A Weird fan theory suggests that Aladdin may have been set in a distant post-apocalyptic future. Certain suggestions made by Genie may have found the ground fertile for this hypothesis.
Let us deconstruct these hints one by one.
When Genie is about to give Aladdin a makeover, he says that Aladdin’s present costume looks like it belongs to the third century.
Now, if you think about the time he first got out of the lamp, he complained that his neck had been sore with staying inside the lamp for ten thousand years. Considering he has been locked away from the outside world there is very little chance that he is aware of the fashion in vogue. That pushes the setting way ahead in the future- roughly to 10300.
The Genie is voiced by Robin Williams and he seems to include bits of 20th-century actors including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Groucho Marx, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Nicholson, etc. That pushes the date further ahead to 11970.
In fact, a lot of magical elements in the film logically back this theory.
The “Magical Carpet” for instance represents the hover technology that was trapped in the cave of wonders, probably to keep it from falling into the wrong hands during the nuclear war. A war that turned the whole world into a never-ending desert.
Likewise, Iago is not just another talking Disney character. It is quite possible that the people of the future grew so emotionally dependent on the pets, that they developed means to detect every thought passing through their minds. Or maybe a mutation occurred in the wake of the nuclear spat that caused animals to grow conversational abilities.
Furthermore, Agrabah is just a made-up town where they happen to follow Middle Eastern culture. The name was probably derived by playing the consonants from Egypt, Arabia, and Afghanistan. Considering the fact that in post-apocalyptic worlds, the names of places that once existed are deemed irrelevant, the name only plays into the validation of the theory.
More evidence comes from the Aladdin video game where remains of the dead from the nuclear war, undetonated nuclear contrivances, and 20th-century signs are clearly seen lying around in the desert.
Some fans highlight the presence of the monolith of Nintendo Wii in the cave of wonders. This holds little weight but cannot be fully disregarded since the former evidence sets a strong case in favor of the theory that the legend might be set well ahead in the future.
But to be fair to the school of the audience that does not support this theory, it makes more sense about Genie not being tied in the constraints of time. Also, the fact that he only brings up the 3rd and the 20th century and nothing in the middle is also worth emphasizing. In that case the time he spent trapped in the lamp would be a different time altogether. But the fact that he wants to take a trip to Disney land on being freed, catches us off guard.
There are alternate theories to neutralize the claims of this hypothesis.
The one where Belle from Beauty and the Beast reads a book about Aladdin, definitely means that the story was from the past.
The second theory is that the whole story, in fact, is a lie cooked up by a merchant to sell a lamp.
Which is your favorite theory about Aladdin? Do let us know in the comments.