Disney Myths Debunked by Ron Clements and John Musker, Directors of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Hercules

Is one of the movies related to Frozen?

By Zach Johnson Oct 15, 2015 12:00 PMTags
Aladdin, DisneyDisney

It doesn't take a Disney Legend to debunk an urban legend about a Disney film.

To celebrate the release of the Aladdin: Diamond Edition on digital, Disney Movies Anywhere and Blu-Ray, directors Ron Clements and John Musker have addressed rumors regarding the Arabian adventure, as well as those involving their other films, The Little Mermaid and Hercules. For example, some have suggested that Aladdin is set in a post-apocalyptic future, which made Musker laugh. "Far into the future?" he asked E! News. "I haven't even heard that one."

According to Musker, composers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's original version had been set in Baghdad, Iraq. "We kept it Baghdad in our first treatment, and then the Gulf War happened—the first Gulf War. Roy Disney said, 'This can't be in Baghdad.' So, I took letters and did a jumbled anagram and came up with Agrabah," he explained. "We came up with a few alternates. But no, we never thought it was post-apocalyptic, futuristic or in some other time."

Clements, however, did confirm one longstanding rumor. "I saw something that speculates that the peddler at the beginning of Aladdin is the Genie. That's true!" he said. "That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie, and of course Robin did the voice of the peddler. Just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end. So, that's an urban legend that actually is true."

Scott Weinger, who voiced the titular character, wanted to clear up another misnomer. "I feel bad because people are so excited to figure it out, but it's not true: the thing about Aladdin saying, 'Take off your clothes.' There are websites dedicated to it. Like, 'If you play it in slow motion at this frame rate, you can tell that he's definitely saying that.' The truth is that I never said it. I never said it! I feel bad being a myth buster, although it's probably a good one to bust," he admitted. "Let me tell you, being in the recording studio with Robin Williams, wanting to do a good job and not blow it, there's no way I would have made some dirty joke."

Another popular theory is that in 1997's Hercules, when the titular hero sang "Go the Distance," he climbed onto the branch of a tree and saw a shooting star in the sky. Because it was purple, some thought the star was actually Aladdin and Princess Jasmine flying on the magic carpet while singing "A Whole New World." Unlike other urban legends, the same team directed Aladdin and Hercules, making it seem slightly more possible. However, Clements told E! News, "Pegasus is sort of watching over Hercules until he joins with him. The shooting star, we were thinking, is Pegasus. Though no one, I guess, can ever know for sure..."

As for rumors that The Little Mermaid's Princess Ariel explored the same sunken ship that resulted in the deaths of Princess Anna and Queen Elsa's parents in Frozen, Musker smiled and said, "You can talk to Chris Buck."

"We don't really know on our end with Frozen," Clements added, "and I've never really asked him." Musker admitted to E! News that crossover theory was "interesting," but ultimately added with a laugh, "It's like fan fiction."

Walt Disney Pictures' Aladdin: Diamond Edition is available now on digital, Disney Movies Anywhere and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.