Robin Williams' Genie returns in Disney's 100th anniversary short – without AI

The Genie in Disney's Once Upon a Studio
(Image credit: Disney)

Disney's 100th anniversary short is now streaming on Disney Plus – and it brings together countless classic characters, including Robin Williams' Genie. The beloved actor died in 2014. 

But, despite the Genie having new voice lines, the late Williams' voice was not recreated with AI for the short, as producer Bradford Simonsen explained to Variety. The process began with getting in touch with Williams' estate. 

"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 said. "So Dan [Abraham, director] 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 [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."

The short, titled Once Upon a Studio, sees all the Disney characters you could think of come together to take a group photo to mark the animation studio's 100th birthday. Many voice actors returned to reprise their iconic roles, including Jeremy Irons as Scar, Idina Menzel as Elsa, and Jodi Benson as Ariel. 

Next up for Disney Animation is Wish, a new film that sees a girl named Asha (Ariana DeBose) strive to save her kingdom from a sinister ruler – with the help of a talking wishing star. 

Wish arrives in theaters this November 22. In the meantime, check out our guide to all the upcoming Disney movies for everything else the studio has in store. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.