From the moment we heard Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) would be heading to Storybrooke on “Once Upon a Time” Season 6, we’ve wondered how the Genie of the Lamp would fit into his storyline, if at all.
Fans will remember that “Once Upon a Time” already told a genie tale, way back in Season 1 with Regina’s minion Sidney (Giancarlo Esposito) playing the wish-bestowing servant. He also happened to be the mirror in the Snow White tale. What they didn’t tell us back then, however, was whether Sidney was also the genie who palled around with Aladdin and Jasmin (Karen David) in Agrabah.
If you were hoping for Season 6 to clear things up, Sunday’s (Nov. 13) episode was probably a little disappointing.
After stealing a lamp from Gold’s (Robert Carlyle) shop, Aladdin took the time to reassure Jasmin (and us) that their good friend the genie was not inside. According to Aladdin, their magical friend moved on a long time ago.
In its own way, this small acknowledgement from “Once Upon a Time” that Aladdin’s genie would not be part of their story felt like a clear sign of respect for Robin Williams. Even the reverent little line, “He’s free now,” got us a little misty about Williams and his iconic role as the Genie from the original Disney film.
The world was devastated by Williams’ death back in 2014, and it definitely would have felt wrong to bring a new face and story in for this particular character. While we’ll certainly miss seeing Aladdin’s best buddy (and Aboo, don’t forget him), we’re glad the show made this gesture of tribute to the amazing actor who first brought Genie to life.
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.