The film features the iconic character Genie, voiced by the late actor Robin Williams, using old voice recordings with the permission of Williams' family.
In the past 100 years, Disney has become one of the greatest studios to deliver some of the most memorable animations for the world. If we take a trip down memory lane, then we won't be able to hold ourselves back from praising their 1992 animated film "Aladdin." We also won't be able to forget the iconic voice of the late actor Robin Williams who brought the character of Genie in the film to life. Williams unfortunately passed away at the age of 63 in 2014 but Disney is not letting his legendary voice disappear anytime soon.
According to Variety, Disney has worked on a short film titled "Once Upon A Studio" to mark the 100th anniversary of the studio. Producer Brad Simonsen revealed that the co-writers and directors working on this project have obtained special permission from Williams' family to use his voice for the character of Genie once again. They will be using Williams' old voice recordings to voice the playful character of Genie once again.
“We tried to take them on the journey with us to say, ‘We’ve got this very special short that we’re doing. Robin as the genie means so much to so many people and we would really love to involve him,'” Simonsen explained, per the outlet, “We went back to the estate and said, ‘This is what we hope to do.’ Eric [Goldberg], who originally animated the Genie, is on the show and he’s going to be part of it. And it was wonderful to see that happen.” Disney released the 13-minute-long clip of the film on Sunday. Fans were delighted to see familiar characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse jumping out of the frames of their animation once the studio staff had departed after their long day at work.
The Genie appears in Disney’s ‘ONCE UPON A STUDIO’ short with Robin Williams’ voice.— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) October 16, 2023
His voice bits are outtakes from Williams’ original recordings, with permission by his estate. pic.twitter.com/HdacVQK2dZ
The iconic pair seek help from characters like Tinker Bell, Peter Pan and many other loveable characters to snap a photo together. People were unable to hold back their emotions once the 100th anniversary of Disney was made extra special with Williams' Genie making an appearance.
Fans considered it a fitting tribute to the legacy of Williams and the heritage and history of Disney for creating so many wonderful memories for several generations. According to PEOPLE, Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda, has been against the heavy use of AI. “This isn't theoretical, it is very very real,” she said, “I've already heard AI used to get his 'voice' to say whatever people want and while I find it personally disturbing, the ramifications go far beyond my own feelings. Living actors deserve a chance to create characters with their choices, to voice cartoons, to put their human effort and time into the pursuit of performance."
The CEOs must have used all their willpower to not use A.I— Ed_rick (@Edrick1954) October 16, 2023
If you don't listen to the outtakes, you'd believe these are new recordings, which makes it all the more special.— Diane Howdah (@SPL0TCHMIY0MA) October 16, 2023
i remember when Robin Williams said that the never wanted to have his voice be used without his permission. but i think this is okay, it’s more of a paying respects to him— Sor ✧ (@Xcksorm) October 16, 2023
As for bringing the voices of other actors to participate in the project, at least 40 original voice guests including Jodi Benson (Ariel), Jeremy Irons (Scar), Idina Menzel (Elsa) and Kristen Bell (Anna) enthusiastically said yes to returning. Surprisingly enough, when every animation production relies on AI to a great extent these days, the entire project was executed over a period of eight months and without the involvement of AI-generated voices. "Once Upon a Studio" is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.