The Late Robin Williams’ Voice Delights Fans in ‘Once Upon a Studio’

Robin Williams, with Genie from Aladdin, 1990s
TV Guide/Everett Collection
TV Guide/Everett Collection

Amid the Disney 100 celebrations, the company just released a short film called Once Upon a Studio. In the adorable mashup of live-action and animation, many of the most iconic Disney characters come to life at Walt Disney Animation Studios, after the employees have left the studio, Toy Story-style. The film is dedicated to Burny Mattinson, who worked for the Disney company for over seven decades. He appears in the film and sadly passed away just eight months before its release.

After the film premiered, fans were delighted to see a cameo of the Genie from Aladdin and recognize the late Robin Williams‘ voice. Some wondered if his voice was recreated with AI but Disney confirmed that it was Williams’ actual voice, which they got permission to use in the film.

ALADDIN, from left: Aladdin (voice: Scott Weinger), Genie (voice: Robin Williams), 1992

Buena Vista Pictures/Everett Collection

In the film, Genie is shown briefly, popping off of a page that Olaf, the loveable snowman from Frozen is working on, which makes Olaf tumble to the ground. Genie jokes, “I haven’t seen a fall like that since Rome.” Once Olaf pops back up, Genie responds with “Much better.” In order to use Williams’ voice, they gathered a proposal to submit to his estate.

The creative team shared, “So Dan listened to the outtakes from the original recording and he found those little bites that we could use. We went back to the estate and said, ‘This is what we hope to do. Eric, 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.”

Check out the trailer for the short below and let us know your thoughts, if you’ve seen it!

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August 2021

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