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Prince Anders spinoff angers ‘Aladdin’ fans after lead actor says he can’t find work

Announcement of Disney’s Aladdin spin-off met with controversy
WATCH: Disney has announced it's in the early stages of producing a live-action Aladdin spin-off for its streaming platform, Disney+. The announcement, however, was met with controversy.

Over the weekend, it was confirmed that Disney is in early stages of producing a spinoff series of the live-action Aladdin remake for their newly launched streaming service, Disney+.

The series will reportedly be centred on Prince Anders, a comedic minor character played by Billy Magnussen in the 2019 film, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The news comes only a few days after 28-year-old Mena Massoud, who played Aladdin in the movie, revealed that Aladdin hadn’t done him any favours in terms of getting work: the actor said he hasn’t been able to pull in a “single audition” since he starred in the film.

Billy Magnussen, 2018.
Billy Magnussen, 2018. Hopper Stone / Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

As a result, fans of Massoud have expressed concern online, questioning why Magnussen, 34 — whose character did not appear in the original 1992 animated classic, but was created solely for the multibillion-dollar-grossing 2019 film — has been offered a leading role in the new series as opposed to the Egyptian-Canadian actor who is reportedly struggling with his career.

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A number of Twitter users took to the social media platform to call out Disney and Hollywood in general for what they say was a race-based decision.

“Actual Aladdin can’t get an audition but the token white dude gets his own series?” wrote one user. “Haha f–k you, Hollywood. You’re racist.”

Here’s what some other Twitter users had to say:

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Though many users said they were fans of Magnussen, they were vocal about their disagreement with Disney’s casting choice.

One fan tweeted: “I really like Billy Magnussen. But this just doesn’t seem like a very good idea. Also, really bad timing after Mena Massoud talked about not getting any auditions after Aladdin.”

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On starring in a major Hollywood film, Massoud said: “I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses. ‘He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers.’ [But] it’s none of those things. I haven’t had a single audition since Aladdin came out.”

Aladdin just hit $1 billion,” he added. “Can I at least get an audition? I’m not expecting you to be like, ‘Here’s Batman.’ But can I just get in the room?

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Star of Aladdin returns to Markham high school
Star of Aladdin returns to Markham high school

“As for whether people are gonna discover me from it or what it’s going to do, I literally have no clue,” he said. “I can’t tell you I know how things are going to work out anymore.”

While Massoud played the titular role in the film, which received mixed reviews, Magnussen was only present in a handful of scenes as a potential suitor for Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) before she is won over by Aladdin.

With files from Katie Scott

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca