Disney is developing a new fantasy/sci-fi adaptation of 1001 Nights. Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney has been known to take classic stories, fairy tales, and folk traditions and turn them into successful and entertaining feature films and television shows. Among the numerous adaptions, one of the most compelling has been the 1992 animated classic Aladdin, based on the story from One Thousand and One Nights. The feature film is about a poor orphaned “street rat” who acquires a magic lamp that summons a genie that can grant any wish but puts him in trouble with an evil vizier who plots to steal it for himself.
Aladdin went on to become a major hit and spawned two direct-to-video sequels, an animated series, and more. In 2019, a live-action remake starring Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, and Will Smith released, earning over $1 billion globally. Before then, Disney had experimented with adapting another tale from One Thousand and One Nights for its canceled feature Musicana. The film was to have a segment based on Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, which follows the story of a merchant who outwits a gang of thieves and was to be told with anthropomorphic birds. While the project never materialized, Disney’s interest in One Thousand and One Nights has clearly stayed strong.
According to Deadline, Disney is developing a new fantasy/sci-fi adaptation of One Thousand and One Nights, currently titled 1001 Nights. Disney has hired Arash Amel to write the screenplay, with Amel previously working with Disney+ on the biographical sports drama Rise. It is currently unknown how the film is adapting the story, but despite sharing its source with Aladdin, it’s said to be an original standalone IP.
1001 Nights Will Differ From Aladdin
The original One Thousand and One Nights tale follows a sultan by the name of Shahryār who, having been betrayed by his unfaithful wife, has her killed. To retain his place on the throne, he decides to marry a woman every day and have her executed in the morning. The vizier’s clever daughter, Scheherazade, becomes his next wife and starts to tell him a story but always ends on a cliffhanger or tease to stay alive the next day. This continues on for 1001 nights until Shahryār falls in love with her. Among the many tales she tells include Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor.
Adapting One Thousand and One Nights independent of Aladdin allows Disney to once again think outside the box and create a unique film that will make the most of its storytelling capabilities. While Aladdin is one of the company’s most successful and iconic IPs, there are those who are dissatisfied with the live-action remakes and strive to see more daring live-action film adaptions of other stories. 1001 Nights gives Disney the chance to dig into the broader source material and create something new and exciting with the classic folk tales.
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