Iago was the secondary antagonist in Disney's 1992 feature film Aladdin and later, one of the protagonists in its sequels and television series. He is part of a royal menagerie in Arabian city, Agrabah. He is named after the villain Iago in the play Othello by William Shakespeare, as evidenced by mention in the TV series revealing that he has a twin brother called Othello. Along with Genie, he is arguably the most popular character from Aladdin. Iago is voiced by Gilbert Gottfried.
Iago resembles a Scarlet macaw. He can speak fluent English and has the ability to perfectly mimic other characters' voices, possibly due to Jafar's influence. He also possesses a fine knowledge of magical lore learned from Jafar, which often comes in handy as Genie's magical knowledge is 10,000 years out of date. He is easily frustrated and openly vocalizes his frustrations. Although he denies it, he actually has a good heart, and his guilt from abandoning his friends or leaving them to deal with a crisis usually makes him return to intervene, and he even sometimes come out as a hero, but almost every time at the expense of losing something of value, which he without fail berates himself for afterwards.
He also seems to hate crackers (which is not what you would normaly expect for a parrot), which the Sultan, apparently being completely unaware of Iago's distaste for them often fed him directly to the mouth, which also acted as the main reason why he aided Jafar in his treacherous ambitions against the Sultan in the first film. Upon Jafar becoming both the Sultan and the most powerful sorcerer on the planet, one of Iago's first actions was exacting revenge against the Sultan (who was relegated to a marionetted jester) by constantly force-feeding him the same crackers he was fed by the Sultan. It's implied in Return Of Jafar that his hatred of crackers stemmed from a particularly bad experience at a Bazaar where he, ironically, did indeed squack "Polly Want A Cracker," which acted as the final straw that led to his defection from Jafar and trapping him in a well after the latter reminded him of it.
Interestingly, Iago often displays a certain fondness for Jasmine, being generally unhappy when he disappoints her, and often helping her out in smaller matters. In the Return Of Jafar, it seems to be her compassion towards him that increases his guilt to the point of near-confession, and then her anger and disappointment that prompts him to release Genie to save Aladdin.
Iago will do almost anything to keep out of danger or at least try and talk Aladdin or the others out of attempting something he deems crazy or impossible, usually both. However, he is at times willing to do Jafar's dirty work, such as retrieving Genie's lamp. His loyalties to Jafar either pertain out of true loyalty of a Promised reward (like in the first film, although in that case, it was closer to revenge, as he hated the Sultan's constantly feeding him crackers), or out of fear (the second film). He's very clever, and makes witty, sarcastic remarks constantly. But he's also very greedy, which sometimes makes him gullible if he thinks there's treasure to be found. In other words, he's a wacky bird that can make anyone laugh.
In the first film, Iago has a supporting role as Jafar's sidekick and magical familiar, and also served as his spy. He aided Jafar in all of his ambitions and came up with plenty of excellent schemes, such as giving him the idea of marrying Jasmine to become the Sultan after the plan of gaining the lamp failed. He showed great animosity towards the Sultan for always stuffing his mouth with dry, choking crackers, and got him back for it after Jafar took over.
Iago often feigned his actual intellect, often squawking like a regular parrot and repeating phrases, namely due to Jafar's influence. Indeed, the first time he directly exposed his ability to talk was shortly after Jafar wished to become Sultan, when he tells the former Sultan after calling Jafar a "vile betrayer" "That's Sultan Vile Betrayer, to you!". Both the Sultan and Jasmine were seemingly shocked by the discovery.
When Jafar discovered Prince Ali is actually Aladdin and holds the lamp, Iago was sent to retrieve it which he did successfully. Iago is given his own turban showing his leadership as well when Jafar took control. But in the end, he is imprisoned with Jafar in his lamp (which Jafar got from wishing Genie would make him a genie) and the lamp is then sent to the desert, into the Cave of Wonders where the lamp of Aladdin's genie originally lied. He then argues with Jafar during this time, apparently having lost his patience with him after he made the mistake of wishing to become a genie.
Iago has a starring role in the second film. He digs himself and Jafar out of the sand, and becomes frustrated with Jafar's treating him like a slave. After Iago claims (with a degree of accuracy) that he does most of the work and comes up with the schemes, Jafar retaliates by saying that without him, Iago would still be in a cage in the bazaar, squawking "Polly want a cracker!". With that remark, Iago dumps Jafar, still trapped in his lamp, into a well. He returns to Agrabah, claiming that he needs nobody's help, and that he'll be running the town within a week. After discovering Aladdin now lives in the palace, he decides to use Aladdin's good nature to return to the palace, but Aladdin is not taken in by his act. In a turn of events, Iago (accidentally) saves Aladdin from Abis Mal and his thugs, and in gratitude Aladdin brings him into the palace, but locks him in a cage to give himself time to explain everything to the Sultan and Jasmine, and convince him that Iago has turned over a new feather. Abu unintentionally lets Iago escape (he intended to open the cage to scare Iago for Rajah being nearby as joke, but it backfired), resulting in Iago being chased by Rajah into the dining room, ruining an important dinner and blowing his cover. Aladdin protects Iago from the Sultan and his guards at the expense of losing the Sultan's favor, and Jasmine's trust.
Genie talks Iago into persuading Jasmine to forgive Aladdin with the song "Forget About Love", in which he uses reverse-psychology to tell Jasmine that she's absolutely right about wanting to be alone, and that love is over-rated, while reminding her of how wonderful love really feels, and she realizes how much she still loves Aladdin despite their argument.
Soon enough he is enjoying the Royal Treatment, planning his future, believing that Aladdin will become the Grand Vizier, and that when he becomes Sultan, Iago will become the Grand Vizier. He is however horrified to find Jafar set free by Abis Mal. Jafar subtly threatens Iago, who is intelligent enough to know he will suffer if he disobeys again, into luring Aladdin and the Sultan into a trap. Iago talks with Aladdin and Jasmine, and finds it surprisingly easy to persuade Aladdin into taking the Sultan on a carpet ride without Genie. Jasmine apologies to Iago for doubting him, and Iago has a sudden flash of conscience, but Jafar then appears in the form of two omniscient eyes, and fearful for his safety, Iago refrains from warning them.
Iago's guilt over how he has treated the trusting Aladdin increases visibly to a degree where he appears sickened by his own actions, especially during the Sultan's kidnap. He frees the captured Genie to save Aladdin from being beheaded when he's framed for murdering the Sultan through Jafar's schemes, in the process also freeing Jasmine, the Sultan, Carpet and Abu. Now that his debts are repaid, Iago leaves them to fight Jafar alone, somewhat surprised that they do not hold him to any further obligations. But in the struggle against Jafar, when all hope seems lost, Iago returns unexpectedly. He grabs the lamp and attempts to hand it to Aladdin, but is hit by an energy bolt by Jafar and horribly injured. Aladdin and the others believe that all is truly lost, but with his last ounce of strength Iago kicks Jafar's lamp into the boiling lava, thusly destroying Jafar. Aladdin saves the helpless Iago from falling into the lava himself, but his injuries are so severe that for a moment everybody believes him dead. However this is not so, as Genies lack the power to kill. He officially turns over a new feather and is welcomed into the Palace, although he ends up upset when Aladdin decided to turn down the position of Grand Vizier.
In the series he provides a sarcastic, realistic, or cowardly perspective on events and is only really willing to face danger if great reward is promised. He is sometimes forced to battle his conscience, acting more noble than might be expected. A particular example of this was when Sadira used her sand magic to alter history so that she was the princess and Jasmine the street-rat; the animals of Agrabah were the only ones who remembered how history should be, and while Iago could easily have adjusted to this new world, he instead risked his life and security to lead Abu and Rajah in finding Jasmine and restoring the world to normal. Iago's common schemes involve trying to sell anything with any value (real or not), trying to steal things, and trying to treasure-hunt (Although he abandoned his greedy ways on one occasion after sustaining a bump to the head, he eventually returned to normal after his new charitable ways got him into almost as much trouble, concluding that at least greed was profitable). He can usually convince Abu to be his partner in crime, but Abu is rather less deceitful than Iago, due to his close friendship with Aladdin, and also more likely to run from danger.
Also during the series, he has a crush on the rain bird and protector of the rain forest Thundra.
In the final movie, Iago is more interested in the extravagant wedding gifts Aladdin and Jasmine are getting from guests. During the raid of the Forty Thieves, he tries to defend the gifts from the King of Thieves (for personal gain, of course) but is stuffed in a perfume bottle. He's freed and they learn the King of Thieves was most interested in a beautiful scepter. Thinking out loud, Iago asks why, out of all the marvelous gifts this was the only thing that the King of Thieves really wanted. But his question is answered by the Oracle from the Scepter who explains the King of Thieves seeks her in order to find the Ultimate Treasure, which piques Iago's interest. He tries to discover where the Ultimate Treasure is from the Oracle, but she is bound by one rule "One question, one answer", and informs him that he already asked his question, regarding the scepter's worth.
He accompanies Aladdin, Abu and Carpet to find the Forty Thieves to find Aladdin's father. They sneak into the Forty Thieves' hideout and are discovered, and their law demands they die. but Aladdin's father, Cassim, who is in fact the King of Thieves, gives Aladdin a chance to save their lives by defeating Saluk, one of the strongest members of the Thieves, in single combat, which he does. They learn from Cassim his past and his dreams and goals. That he desperately seeks the ultimate Treasure, the Hand of Midas, which can turn anything it touches into solid gold, and has proof in the form of a ship of gold. This causes Iago to take an instant interest in Cassim. When Cassim agrees to come to Agrabah, Iago helps him to get the scepter, but Razoul, the Captain of the Palace Guard, and the guards catch them in the act and the Sultan has no choice but to imprison them.
Aladdin breaks them out and is forced to join them in their escape, but refuses to leave. Iago tries to convince Aladdin to come, not wanting him to get locked up, but Aladdin is prepared to face the consequences.
They return to the lair only to be betrayed by the Forty Thieves under the command of Saluk, who survived his fight with Aladdin. With the scepter in their possession, they sail off to find the Hand of Midas, but Iago escapes and returns to Agrabah to warn them. They go to Cassim's rescue, and during the whole thing, Aladdin and Cassim finally settle their differences aside and truly become father and son.
Returning to Agrabah, Cassim attends his son's wedding to his new daughter-in-law, but decides to leave to make a fresh start and a new life. Iago decides to accompany him in his adventures, saying, "You're a good guy, Cassim.... but not TOO good. HA HA!" And with a wave of farewell to Aladdin and his new wife, Jasmine, they ride off into the night.
Like most characters from Disney's animated feature films, Iago made recurring appearances on House of Mouse, where the movies' continuity did not seem to matter, and Iago was depicted as either Jafar's sidekick or exhibiting his protagonist behavior. Iago played several major roles in the show. In the episode Thanks to Minnie Iago was apart of a music group called The Parrots of the Caribbean and performed a song called A Parrots Life for Me. In the episode House of Magic Daisy accidentally made the club and all its guest disappear and being that Iago and Jafar were late they lent they magical abilities to bring the club back. In Donald Wants to Fly, Iago volunteered to go to Never Land to find Peter Pan as he was late for his special guest appearance for the evening's show.
Iago was apart of the many villains to take over the club in Mickey's House of Villains informing the villains every Halloween they sit around and think of evil acts instead of doing them giving Jafar his plan. Iago also appears in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse right before and during the club's Christmas transformation.
Iago appears as a supporting character in this straight-to-DVD movie. With his travels with Cassim at an end, Iago returns to Agrabah and assists Jasmine in her princess duties. During her portrait session, Iago and Jasmine perform "More Than A Peacock Princess" as Jasmine tires of her dull princess lifestyle. Later on, the horse of Jasmine's deceased mother disappears, leading Jasmine to go on a search. Before she does, she attempts to find who let the horse, named Sahara, out and upon finding a fig, the favorite snack of Abu, Jasmine immediately begins to question the monkey. Iago joins her in the courtroom-esque drama and repeatedly interrogates Abu into revealing the truth. When Abu confesses, Jasmine takes it upon herself to find the horse, though Iago is openly doubtful about the situation.
He eventually decides to join Jasmine, Abu, and Carpet, believing he'll witness a humorous failure. Eventually, Sahara is recovered, brought back to the Palace, and all is well in Agrabah once more.
Aladdin video games
In the Sega Genesis video game adaptation of Aladdin, Iago makes multiple appearances. In the SEGA loading screen, the Genie fires a starting pistol skyward, which hits Iago and brings him plummeting to the ground with a squawk.
He serves as an obstacle in numerous levels, flying back and forth in high places where Aladdin may be climbing or flying, though he can be dispatched with one thrown apple or a sword slash, and has no attacks.
Most importantly, Iago serves as an end-of-level boss to the level "The Sultan's Palace". Aladdin ends the level in Jafar's secret laboratory, where Iago is frantically working the storm machine from the first film. The storm machine summons ghosts which attack Aladdin, and barrels roll across the floor. Iago must be dispatched with apples. When Aladdin lands a hit with an apple, Iago will be spun around the gears a couple of times (as he was in the movie), though this does him no extra damage. The cut-scene following this battle explains that the fight was intended as a distraction so that Jafar could steal the lamp.
In the Super NES version of the game, Iago appears as a recurring enemy in the game's final level.
In Aladdin in Nasira's Revenge, Iago allows access to several check points. He also gives advice to either Abu or Aladdin, often telling them how to pass certain obstacles.
Iago has appeared in many games throughout the Kingdom Hearts series.
In Kingdom Hearts, Iago was Jafar's servant. He played a minor role, normally just appearing on Jafar's shoulder in cinematics, though he was the one who stole Genie's lamp from Aladdin. He later appeared holding Jafar's lamp in the boss battle, and flew around with it. The lamp was one of the ways to damage Jafar. Like the movie, Iago tried to fly away at the downfall of Jafar, but ended up in the lamp as well.
Iago made a small cameo appearance in Chain of Memories, holding the lamp during the Jafar boss battle, like in the first game. To defeat Jafar, Sora must land his attacks on the lamp. He was also how Jafar got his hands on the lamp in this game to control Genie.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Iago, like The Return of Jafar, was finally free from Jafar's lamp. When he encountered Sora and the others again, he tried to convince them that he had turned over a new leaf, although only Goofy seemed to believe him until Iago saved the group from a bunch of Heartless.
Iago wanted to prove to Aladdin that he was no longer a villain. He did so by taking Jafar's lamp from Pete, which proved his loyalty, until Jafar was released and he was forced to trick Sora, Donald, Goofy and Aladdin into going to the ruins, thereby destroying any trust he had obtained. When the group returned to Agrabah to face Jafar, Iago blocked an attack aimed at Aladdin and proved himself a friend again.
Iago appears in Kingdom Hearts coded and helps Jafar like he did in Kingdom Hearts. Iago steals the Genie's lamp which Sora must get back. He also appears in the final boss fight, once again holding Jafar's lamp.
Iago has a minor role in the game only appearing in Jasmine's world when the player sprinkles magic on a basket. When this occurs, Iago pops out letting out a squawk.
Iago appears in Disney Parks mostly in shows.
Along with Zazu, he appeared as one of the hosts of The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management at the Magic Kingdom. Iago tells the original Tiki birds that he and Zazu are big shot movie stars and is annoyed when Zazu warns him about the Tiki god. Iago does not care and insults the Tiki goddess. She soon appears and punish Iago for his bad ways. Iago is apparently killed off leaving Zazu in charge. Iago then reappears and is reformed and respects the Tiki goddess, despite the pain she forgave him and allows the Tiki Birds to keep their show. Sadly, the entire show was ruined when a fire broke out in the attic, causing permanent damage to Iago and leaving the ride closed. Iago is currently marked as too expensive to replace.
At Disney California Adventure, Iago appears as a puppet living out his role in the film. In the end, Iago claims he has reformed but instead flies away after his lies backfire.
Iago makes a cameo appearance in Mickey's Philharmagic. During Aladdin and Jasmine's Whole New World song Jasmine gives the hat back to Donald. Before Donald goes home Iago pushes the hat off Donald's head.
Iago joins Jafar and several other villains in the show. Here, Iago and Jafar teach Doctor Facilier, how to use magic for devious purposes such as taking control over someone.
In Adventureland, taking place before his reformation, Iago and Jafar are recruited by Hades to find a legendary crystal in a plot to take over the Magic Kingdom. Iago is first seen attacking Merlin with some of Jafar's men. Later on, Iago is ordered to use the Sultan's mystic blue diamond ring to uncover the whereabouts of the crystal. Before Iago returns to Jafar, the park guests eavesdrop on Iago learning the location of the crystal. Iago uses magic to battle the guests but is defeated. However, he regains his strength and returns to Jafar. At one point, Iago heads off to steal Jafar's lamp back from Hades so that Jafar will no longer have a master to answer to. He is last seen at the final battle nearly getting zapped by Merlin's magic.
The stage adaption of Aladdin will premiere at the 5th Avenue Theatre from July 7-31 2011. Iago will also star along with the rest of the cast. He will be played by Don Darryl.
- Iago was originally meant to be a snobbish parrot with a British accent. However, to further the comedy, his character was changed drastically to what animator Will Finn calls "Gilbert Gottfried as a parrot".
- Iago's changes in heart from bad to good has become the most famous of all of Disney's reformed villains.
- Iago claimed in Return of Jafar that he had a wife and three unhatched eggs. However, as this was meant to be a desperate plea to get Abu to unlock the cage, its unknown if Iago was being honest about it or not.
- To date, Iago is the only reformed villain sidekick to kill his former partner.
- In a special crossover episode of Hercules: The Series and Aladdin, Iago is absent but is mentioned by Jafar.
- For more pictures and screenshots of Iago, click here.