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Jafar was formerly a human man who was later turned into a genie.
Born in the ancient city of Agrabah, Jafar, brother of Nasira, sought power at all costs and clawed his way to becoming the Sultan's Grand Vizier. A student of sorcery, Jafar used a bewitched staff to hypnotize the weak-minded Sultan if he ever had trouble convincing him of something. Jafar was flanked by a loudmouthed parrot of dubious origin called Iago
This was not enough for Jafar, however, especially considering that heir to the throne Princess Jasmine saw right through him and the Sultan was getting old. Jafar researched ancient legends about Genies and sought out of the Cave of Wonders and the Lamp it contained. As only the pure of heart could enter the Cave, Jafar manipulated a good-hearted pauper called Aladdin into getting the lamp for him. Unfortunately, Aladdin ended up keeping the lamp and befriending the Genie within.
Jafar eventually got the lamp back and used his first wish to become sultan. Unfortunately, he had failed to take into account that the title didn't mean much if no one in Agrabah acknowledged him as ruler. Furious, Jafar wished to become the greatest sorcerer in the world. He would likely have won at this point, had Aladdin not tricked him into wishing to become "the world's most powerful Genie" by pointing out that as powerful as Jafar was, the Genie who'd given him that power was still more powerful. Naturally, the foolish wish turned Jafar into a bound Genie, whose lamp the good Genie kicked into the Cave of Wonders.
After some months fuming inside the lamp with Iago and one failed escape attempt, Iago finally dug their way out of the Cave for good. Unfortunately, Jafar abused Iago one time too many and the sentient parrot turned on his master, kicking the lamp down a well. It was then found by incompetent, bumbling brigand Abis Mal, whom Jafar immediately set about manipulating into freeing him. The now revenge-bent Jafar's scheme failed, however, at the last minute, when Iago sealed his reform by destroying Jafar's lamp, thereby killing him.
Jafar's depowered soul ended up in the Underworld, where he refused to stop bothering the imps until Hades made a deal with him to resurrect him in exchange for Jafar killing Hercules for him. Naturally, Jafar's attempts failed one after another until Hades lost his patience and stopped resurrecting him.
Somehow, however, Jafar still escaped the River Styx and regained some of his magical powers. Either living through the centuries himself or being transported through time like (apparently) the rest of Agrabah, Jafar ended up a regular guest at the House of Mouse, where he was one of the most troublesome guests, refusing most often to abide by the "No scheming" rule for attending evil-doers. For instance, in 1999, he tricked Donald Duck in an attempt to get a lamp belonging Mickey Mouse, and a few years later, he led a sort of coup by the most powerful villains in the House to take it over and throw out their foes.
Behind the scenesEdit
Based on the Sorcerer and the Grand Vizier from the original Aladdin fairy tale, Jafar first appeared as a character in the 1992 film Aladdin. According to Disney's Aladdin: The Making of an Animated Film, Jafar was defined thusly in the script: "His mind works the way he looks: all long lines and deep sharp angles".
Jafar went through many designs and personalities in development, one of which (and one of the closest ones to the final design at that) was interestingly created by Daan Jippes. To go with these various personalities, Jafar had no less than four separate villain songs written for him, only one of which made the final cut. Taking account his songs in other media, this puts Jafar at a grand total of eight villain songs, a record only threatened by Peg-Leg Pete, Captain Hook and the Mad Doctor.
Some of Jafar's mannerisms were inspired by actor Vincent Price, while others were taken straight from Jonathan Freeman, Jafar's voice actor. Interestingly, when Aladdin was made into a Broadway stage musical, the aging Freeman reprised his role, finally playing his iconic character in the flesh. On this occasion, Jafar was given yet another song, Diamond in the Rough.
Voice Actors & PortrayersEdit
- Jonathan Freeman (classic voice actor since Aladdin; has also portrayed Jafar in the flesh, notably in Aladdin: The Musical’s original performances)
- Ethan Freeman (Aladdin: The Musical in 2015 German production)
- Don Gallagher (Aladdin: The Musical in 2016 West End production)
- Adam Murphy (Aladdin: The Musical in 2016 Australian production)
- Seth MacFarlane (parody; Aladdin IV and Aladdin V sketches on the non-Disney TV series Family Guy)
- Dylan Saunders (Twisted; parody; actually an alternate version of the character)
- Austin Scott (Counting Stars feat. Disney Villains)
- Maz Jobrani (Descendants & sequels; actually an alternate version of the character)
- Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin live-action remake; actually an alternate version of the character)