Why Does Robin Williams’ Will Prevent Disney From Using His Voice?

Aladdin, Robin Williams, Walt Disney Animation
Walt Disney Animation

After Robin Williams passed away in 2014, it was speculated that Disney was planning to produce a fourth installment in the Aladdin franchise using cut lines from the actor’s original recording sessions as the Genie.

However, those plans will need to be put on hold as it was recently reported that Williams’ will prevents Disney from using any of his previous performances or recordings for up to 25 years after his death. So why does Williams’ will even contain this stipulation? Well it might have something to do with how the actor was treated after the release of the original Aladdin.

Robin Williams only agreed to voice the Genie if Disney promised they wouldn’t feature his image or name prominently in any of the marketing materials for Aladdin. “We had a deal,” Williams told NBC, “The one thing I said was I will do the voice. I’m doing it basically because I want to be part of this animation tradition. I want something for my children. One deal is, I just don’t want to sell anything–as in Burger King, as in toys, as in stuff.”

The actor even took a pay cut in order to ensure the deal and was only paid $75,000 for his work on Aladdin (math wizards will tell you that this is much less than his normal $8 million fee).

However, Disney broke their promise which understandably upset Williams, “You realize now when you work for Disney why the mouse has only four fingers–because he can’t pick up a check,”

After the fiasco, Disney gave Robin Williams an original Picasso painting as a “we’re sorry” gift and even posted a tribute to the actor after he passed away.

But it’s possible Williams was still upset with the animation studio. When asked if he would ever work with Disney again, Williams said, “I don’t think so,” adding that he if did, he would tell them “You lied.”