WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Disney's Aladdin, as well as for the comic anthology Aladdin: Four Tales of Agrabah, by Corinna Bechko, Pablo Andres, Lalit Kumar Sharma, Diego Perez Galindo, Jordi Escuin Llorach, DC Alonso, Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt, on sale now from Dark Horse.
Aladdin's Princess Jasmine has been one of Disney's most popular princesses since the 1992 release of the beloved animated film. However, as much as Jasmine was a kind soul, her arc mostly revolved around trying to escape an arranged marriage and figuring out whether Prince Ali really was worth falling in love with.
But Dark Horse's comic book tie-in to Disney's live-action adaptation adds more substance to Jasmine by portraying her as a scientist who has ambition and a grand plan for Agrabah.
In the animated original, Jasmine wanted to run away from the palace, as she couldn't stand having to entertain string of suitors, only to be married off to a stranger. As much as we related to her desire to be out from under the Sultan's control, admittedly there wasn't much more to her story.
But in the comic anthology's "Words & Deeds," Jasmine is given more agency with a modern spin on a woman's role in the palace that details her vision for the city. It begins with Jasmine caught running away, and then taken home to the library for an intimate discussion about her philosophies for her impending rule. Jasmine wants to see the outside world to bridge the divide with her people, as she believes classism will tear Agrabah apart. She also wants to experience their struggles, which the intends to address.
It's part of her wandering mind, as she's been training in science, and reading about exploration, since she was a child. An expert chemist, Jasmine wants to examine infrastructure and other societal problems she can cure. Famine, water problems and bridges are her primary concerns, and she believes that by interacting by the common people and becoming one of them, she'll understand what they need. However, her handmaiden Dalia insists Jasmine can learn from books, and should simply invent solutions in the lab rather than roam around, taking notes.
Dalia mentions toothpaste as one example, reiterating that Jasmine doesn't even need to travel to other countries, because the Middle East has become more advanced because of the work of others. Still, the princess thinks that's only one part of the equation, and believes she can write her own books and build on the past, but only by seeing different cultures with her own eyes. In other words, Jasmine wanting to leave the palace is about her people and not about wanting personal freedom.
She wants to better Agrabah and bring back information about the outside world to help make the city more cosmopolitan. As much as Jasmine loves experimenting in her workshop, her goals for the city require a more personal touch. She warns Dalia they'll regress as a nation if this doesn't happen. Sadly, Dalia convinces Jasmine to promise she won't run away again. But, as we know, Jasmine won't follow through with that vow. She's a visionary and woman of the people, and whether or not the Sultan knows it her rebellious attitude is exactly the leadership Agrabah needs.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, Aladdin stars Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Will Smith as Genie, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, Navid Negahban as the Sultan of Agrabah, Billy Magnussen as new character Prince Anders, and Frank Welker and Alan Tudyk as the voices of Abu and Iago, respectively. The film opens Friday nationwide.