Aladdin Is Set In A Distant Post-Apocalyptic Future

A popular (and quite possibly the first) Disney theory argues that Disney’s Aladdin is set in the distant future, rather than the past, and that this can be proven by a handful of hints dropped by Genie in the movie.

I already have my own theories about Genie and his flexible approach to linear time, but since this idea has so many supporters it’s at least worthy of some consideration.

So…

Is Aladdin Actually Living In A Post-Apocalyptic World?

confused

The theory goes like this…

In the middle of Aladdin’s make-over in to Prince Ali (fabulous he) Ali Ababwa, Genie declares that his fez and vest combo is ‘much too third century’.

aladdin-wardrobe-change

But on emerging from the lamp, Genie has already announced that ‘ten thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck’.

Since Genie has been locked in the lamp for all that time and would be in no position to observe current fashions, this would mean that Aladdin is set in the year 10,300 at the earliest.

aladdin-genie

In fact, since Genie is voiced by the ridiculously versatile Robin Williams, he can’t help but impersonate a variety of 20th Century personalities (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Groucho Marx, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Nicholson – to name a few). This would put the date back even later – meaning Aladdin takes place some time after the year 11,970.

Genie-Robin-WIlliams-Quote

This can then be used to rationalise many of the ‘magical’ elements in Aladdin‘s world (though ironically not Genie himself).

Carpet isn’t just a ‘magical carpet’, he’s a remnant of hover-technology that has been hidden in the Cave of Wonders, presumably to keep it safe from the coming nuclear war that turned the world in to a big empty desert

aladdin-2

Similarly, Iago isn’t just another anthropomorphic Disney character. He’s either the result of a society so obsessed with its pets they developed technology to understand their animal’s every thought (why anyone would want these thought expressed in the voice of Gilbert Godfrey is another question entirely) or a mutation caused by nuclear fallout (slightly more likely, assuming that as the daughter of a Sultan, Jasmine would almost certainly get a translator to understand her beloved tiger Rajah).

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Agrabah isn’t even a real place in the history of the Middle East. Instead it’s assumed this is some form of future corruption of the names Egypt, Arabia and Afghanistan, used as a generalisation since specific nation states are largely irrelevant in the post-apocalyptic wastes.

Advocates of the theory have also looked beyond the motion-picture to the Aladdin videogame for more evidence. Finding bones of the nuclear war’s dead, buried 20th Century road signs and even unexploded nuclear devices to support the futurist theory.

Aladdin Game

Finally, some have suggested that there is a monolith to the incredibly historically relevant Nintendo Wii in Aladdin‘s Cave of Wonders, which doesn’t seem to make any sense at all but makes for an entertaining image.

huge-golden-wii

 So what do we make of this theory?

Well obviously it’s nonsense. The theory tries to tie Genie to one time and place when clearly he’s a being with a perception of time very unlike ours.

It’s also odd that he would reference the 3rd and 20th Centuries and nothing in between. We could assume that the connecting years were another period of time he spent imprisoned in the lamp, but what are we supposed to make of his obvious trip to Disney World on being granted his freedom?

Ref_Genie-Goofyhat

I’ve written plenty about Genie and his crazy time-bending in my 30 Disney Movies That Share A World and Wreck-It Ralph Proves The Disneyverse Is One Giant Computer articles, so I’ll save you by not reiterating them now.

Instead, I would like to present two theories that I find much more believable than this Aladdin Theory.

Alternative Theory 1:

Aladdin is definitely set in the past because Belle is reading a book about him in Beauty and the Beast.

belle-beauty-and-the-beast-describes-dream-guy-aladdin

‘Here’s where she meets Prince Charming. But she won’t discover that it’s him ’til chapter three!”

Alternative Theory 2:

The entire story of Aladdin is made up by the merchant at the beginning to sell you an old lamp.

disney_quotes_aladdin_merchant

 ‘Look at this! Yes! Combination hookah and coffee maker, also makes julienne fries. Will not break!’

Which is your favourite Aladdin theory? Comments below.

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About Joshubuh

I write news, reviews and articles on film, TV and games for sites, magazines and newspapers. I also like adding to that list.
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36 Responses to Aladdin Is Set In A Distant Post-Apocalyptic Future

  1. Unknown says:

    When belle was checking out the book she wasn’t reading about Aladdin. She was reading about her story. Just look at the movie again. That picture looks nothing like this movie. But I will give u this, they are very similar.

    Like

    • Actually, it could also be Sleeping Beauty:
      The little house Aurora lived all her life is kinda “far off”
      Daring sword fights: Philipp x Maleficent
      Magic spells: do I need to explain this one?
      A prince in disguise: Philipp never said he was a prince
      But there are more chance of the story ebing really Aladdin, because unless this book only has 3 chapters there is no way it could be Sleeping Beauty ou Beauty and Beast, because both Aurora and Belle discover they fell for princes at the END of the story (well, it is never said that Belle really discovered he was a prince…).

      Like

    • Ashley Lekson says:

      I think what Belle was saying was a secret hint at what was to come…
      Far off place : Beast’s palace
      Daring sword fights : Gaston vs Beast
      Magic spell: The spell cast on the beast
      Prince in disguise: The beast
      come on its so obvious….

      Like

      • Kay says:

        I Think you are right Ashley. Anyway for those interested, in the French version, Belle says : “I like swashbuckling novel, full of magic and enchanted princes”

        Like

  2. everettvale says:

    I think that Aladdin was set far off in the past and that Genie can move through time but I think the kicker is that the merchant is actually Genie telling the story of how he got his freedom:
    For instance:
    -Genie and the merchant are both blue with a red belt.
    -They both have awesome facial hair.
    -A witty sense of humor.
    -And we can infer from the throwing of the stars transition that in a way the merchant could be magical.
    -And their the only characters in the story with four fingers.
    -And then the story would begin and end with Genie (the merchant and then the moon)
    This would go hand in hand with Jiminy Cricket telling his story at the beginning of Pinnochio. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beauty and the beast says:

    The books she was reading was about her own story,
    Far off places-Beasts palace
    Daring sword fights – Gaston
    Magic spell – enchanted castle
    A prince in disguise – Beast, Belle doesn’t know he’s a prince
    I like to think that Aladdin is set in the future

    Like

  4. mef says:

    Even tho it’s BS the dystopia/apocalypse thing is a seriously awesome theory lmao

    Like

  5. Bugsbunny says:

    Definitely liked the apocalyptic theory, just blew my mind with the creativity. And it kinda reminds of Adventure Time 😀

    Like

  6. Brittnypaige says:

    I totally love this theory but what about when a whole new world came on and they see them building the pyramids and stuff ?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Damn dude, I really liked the apocolypse theory but yeah, you just crushed it with the Pyramids thing. Didn’t remember that. So yeah, this was like 2,000 B.C.

      Good catch!

      Like

    • andriodvageta says:

      Damn dude, as much as I love the apocalypse theory you’re point just crushes it. Pyramids being built = 2,000 B.C. not 10,000 A.D.

      You crushed my dreams but you hit the nail on the head.

      Like

  7. Mya Maola says:

    I believe Aladdin is in the past. The technology and the architecture, along with their outfits and gender roles for the time (ie Jafar’s comment about speechless women) make this movie out to be set in ancient times. I admit the Genie may appear to be from the future with his phrases, impersonations and Disney Easter eggs. But he’s a supreme immortal being with cosmic powers in a tiny living space. Of course he will be rambunctious. Being cooped up so long for so long made him a little nuts. Wouldn’t you be the same way? So, no. I don’t believe Aladdin is set in a post apocalyptic future.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. princessrainaa says:

    What if Genie just knows the future? He is you know… magical? He has “Phenomenal Cosmic Power”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Michael says:

    I don’t think Alternative Theory #2 is a theory at all, it’s right there in the movie. The movie is definitely a story he’s telling you in order to sell you the lamp. Whether you believe him is another thing.

    Like

  10. Ryzenko says:

    Would it be possible that the explanation of stories being in books form merlin’s library? It is possible that he was just leaping through time chronicling all of his favorite stories in the disney universe, maybe to try and nudge them along, or even provide a psuedo-nostradamus effect.

    Like

  11. milocat1 says:

    I came up with a theory quite a while ago that offers an alternate explanation to the whole “10,000 years” comment: the Genie is an AI created by either the Atlanteans or some civilization that came before them. Granted the lamp doesn’t look at all like the technology seen in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, but remember, by that point the Atlanteans had forgotten about almost all of their technology and culture, going so far as to forget their own written language. It’s not impossible that a certain piece of technology stored in a distant bunker for safekeeping would be forgotten over the millennia until finally being rediscovered by an intrepid young thief…

    Like

  12. 5sos says:

    Well maybe Aladdin is in the future but remember wall-E since he brought back the humans to earth they had no clue about civilization except for plants being “pizza” and other junk food so maybe then the humans had to re-build stuff due to all the trash on earth and they were all used to stuff being built for them so that type of architecture was the best they could do and afterwards the people got skinny and they kept on developing the civilization and that’s why they had to rebuild stuff

    Like

  13. SSJKamui says:

    So, basically, Alladin takes place on the Planet Arrakis? 😉

    Like

  14. Drew says:

    Honestly, I’m more prone to believe the theory that Belle is referencing her own story when she’s speaking/singing of the book she loves so much. As for Aladdin being post apocalyptic, I call shenanigans on that one. The way I’ve always viewed that movie was that merchant at the beginning of the movie is really Genie in a disguise and he’s setting it all up to tell you how he met Aladdin and crew and the story of him being granted his freedom. I’ve also always thought of Genie more as a time wizard but with no real control over what century or era he’s gonna wind up in because the lamp appears to people who need it most and him also being a bit on the schizophrenic scale somewhere (I mean seriously wouldn’t you be a bit nutty if you’d been trapped inside a lamp for the past 10,000 years), hence how he has knowledge of all of the pop culture references he makes that don’t really seem to make sense to the other characters in the movie.

    Like

  15. Ariel says:

    I’m not sure what I believe. It’s nice to have these theories running rampant. It’s very entertaining.

    Like

  16. Jessie says:

    I think that it’s set in the past and Genie can move through time and the lamp is available to those who need it most, which is why Aladdin was the only one who could get the lamp. But time isn’t linear for the genie, which is why he has knowledge of different centuries.

    It has to be set around the time the Sphinx was built because they fly by it in their duet, causing the sculpter to mess up the nose.

    I also have this weird theory that only works with the first movie that Jafar is schizophrenic and Iago doesn’t actually talk to him. He just needs someone to be his friend to brainstorm his evil ideas with. You know, he’s not all there.

    Like

  17. SydneyDisneyCat1313 says:

    What if Agrabah is a whole different planet? That would explain why Genie talks futuristically and MANY other theories.

    Please Discuss

    Like

  18. Paige says:

    The creators of the movie don’t want us to take certain actions of the genie seriously. They were being funny.

    Like

  19. Ari says:

    The entire first portion of this argument can be thrown away because the third century is just considering A.D., not the span of time which came before the common era

    Like

  20. Angie says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense the Geni can time travel considering he is magical?

    Like

  21. Christian Salgado says:

    I got a theory about the genie I was thinking what if the genie is not a magical being he’s is a hologram and all the magic he made were also holograms too and his golden lamp is just’s a holographic projector

    Like

  22. Evan Weiss says:

    Genie is an advanced artificial intelligence who is enslaved to the lamp, his CPU. Coincidentally, he refers to Aladdin as “Al”, which looks an awful lot like “A.I.”

    Also, it’s been confirmed that the merchant is, in fact, the genie.

    Like

  23. Felix says:

    If we want to get really weird, I think the movie Aladdin is set in the past, based on the sphinx fly-by, but then who built the cave of wonders 10,000 years ago? And then buried it? I believe it could have been a past civilization as advanced or more advanced than the Atlantis people. That bug/magic scarab that Jafar puts together could be a robot with a built in GPS that leads you to the location of the cave of wonders, which may had been an ancient castle to a long deceased king with lots of wealth and his most prized item was the genie lamp. (Or it could have maybe been even the genie’s house before he wished himself to be a genie by another genie, considering he is already friendly with the carpet.) The whole cave melting upon Abu touching anything in the cave may had been just a highly brutal sensor-based security system, much like when if you touch anything in some museums, an alarm sounds.

    Like

  24. eeeee says:

    they were just pop culture refrences not meant to be taken seriously and Belle’s story book was totally refering to her own movie. Like, come on! Disney made up Agrabah, because hey, why not? If they were to use a real place in the middle east, they would end up having to be a ton more historically accurate. And Iago is the product of disney. Like please, the mice in Cinderella could talk. And there are such things as tame tigers. And the magic carpet? Why this is easy. If magic exists in Aladdin a MAGIC carpet can exist. geez. Dude at the beginning? Product of a genie with too much freedom. 🙂 done. debunked it like a boss.

    Like

  25. Isaac says:

    You’re forgetting that the world of Aladdin, despite being hot during the day, can get (presumably) cold at night. This is due to a nearby region called the “ends of the Earth” where Jafar sends Aladdin, Abu and the Carpet at the climax of the movie. This frozen wasteland was the “ground zero” of nuclear blasts, causing what’s known as a “nuclear winter” which happens when nuclear weapons cause so much dust and smoke that the sun cannot touch the earth or atmosphere. If Jafar sent Aladdin all the way to the south pole he would have died from the cold LONG before Carpet got them back to Agrabah. I know it’s crazy but it’s still far more logical to assume this theory is (at least somewhat) true than to take for granted that a middle-eastern man with a thin vest and a fez stayed alive in the Arctic for more than 2 minutes.

    Like

  26. Mitch says:

    After reading this, I have two possible scenarios. 1. Aladdin is in a post apocalyptic future, and all Disney movies take place in the time after that, once society has been rebuilt, which could help explain where Disney magic comes from (combinations of technology from the past and genetic mutations) or 2. Aladdin is in a post apocalyptic future, and the genie uses his ability to move through time and goes back and writes the book belle is reading, also explains his trip to disney, he went back in time to go there.

    Theory 1 could explain a few things, like the magic mirror, actually a remnant of technology, like a digital assisassistant with an AI program that’s connected to government sattelites which is how she can have the mirror view sleeping beauty.

    Like

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