen wasteland. Jafar then turns the Sultan into a puppet, allowing Iago to torture the Sultan by force-feeding him crackers as revenge for the crackers the Sultan fed Iago. A horrified Jasmine begs Jafar to stop and Jafar does so. Jafar, seeking a queen to rule Agrabah alongside him, offers Jasmine his hand in marriage. Jasmine angrily refuses and throws a cup of wine in his face. An angered Jafar decides to use his final wish to wish for Jasmine to fall desperately in love with him. Genie tries to inform Jafar that he cannot use his magic to make people fall in love, but Jafar, grabbing him by the beard, demands him to do it anyway. Their argument causes him to not notice that Aladdin has returned and Jasmine decides to help Aladdin steal back the lamp by pretending that she is now in love with Jafar. Jafar, believing that Genie has somehow granted him his wish, goes up to Jasmine to seduce her without realizing she is tricking him. He notices Aladdin, however, from the reflection of Jasmine's crown, and he realizes the whole thing was a ruse.
Aladdin battles Jafar (who has turned into a giant cobra) and taunts him with the fact that he is only the second-most powerful being on Earth after Genie, who was the one who gave him his power in the first place and can very easily take it away. Realizing that what Aladdin says is true and that he’s still “second best”, Jafar, consumed by his hunger for power, uses his final wish to become an all-powerful genie, in an attempt to rule the whole universe. However, as Jafar revels in his newfound phenomenal cosmic power, he finds out too late that Aladdin has tricked him into wasting his wish on becoming a genie, since genies are not free beings, and becomes trapped in a magic lamp of his own, and the lamp is sent into the Cave of Wonders by the Genie.
The Return of Jafar
In The Return of Jafar, Jafar's lamp is found by Abis Mal, who releases Jafar from the lamp. Jafar plots to get revenge on Aladdin. He nearly succeeds at killing Aladdin and taking control of the palace, but Iago, who has changed sides, thwarts his plans and destroys his lamp, killing him. Jafar did not appear in Aladdin and the King of Thieves or in the television series, but was often referred to by name by characters.
Hercules (1998 TV series)
In an episode of Hercules: The Animated Series called "Hercules and the Arabian Night", Jafar makes another attempt at revenge and is temporarily resurrected by Hercules's arch-enemy, Hades. He has lost his status as an all-powerful immortal genie after dying, but Hades gives him a new cobra staff that makes him flesh and blood as long as he holds it, and the two villains team up to get rid of Aladdin and Hercules. However, due to Aladdin's wit and Hercules's strength, Jafar is defeated for the final time, being pulled into the River Styx forever.
Aladdin (2019 film)
In the 2019 live-action version, Jafar is still the grand vizer, but more emphasis is placed on his past and his future ambitions. In addition, he is featured as younger than his 1992 animated counterpart. During the film, he is presented as more of a foil to Aladdin than previous interpretations, Jafar explicitly comparing himself to Aladdin at one point as they were both former thieves who seek to move past their backgrounds. However, where Aladdin just wants enough to live comfortably, Jafar is shown to be consumed by his obsession with power, to the point that he wishes to become the Sultan of Agrabah and lead the city on a campaign on a military conquest to invade Sherebad as opposed to the Sultan and Jasmine's desire for peace and prosperity between the two kingdoms. Aladdin used this desire against him in the final confrontation, provoking Jafar into making his final wish to become a genie himself by pointing out that Genie would still be more powerful than Jafar. The film concludes with Jafar trapped in his new lamp, taking Iago with him, and banished to the Cave of Wonders by the Genie.
Jafar debuted in Kingdom Hearts as one of the members of Maleficent's inner circle. Here, he plans to use The Heartless and take over Agrabah while attempting to locate both Jasmine (as she is one of the Princesses of Heart) and Agrabah's Keyhole. Jafar eventually manages to steal Genie's lamp from Aladdin and kidnap Jasmine in the process. Sora, Aladdin, Donald Duck and Goofy track him to the Cave of Wonders, where Jafar used his first wish to reveal the world's keyhole. Upon arrival in the lamp chamber, they engage Jafar in battle after he used his second wish to enlist Genie's help in the fight. Upon his defeat, Jafar uses his final wish to become a Genie and battles the team again, only to be defeated and sealed away in the lamp.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Jafar's lamp is found by the Peddler, making him a target for Pete as he reveals his intent to make Jafar into a Heartless under his control. Once Pete is driven off, the lamp is placed within the palace for safe keeping. However, Jafar is later released by the Peddler and he threatens Iago into helping him get Sora and his friends on a wild goose chase to their death while he captures Princess Jasmine. But after the heroes arrive, with Iago taking a hit meant for Aladdin, Sora defeats Jafar, causing him to implode with his lamp dissolving soon after. Facsimiles of Jafar appear in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, based on Sora's memories, and Kingdom Hearts: Coded, based on the digitized data from Jiminy's Journal.
In the Disney's Hollywood Studios version of Fantasmic! Nighttime Show Spectacular, Jafar is one of the villains the Evil Queen evokes to fight Mickey Mouse and ruin his imagination. Jafar appears with Maleficent, Ursula and Oogie Boogie in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Halloween-themed fireworks program HalloWishes at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Jafar is featured in many episodes of Disney's House of Mouse where he is often found in the audience. In one episode named "Donald's Lamp Trade", Jafar hypnotizes Donald Duck to steal a lamp for him, but it turns out that he only wanted a clock-like lamp and not the real magical one. Jafar also appears in another episode named "Pete's House of Villains" in which he keeps the other Aladdin characters from coming into House of Mouse. He also appears briefly in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse and appears in Mickey's House of Villains as the leader of Disney Villains.
A live-action version of Jafar appears in the Once Upon a Time spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Naveen Andrews portrays the character, an ally of the Red Queen. In this continuity, Jafar is the illegitimate son of the Sultan, and his interest in genies stems from his mentor and lover, Amara, who discovered a ritual that could be used to rewrite the laws of magic using the power of three genies and two sorcerers. Jafar betrayed Amara by transforming her into his serpent staff so that he could have her power for himself. Andrews did not reprise his role in Once Upon a Time's sixth season due to a scheduling conflict, and he was replaced by Oded Fehr.
- "The Thief of Bagdad (1940)". FosterOnFilm.com. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
- Roberge, Chris (November 20, 1992). "Aladdin animator used subtlety to design strong villain". The Tech. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
- Hill, Jim (June 13, 2011). "Jonathan Freeman returns as Jafar in new stage musical version of Disney's "Aladdin"". Jim Hill Media. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
- Scott Weinger (Actor), Robin Williams (Actor), John Musker (Director), Ron Clements (Director) (October 5, 2004). "Disc 2: Diamond in the Rough: The Making of Aladdin". Aladdin Platinum Edition. Burbank, California: Walt Disney Video.
- Webb, Matt (2016-07-23). "'Once Upon a Time' Casts Aladdin and Jafar for Season 6 — Oded Fehr as Jafar". TVLine. Retrieved 2019-08-14.