- “In the palace, right here, lived a wicked vizier; the advisor to Sultan Hamed. And this part-time magician, this amateur seer, wished his boss, the good sultan, dead. He was charming and slick, but unspeakably sick, this despicable parasite. What a villain, boo hiss! Further proof, dears, that this is another Arabian night...”
- ―Lyrics describing Jafar from a demo of "Arabian Nights"
Jafar is the main antagonist of Disney's 1992 animated feature film Aladdin. As Royal Vizier of Agrabah, he was presented as the Sultan's most trusted and loyal councilman. In truth, the imperious Jafar held passionate disdain for the Sultan, and dedicated the latter half of his life to gaining ownership of a magic lamp containing an all-powerful genie—to that end, Jafar would control cosmic power, to which he would use to overtake the throne and the world at large.
Jafar is loosely based off the wicked sorcerer from the Aladdin folk tale in the One Thousand and One Nights collection of stories. With an elegant, yet cheeky approach to villainy, coupled with a dry sense of humor and menace, Jafar is amongst Disney's most renowned villains, and would later feature as a primary member of the Disney Villains franchise.
Whilst presenting a charming and respectable exterior to the Sultan and the people of Agrabah, he secretly holds everyone around him in contempt and is a power-hungry individual. Towards Agrabah's royal family, he constantly manipulates the Sultan by means of hypnotizing him with a magical snake-headed staff, which he always carries on his person. He had traveled widely and amassed a wide knowledge of magical artifacts and legends. Until he uses Genie's powers to become a sorcerer, and later a genie, however, his magical abilities were limited to the use of such artifacts as he has collected, and his prowess as an accomplished alchemist. He also had some contacts within the Agrabah underworld, including the thief Gazeem.
Little is known about Jafar's past. At some point, he purchased Iago from a bazaar as his minion, as Jafar noted in The Return of Jafar. As far as Jafar's family goes, he has a twin sister named Nasira, who tried bringing her brother back to life in the game, Nasira's Revenge. She respects Jafar and the sibling bond between them is quite strong.
Jafar was portrayed as an amoral psychopath who will not hesitate to destroy anyone he perceives as a threat to his own sinister designs. Like numerous clinically-diagnosed psychopaths, Jafar wears a metaphorical mask of normalcy throughout the film, establishing himself as a cool-headed schemer and gaining the trust of those around him, despite his rather untrustworthy physical appearance. Even with this mask, Jafar's psychopathic tendencies tend to seep through and become apparent to the viewer, particularly in the opening sequence, where Jafar, outside of immediate initial anger over Gazeem the thief not being the one who is the Diamond in the Rough and thus being killed, displays no remorse in sending Gazeem to his death in the Cave of Wonders, simply proclaiming that "Gazeem was obviously less than worthy" in a rather dry tone of voice. The deleted song "Humiliate the Boy" also establishes Jafar as an emotional sadist, getting a laugh out of seeing "another fellow's dreams turn into nightmares one by one" and treating the Genie in an especially harsh manner. In addition, in The Return of Jafar, Jafar, outside of using loopholes to bypass the ban on Genies killing people via having Abis Mal arrange Aladdin's murder for him or using the environment to have death become an inevitability during the final battle, was proven to not mind the Genies can't kill rule because "you'd be surprised at what you can live through," implying that he could torture people to the fullest extent without killing them.
Jafar also displays narcissistic tendencies, his most obvious ones being his obsessive desire for power and sense of entitlement. It is not until Jafar gains control of the Genie's lamp that he fully shows his true colors, becoming arrogant and short-tempered with his subjects after usurping power from the Sultan. He also was depicted as laughing excessively and in a deranged manner shortly after banishing Aladdin to the North Pole, suggesting that Jafar was also insane and suffered from hysteria. It is this excessive thirst for power that ultimately leads to Jafar's downfall; his quest to obtain control and authority causes him to act on impulse, which in turn leaves him vulnerable to manipulation. This is a weakness that both Aladdin and Jasmine exploit during the climax. As previously stated, Jafar's lust for power often clouds his judgment and causes him to act without thinking, as seen when he wishes to become a genie as a means to gain more power and does not realize until it's too late that genies are not free entities, and must be trapped inside of a magic lamp.
Jafar can have a somewhat comical edge that helps to add some humanity to his character, for example proclaiming "Ewww..." when contemplating decapitation, a trait unusual in a Disney villain. Furthermore, Jafar has a sense of humor himself, spurting several puns in a row while keeping Aladdin and his friends from getting the lamp during the film's climax ("Your time is up!", "Don't toy with me!", "Things are unraveling fast now, boy!", "Get the point?", "I'm just getting warmed up!"), as pointed out by Hades in "Hercules and the Arabian Night".
He also was somewhat abusive towards his minions, as evidenced by his interactions with Iago and, later, Abis Mal. Ultimately, this proves to be his final downfall, as Iago ends up turning against him twice in large part because of his abuse and not giving him credit when it is due, and Abis Mal also ends up delaying his being freed from the lamp to ask Jafar about whether he's going to have the treasure disappear on him after being subject to various abuses via Abis Mal's various wishes, thus unknowingly buying enough time for the heroes to ultimately destroy Jafar and his lamp. This abuse heavily carries over to other characters in the film, especially during the climax as, following his hostile rise to power, Jafar immediately used his newfound abilities to ruthlessly torment Jasmine, the Sultan, Aladdin, and the Genie via physical abuse, humiliation, slavery, and other forms of sadistic torture, which he openly showed amusement in.
Jafar is also attracted to Princess Jasmine, but primarily for her body, and not for Jasmine herself as a person. His final wish was initially for Jasmine to fall desperately in love with him so he could make her his queen (he and Iago originally planned on killing her as soon as he became Sultan, but at some time later he refused to kill her, instead sparing her life); he first creates a golden crown for her from her shackles to do so with a wave of his hand, saying that a girl as beautiful as her "should be on the arm of the most powerful man in the world". (Much earlier, though, he says in what we would consider to be a sexist manner that Jasmine's speechlessness is "a fine quality in a wife").
Deleted scenes for the original film (such as "Why Me?") implied that most of his negative traits and motives stemmed from having to grow up impoverished and bullied on by the populace of Agrabah, making him almost similar to Aladdin, although their similarities differed in how they handled their suffering.
Jafar is a tall, bony man dressed in extravagant clothing, always seen carrying a gold, ruby-eyed, cobra headed staff to supplement his magical powers. Jafar has a twisted, black goatee and a faint mustache, as well as grey eyeliner. He was supposed to be designed as ugly, and Genie makes this obvious when he refers to him as "a tall, dark, sinister, ugly man." He is apparently completely bald, as evidenced by when he removes his beggar disguise, acting as the only time Jafar did not wear his distinctive headdress, although it was never made clear whether he was naturally bald or if he shaved his head for the disguise. He also carries a cobra-head staff, which he uses for his sorcery. Jafar was animated by Andreas Deja, who used the character Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty and the vocal performance of actor Jonathan Freeman, as basis for Jafar's design.
As Royal Vizier, Jafar wears black robes that reach the ground over top a red garment with bell sleeves. Underneath this second garment, Jafar wears yet another shirt, this one black with very close-fitting sleeves that reach his wrists. The shoulders of his outer robe are pointed and connect to a long, billowing black cape with a blood red interior. His shoes are brown and the tips curl inward. A red-violet sash is tied around his waist. He also wears an odd, light-colored garment that covers his neck, the back of his head, and his chest. He sports a distinctive black headdress, seemingly a type of mitre, with a thin, yellow pattern wrapping around the middle, what seems to be a ruby set in the front, and a bright red feather placed just above it. The headdress itself is apparently made out of metal, as evidenced by the hollow sound it made when Iago briefly knocked on it while trying to get Jafar to calm down from a laughing fit due to thinking he went insane (not realizing he was actually laughing because he realized that not only did the lamp actually survive, it's actually in close proximity due to Prince Ali, or rather, Aladdin, owning it). More red-violet cloth hangs from the miter, draping over Jafar's shoulders. As Sultan, Jafar wears a white version of this outfit.
When he's turned into a sorcerer, Jafar's wardrobe goes to a more exaggerated form of his normal attire, with a head-dress sporting horn-like protrusions. It doesn't have a red feather on it as it is used to, only conserves the ruby on the front. The shoulders of his outer robe are even pointer and maintain a higher position than before. His red-violet sash on his waist is slightly different. Here he regains his iconic snake staff, but notably with an open fanged-mouth that fires beams magic on command.
Once Jafar makes his third lamp wish, he takes on a form resembling Genie himself, with some differences. Jafar's skin becomes blood red, his ears become pointed, his right ear gains a gold piercing, his hair becomes tied in a topknot, and his eyes become completely yellow (although there are instances where Jafar gains pupils, such as in "You're Only Second Rate"), and when he uses legs, instead of his genie smoke, the legs look muscular and somewhat demonic, with claws. He retains his red-violet sash and five-fingered hands (albeit with claws, compared to Genie, who has four-fingers). When he's in his normal human form, Jafar wears a slight recolor of his sorcerer outfit, with red more prominent than before. Interestingly, his sash on his waist is seen black instead of being red. He retains his snake staff. When he guest appeared in an episode of Hercules, he regains his sorcerer outfit back.
Powers and abilities
At the start of Aladdin, despite having an extensive knowledge of arcane lore, Jafar did not seem to possess any genuine magical powers and thus could have been no more than an alchemist. The closest he had ever come to using actual magic prior to becoming a sorcerer was with his Snake staff's hypnotic properties. In the demo for Arabian Night, however, he was mentioned to be a part-time magician as well as a seer, although he was specified to be an amateur in the latter job. He was also surprisingly effective at disguising himself when he was a regular human, as evidenced by his posing as an old prisoner to recruit Aladdin into retrieving the Magic Lamp from the Cave of Wonders after arranging for his arrest, and later to trick Hercules into fighting Aladdin.
However, after wishing to become the most powerful sorcerer in the world, he could levitate objects, breath fire, summon objects, and transform himself and others. In addition, he also was immune to the effects of fire, as evidenced by his passing through the flames generated by him unharmed immediately before transforming himself into a giant Cobra. Jafar's next wish - to become a genie - made him arguably one of the most powerful entities in the Disney universe, even if he was limited to the freedom granted by his current master, to the point where he couldn't even move more than a certain distance from the lamp.
Some of his abilities as a genie, demonstrated in both his human and genie forms, were reality manipulation, teleportation of either himself or anyone and anything else, breathing underwater, superhuman strength, terrakinesis, summoning lightning bolts, superhuman endurance, shape-shifting, telekinesis, size-alteration, object conjuring, projecting fire, creating water tornadoes, and various usages of energy beams that were powerful enough to stun various opponents, in addition to the abilities he previously demonstrated in the first movie. However, after he was killed and later revived by Hades as a spirit in an episode of the Hercules animated series, Jafar no longer has his genie powers, but remains as a sorcerer, and also demonstrated the ability to generate monsters, and was nigh-immortal so long as he had his staff.
In Aladdin, Jafar is introduced as the sinister Royal Vizier to Agrabah's Sultan who desires power over the kingdom. By the start of the film, Jafar has spent years searching for the Cave of Wonders, home of the Genie's lamp. He manages to obtain one half of a Golden Scarab Beetle that—when joined—will lead its holder to the Cave of Wonders' entrance. One night, Jafar rendezvous with an underworld contact named Gazeem, whom he hired to find the second Golden Scarab Beetle half. After encountering some delays, Gazeem finally delivers the scarab. Jafar unites the scarab halves together to summon the Cave of Wonders from the sand. Jafar orders Gazeem to enter the cave to retrieve the lamp hidden within, and grants him ownership of the cave's other treasures. Once Gazeem steps into it, however, the guardian of the cave recognizes Gazeem as unworthy and closes itself off, resulting in Gazeem's death. The cave passes only a cryptic warning to Jafar relating to a Diamond in the Rough. Despite Iago's frustration, Jafar remains undeterred, and simply dedicates himself to finding this "Diamond in the Rough".
Jafar returns to Agrabah, where he learns from the Sultan that Jasmine doesn't wish to marry a prince. Jafar offers to help in exchange for the Sultan's familial sapphire ring. When the Sultan shows reluctance, Jafar uses his hypnotic snake staff to change the former's mind. After departing, Iago voices his frustration with the Sultan, but Jafar assures his accomplice that he will soon be in power. In his secret laboratory, Jafar uses the Sultan's ring to power the Sands of Time, which he uses to uncover the Diamond in the Rough. Eventually, the individual necessary to access the Cave of Wonders is identified as Aladdin. Jafar orders for Aladdin's arrest as a subtle means of recruiting him, although he did not expect Jasmine to have accompanied the street rat (she had escaped from the palace earlier to avoid having to find another prince at her doorstep). When Jasmine tries to defend Aladdin from the guards, Razoul informs the princess that his orders came from Jafar and must be taken up with him. Jasmine confronts Jafar that night, but he claims that he cannot release Aladdin as he had already been executed for his crimes of "kidnapping the princess".
With Jasmine out of the way of his plans, Jafar disguised himself as an old prisoner and snuck into the dungeon, where he offers to help Aladdin escape in exchange for aiding him in retrieving the lamp from the Cave of Wonders; Jafar assures that the cave is filled with enough treasure to "impress a princess". Aladdin accepts the deal, and together, the two travel to the cave's entrance. Aladdin is declared worthy by its guardian, and Jafar promises to hand Aladdin his reward once the lamp has been retrieved. While inside, Aladdin's pet monkey triggers the cave's downfall. Aladdin rushes to the exit, where he finds himself dangling for life. Jafar madly requests the lamp, to which Aladdin obliges. With the lamp in his possessions, Jafar attempts to give Aladdin his "reward" (death), but he is foiled when Abu bites the evil vizier on the wrist. Aladdin and Abu are nevertheless dropped into the dissolving cave and apparently die alongside it. As Jafar boasts about his victory, he finds that the lamp is missing. Hopeless to ever retrieving it, Jafar screams in anger and frustration. Unbeknownst to him, the lamp was actually stolen by Abu, who hands it over to Aladdin. By teaming up with the Genie, the two are able to escape the cave and return to Agrabah safely.
Afterwards, Jafar is reprimanded by the Sultan for executing a prisoner without his consultation (Jasmine had informed him earlier of Jafar's supposed execution of Aladdin), with Jafar swearing that it won't happen again. Although the Sultan forgave Jafar instantly, Jasmine was still furious with him, and vowed to "get rid of him" once she eventually rises up as queen. The furious Jafar takes her threats to heart, fuming over the fact that not only has he lost the lamp, but is also in danger of losing his head should he fail to somehow take control of Agrabah. As he contemplates on the matter, Iago suddenly concocts a new plot, advising Jafar to take advantage of Jasmine's enforced marriage by marrying her himself. Once he is legally dubbed sultan as a result, he can dispose of his wife and her father, ridding himself of his enemies and maintaining complete power. Jafar is enticed by the idea, and carries it through by using a fake provision in the law that would allow a royal vizier to marry a princess, as a means to "solve" the Sultan's problems of finding a suitor for Jasmine.
The Sultan, for a number of reasons, is not keen on the idea, forcing Jafar to resort to hypnosis. Before the power of the snake staff can take full effect, the Sultan is freed from his trance by the sounds of fanfare entering the city, which is revealed to belong to the flashy introductory parade of visiting suitor, Prince Ali. Jafar immediately sees Prince Ali as a rival for Jasmime's hand in marriage, and plots to secretly have him killed. That night, he orders Razoul and the guards to kidnap Ali and ensure he's never found. When he returns to the palace, Jafar successfully hypnotizes the Sultan, forcing him to abide the marriage between the former and Jasmine. Jasmine refuses, declaring that she chooses Prince Ali, but Jafar explains that "Prince Ali left", until the prince suddenly reveals himself to be alive, and accuses Jafar of attempted murder. Jafar tries to cover his crimes by hypnotizing the Sultan into believing the former's claims, only to accidentally reveal the power held by his staff, which Ali destroys. The Sultan is freed, and Ali reveals Jafar's treachery.
The furious Sultan tried to have his personal guards arrest Jafar, but he manages to escape with a smoke bomb, although not before glancing at the lamp inside Ali's turban, and is eventually able to deduce Ali's true identity. He then reveals this to Iago, and orders him to steal the lamp from Aladdin, which he succeeds in the following day. Jafar, observing the marriage announcement from his hideout, then unleashes the Genie, making him the new master of the lamp. Jafar declares his wish to become the sultan of Agrabah, and a hostile takeover commences, with a demonized Genie destructively placing Agrabah's palace on a mountain top. After not receiving the respect he desires from Jasmine and her father, Jafar wishes to become the most powerful sorcerer in the world, in order to strike fear into them instead. When Ali tries to intervene, Jafar exposes the prince's true identity as Aladdin to Jasmine as a form of humiliation. He then banishes his enemy — along with Abu and the carpet — to the arctic, to freeze to death.
Some time later, in a dystopian Agrabah, Jafar spends time torturing the former sultan, until directing his attention to Jasmine, whom he wishes to become his queen, after his first attempt to have her betrothed to him willingly fails. Although Genie tries to explain that genies can't make people fall in love, Jasmine seemingly makes the wish come true, seductively flirting with Jafar as if madly lustful towards him. Though he is too caught up in his own pleasure to realize this is a ruse, Jafar eventually discovers Aladdin trying to retrieve the lamp, merely inches away from the object at that point. Before the street rat can defeat him, Jafar fights against Aladdin with all of his powers, eliminating his aids (Jasmine, Abu, and Carpet), and pulls the lamp out of his reach.
When called a "cowardly snake" afraid to fight for himself by Aladdin, Jafar responds by transforming himself into a giant cobra, and instantly attacks. Though Aladdin proves to be a valiant warrior, Jafar eventually overwhelms him by trapping the street rat within his coils. Threatening to crush him to death, Jafar taunts Aladdin's helplessness, though the latter retorts by claiming Jafar isn't as powerful as he wishes to believe, claiming the Genie is still the most powerful being in the universe as he gave Jafar his power in the first place and can also take it away. Realizing what Aladdin says is true, Jafar's lust for power prompts him to use his final wish to become an all-powerful genie. Genie reluctantly grants the wish, and Jafar is turned into a monstrous genie with blood-red skin, subsequently seizing control of the cosmos and declaring himself ruler of the universe. However, Aladdin notifies Jafar that the power of a genie comes with a price, revealing that the evil genie is now equipped with his own black lamp prison, which quickly begins to suck him inside after placing manacles on his wrists to indicate his new imprisonment. Jafar tries to escape by grabbing onto Iago's tail feathers, but to no avail, merely dragging the panicked Iago to imprisonment alongside him.
Foiled and trapped by his own greed, Jafar's magic over Agrabah and its inhabitants are undone, and peace is restored within the kingdom. Jafar's lamp is left in Aladdin's possession, who hands the lamp over to Genie, who sends the lamp flying to the Cave of Wonders, where the bickering Jafar and Iago would be forced to remain, as prisoners, for no less than 10,000 years.
After spending some time in the sunken Cave of Wonders, Jafar's Lamp is flown to the surface by Iago, who manages to free himself from it. Jafar then orders him to free him as well, but Iago becomes frustrated by his owner's cruel treatment and being taken for granted, so after having a bitter argument, he drops the lamp down a well and flies away. His lamp is later found by one of Aladdin's enemies, a bandit named Abis Mal, who rubs it, finally setting Jafar free and also, inadvertently, saving Abis Mal from his own troops turning on him due to his earlier abuse towards them.
Because his genie form can't directly kill Aladdin due to its inherent limitations, and since he can't actually travel outside of close proximity of the lamp, he attempts to arrange for Abis Mal to do it for him. However, Abis Mal is terrified of his genie form and is at a loss for words, so Jafar transforms into his human form to communicate with him better. Abis Mal demands his three wishes straight away, but Jafar, after initially venting his powers in anger at Abis Mal's defiance and nearly striking at him, decides to trick him into wasting his first two wishes in order to force him to assist in his plot for revenge against Aladdin in order to get his third wish or he will wish he had "never been born", but continues to say that if he cooperates he will see that he is amply rewarded. Abis Mal, having earlier encountered Aladdin, tells him he would've assisted him anyway after learning this due to sharing a mutual desire for revenge against him as well.
After Abis Mal infiltrates the palace without being spotted by the guards, Jafar then notices Iago with Aladdin and Jasmine, and decides to exploit Iago's new friendship to factor into his plot for revenge against Aladdin. Jafar then arrives to reunite with Iago and, after assuring the terrified bird that he has no intention of exacting revenge on him for his earlier actions, demands him to lure Aladdin and the Sultan into a trap. Iago successfully gets Aladdin and Sultan to go for a flight on Carpet and while they're gone, Jafar invades the palace and begins to torment Genie and Abu. After the torture, he captures the two and begins the next part of his plan.
Aladdin, Sultan, Carpet, and Iago reach the destination and, what seems to be a peaceful and relaxing area, turns out to be a death trap as the Sultan is kidnapped by hooded men on magic flying horses (actually all Jafar in disguise, save for Abis Mal). Aladdin threatens Iago, saying he'll deal with him later, and rushes off on Carpet to save the Sultan. Aladdin fails and is thrown down a waterfall by Abis Mal, but rescued by Jafar. Abis Mal is in shock, but Jafar explains their act of revenge isn't completed just yet, making it clear that having him dashed against the waterfall rocks wasn't what he had in mind for revenge. Jafar frames Aladdin for the murder of the Sultan, who's really being held in captivity by Jafar. Presumably, he also tricked Jasmine in order to capture her as well. Jafar disguised himself as Jasmine and ordered the guards into executing Aladdin at dawn in order to ensure that the plan worked. Jafar disguises himself as Jasmine again and, right before Aladdin's execution via decapitation, Jafar reveals himself to torture Aladdin even more. However, unknown to him, Iago, consumed with guilt for helping Jafar set up his new friends, frees Genie, who saves Aladdin in the nick of time from getting beheaded by Razoul, who Jafar tricked into believing that he had murdered the Sultan.
At the palace, Jafar rewards Abis Mal with all of the treasure his heart desired, with the only thing he requests in return is for Abis Mal to grant his freedom. Before he can, however, Abis Mal ends up interrupting his own wish to wonder whether Jafar is sincere, thus resulting in Jafar issuing a threat to Abis Mal to torture him if he doesn't. Shortly afterwards, the lamp is taken by Aladdin and his friends, who know that the only way to destroy him is to destroy his lamp. Jafar, outraged that Aladdin is still alive, transforms into his genie form and battles the heroes, confident that they'll never destroy him because of his great power. He creates a wasteland in the palace's garden with pits of lava as a trap for Aladdin and knocks Genie unconscious. When it seems like he's succeeding, Iago unexpectedly comes to the rescue. Jafar is furious at this betrayal and tries to attack him as well. He badly weakens his former ally, teasing Aladdin about good help being hard to find, but with his last ounce of strength, Iago kicks the lamp into the lava, which results in Jafar being violently electrocuted and then imploding into a cloud of dust, destroying him for good. Peace is restored once more and Iago is welcomed into Aladdin's home.
Because of his ultimate demise in The Return of Jafar, Jafar made no physical appearances in the television series. However, he was often mentioned by the cast, mostly Iago. His secret lair in the palace remained intact even after his death, and the heroes occasionally explored it to find new, magical ways to defeat a powerful enemy. An antagonist in the series named Mozenrath, is a powerful sorcerer who Iago often called "Jafar, Jr." because of the similarities.
In the film series' final installment, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Jafar makes no physical appearance but is briefly mentioned by Genie in the film's opening song "There's a Party Here in Agrabah". Genie believes that with Jafar gone, there is no possible way the wedding of Aladdin and Jasmine can be interrupted by trouble. At this point, Genie is also seen wearing and holding a Jafar mask.
Due to his previous demise, he no longer had his genie powers and was an ordinary sorcerer again. The two villains teamed up to eliminate their enemies. Using his godly abilities, Hades enchanted Jafar's snake staff with the ability to transform the former vizier into a living man, once again. Should Jafar lose hold of the staff, however, he'll revert back into a lifeless spirit. Jafar visited the island of Hercules' hero trainer Philoctetes, where he summoned several giant beasts to battle Hercules. However, Hercules was able to defeat the creatures, sending Jafar back to the Underworld. Meanwhile, Hades sent his lackeys, Pain and Panic, to do away with Aladdin and friends, but Aladdin proved too clever for Hades' imps, so Jafar and Hades concocted yet another plot which involved kidnapping Abu, and Hercules' friend Icarus, and then telling Aladdin and Hercules that each other was the kidnapper, and having them battle each other.
Jafar himself was responsible for getting Hercules involved, using his old prisoner's disguise to trick Hercules into thinking that Icarus was kidnapped by Aladdin, although Hades inadvertently nearly ruined the disguise shortly afterwards by removing the cloak. Eventually, the heroes caught on to the plot after Hercules informed Aladdin of Jafar's revival. In the Underworld, Jafar battled both Aladdin and Hercules, but the heroes defeated him once more, and when Hercules broke his staff, Jafar was sealed in the River Styx forever.
Despite his death, Jafar also had a recurring role on House of Mouse, typically seen alongside Iago.
He appears as the main antagonist in Mickey's House of Villains, in which he relieved the villains of the Halloween boredom at the House of Mouse by taking it over and transforming it into the House of Villains. However, Jafar is later sealed into his magic lamp and the other villains flee with their most powerful member defeated. Jafar also went on a date with Maleficent in one episode and ended up getting burned by her literally. Many fans noted that the two characters possessed many similarities. The two are often compared as both have regal bearing, bird side-kicks, are exceeding tall and dress in long, dark robes and peculiar head-wear.
Two additional notable appearances on the show are on "Donald's Lamp Trade" where he tricks Donald into thinking Mickey's not his friend so he can obtain a lamp. Donald steals Genie's lamp from the prop basement when in reality Jafar wanted Mickey's lamp. In "House of Magic", in which he and Iago use the famous magic spell Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo to return the House of Mouse after Daisy Duck magically causes it to vanish, and were tricked by Mickey to receive "Agrabah" as a reward for their good deeds. Another appearance of his was in "Pete's House of Villains", where Pete took over the House of Mouse and placed Jafar as the doorman, replacing Donald Duck. He abuses his power by banning the cast of Aladdin (sans Jasmine), which in turn costs Pete business. Pete fires Jafar because of this, and in response, Jafar scorches Pete by blasting a magical fire spell to burn him.
While not appearing physically, Jafar is featured vocally in the Inside the Genie's Lamp and The Genie World Tour animated shorts featured on the Aladdin Platinum and Diamond Edition DVD releases.
Jafar makes a brief, non-speaking cameo in the animated short Electric Holiday, watching in the crowd as Disney character models walked down the runway.
An emoticon version of Jafar appeared in the Aladdn entry of the As Told by Emoji short series. After being tricked into becoming a genie, he becomes trapped in the smartwatch that initially held Genie captive.
Jafar is one of the two primary antagonists of the Once Upon a Time spin off. He is played by Naveen Andrews.
In his early life, he was the "bastard child" of the Sultan that was abandoned by him. Jafar's mother Ulima (who worked as a Healer) died when Jafar was young and he is sent to a palace to meet his father. Jafar attempts to steal a guard's dagger, though he is caught and brought before the Sultan. The Sultan learns from Jafar that Ulima is dead, and thus allows Jafar to stay at the palace as a servant to the Royal Family, though he must not call him father. Jafar later accidentally breaks this rule, causing the Sultan to almost drown him and leave him in a garbage dump. He is then taken in by a blacksmith, who constantly punishes him. One day, Jafar encounters a sorceress named Amara (colloquially known as "the Serpent") with whom he trains to take revenge on the Sultan. As his training progresses, he lets a man named Alik die from a poisoned wine in order to learn spells. Amara and Jafar plan to obtain genie magic to become the most powerful sorcerers in the world. Jafar and Amara successfully obtain a genie bottle each, though Jafar learns of a third in Agrabah. He then tricks Amara, transforming her into a snake and converting into his staff. Jafar later confronts the Sultan where he kills the Sultan's heir Mirza.
Ten years later, Jafar forms an alliance with the Red Queen, though he only uses her as a pawn to bring Alice to Wonderland. He then attempts to kill the Red Queen until she reminds him that she is the only one who knows of Alice's location. In a flashback, it is shown that Alice's love Cyrus was saved from being thrown into the Boiling Sea by Jafar (who had his magic carpet appear beneath Cyrus), who is now keeping him prisoner in his home. Following Cyrus' escape and the plot to use Edwin to have Alice use her second wish, it is revealed that the Old Prisoner also in Jafar's home is the Sultan. Jafar keeps him from falling to his doom, keeping him alive long enough to witness his final move on Alice. The Red Queen's servant is shown to have an allegiance with Jafar, stealing Cyrus' genie bottle from her palace and giving it to Jafar. However, Jafar soon realizes this to be a fake, and casts a storm to kill the Red Queen, who captures Cyrus and orders him to locate the pair to Alice.
There, they meet the Knave and White Rabbit, and the Red Queen pleads for Alice to order the White Rabbit to create a portal to escape, though Alice demands to know why she formed an allegiance with Jafar to begin with. She reveals the reason to be because she wants Jafar to change the Laws of Magic in order to go back in time and stay with Will. Alice reluctantly orders White Rabbit to dig, though a lightning bolt rebounds from the Red Queen's genie bottle and injures the Knave. Because of Alice's first wish, she temporarily dies in Cyrus' arms, until the Knave makes Alice's final wish by wishing for her suffering to stop. Alice awakens and learns that the Knave has freed Cyrus from his genie status, though the Knave trades his place within the bottle.
Jafar later claims the bottle from the Red Queen and prepares to use his magic to tap into the genie magics. When he is unable to, Jafar finds out that the Knave of Hearts doesn't have his heart in him after it was removed by Cora and plans to claim it. Even though Jafar manages to claim the Knave of Hearts' heart, his staff suddenly works against him causing Jafar to retreat. Upon placing the Knave of Hearts' heart back into his body, Jafar then stabs the Red Queen.
When Jafar invokes the ritual with the three bottles, he gains the ability to change the laws of magic. His first act was to make his father love him like he should've been loved before making water appear in his father's lungs. After pinning the Jabberwocky to the wall with the Vorpal Blade, Jafar raises an army of previously dead soldiers to help in his conquest of Wonderland. When it came to the fight at the Well of Wishes, Jafar dissolved Amara into the water she planned to return to Nyx. When Alice makes her attempt to return the water in order to break Nyx's genie curse, Jafar steals the water from Alice. This results in Nyx evoking the genie curse on Jafar and sending his bottle to another location. Once that was done, Jafar's change on the laws of magic were undone.
20 years after being imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, Jafar has taken to making a living as a shopkeeper. Jafar has Jay steal from the other residents to keep the store stocked. When Jafar notices that one of the stolen objects is a lamp Jay had brought him, he eagerly and excitedly tries to rub it; hoping for it to be a magic one in which he can supposedly get three wishes from a genie again but when his son tells him that he already tried that himself and it didn't work, he throws it away in anger. He, along with his friends, the Evil Queen, Cruella, and Maleficent have statues fabricated in the Cultural History museum in Auradon. Later, when talking to their kids through video chat, Jafar laughed at Cruella for getting "burned"/dissed by her son, Carlos. This mockery later led all four villains to squabble in embarrassment in front of their kids.
Jafar appears in the sixth season of Once Upon a Time as an antagonist. Naveen Andrews, who portrayed Jafar in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, was unable to reprise the role, and Jafar is instead portrayed by Oded Fehr.
Jafar has regularly appeared in various printed media throughout the years. After the release of the original film, he was featured in a sequel story, similar to Return of Jafar, where he and Iago were freed from the lamp and plotted revenge against Aladdin and friends.
Jafar appears in the fourth and fifth book of the saga. In Power Play he encounters Maybeck and Willa at the Morocco Pavilion in one of their missions. He first appears as a fragile old man but then reveals his true appearance and asks for the "window magic" of the Keepers. He also seems in opposition or in a sub-division of Maleficent's Overtakers. After he shows he can turn into a cobra, like in the movie, to threaten them, Willa uses a flute in an exhibition to "charm" Jafar and she and Maybeck run away. In Shell Game he seems to have joined Maleficent and is seen in Castaway Cay speaking to Tia Dalma. According to him, Maleficent had promised him the lamp, something which he has not yet received. He also despises signing autograph, something he finds "an insult to my dignity". He also seems to be on good terms with Tia Dalma, as he says to her "Go in peace", to which she responds in kind. Here it is revealed that his Cobra staff can transform into a real cobra and into a wooden stick, which he uses to protect the surrounding areas.
The Liz Braswell novel tells an alternate story in which Jafar successfully retrieves the lamp after tricking Aladdin into entering the Cave of Wonders. Having made his canonical first two wishes, only learning of the three things the genie cannot do after he attempts to make his third wish to make Jasmine fall in love with him, he subsequently seizes control of Agrabah, becoming a tyrant and forcing the kingdom's citizens into living in crippling fear of his rule. Aladdin and Jasmine, meanwhile, form a rebellion against Jafar, teamed with various street rats from Agrabah's underworld. In the course of the novel, Jafar acquires various magic books and artefacts that allows him to create an army of ghouls, as well as sacrificing Iago for additional power and unravelling the Carpet so that some of the threads can be used to make key soldiers fly. Reference is also made to his childhood, where he states that he was sold as a child and does not even remember his family name, stating that all his original parents left him was his first name and he had to work his way into power. He is finally defeated in a last confrontation when Jasmine's makeshift army distracts his ghoul forces, as he lacks any tactical skills. However, his final wish is that all magic will die with him, turning the genie into a human and causing his army to collapse.
Jafar has also appeared in books centering the Disney Villains franchise such as The Villain Files, and some centering the Disney Princesses, such as Kilala Princess. He is also in the two Descendants novels, Descendants: Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel.
Jafar is a primary focus in the game where his villainous sister Nasira plots on gaining revenge on Aladdin for the murder of her brother, and plans on bringing Jafar back from the dead in the process. She succeeds in turning the kingdom of Agrabah against Aladdin through magic, imprisons the Sultan, Genie, and Jasmine, and nearly succeeds in her plot until Aladdin reaches her lair then's foils her, killing Jafar once again.
Jafar is a recurring villain in four installments of the Kingdom Hearts video game series. He is a member of Maleficent's group, and appears to be her second-in-command. His eventual genie form returns in this game series, but for some reason the snake form he obtains before even becoming a genie does not.
In Kingdom Hearts, he uses the Heartless (courtesy of Maleficent) to successfully take over Agrabah; however, he was unable to find the Keyhole to his world as well as Jasmine, the sixth Princess of Heart, who had managed to escape the takeover. By the time Aladdin is rescued by Sora, Donald, and Goofy, Jafar manages to kidnap Jasmine and steals the lamp from Aladdin before he can save her, forcing Genie to work for him. In the Cave of Wonders, he wishes for the Keyhole to be revealed, and then uses his second wish for Genie to crush Sora and friends when they arrive as they engage Jafar and Genie in battle. However, despite his mastery of fire and ice spells he uses against them, the group is able to defeat Jafar. Losing, Jafar uses his last wish to become a genie himself out of desperation. But even with his newfound power, Jafar ends up getting sucked into his lamp after Sora and the others manage to retrieve it from Iago when he drops it after passing out from exhaustion.
Jafar returns in Chain of Memories as a figment of Sora's memory. In order to get the lamp, he tricked Aladdin to get the lamp in an attempt to make Jasmine marry him. When Jafar stole the lamp from Aladdin, his first wish was to have Jasmine in his clutches, his second being for Genie to protect him from a sneak attack led by Sora and Aladdin, and his third wish was to become an all-powerful Genie. He teleported Sora and his friends to the center of the earth and attacked them. His attacks were similar to that seen in the first game, except ice could not damage him. Instead of attacking Jafar directly, Sora attacks Iago, grabbing the lamp, and trapped Jafar inside like the previous encounter. He also appeared in Riku's story representing Riku's dark memories.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Iago has managed to escape from the lamp while Jafar was still trapped within in the lamp. Eventually, the Peddler finds the lamp, but Pete later steals it so that Jafar can be released and turned into a Heartless. While chasing the Peddler, Iago intervenes and snatches the lamp, enabling the group to seal Jafar's lamp away. Unfortunately, the Peddler was later manipulated and found Jafar's lamp again, releasing him. Jafar then forces Iago to keep Sora occupied while Jafar kidnapped Jasmine. Once Sora and Aladdin discover the ruse, they return to the Palace to find Jafar with an incarcerated Jasmine. Upon discovery, Jafar attacks Aladdin, but hits Iago instead, who falls unconscious. Jafar then turns into his genie form to finish off Sora once and for all, but he is defeated and explodes while his lamp dissolves into darkness.
Jafar returns within Jiminy Cricket's Journal's data in Kingdom Hearts coded.
Along with Captain Hook, Jafar has his essence drained from the Cartoon World for the Heart Power it can give Mizrabel to escape Wasteland. He serves as the second boss in the story, having been given a room in the castle by Mizrabel, who claimed to have turned him into the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Jasmine was even given to him. After being beaten in his cobra form, Jafar reverts and realizes that Mizrabel was just using him. Much like Hook before him, Jafar abides by Mickey's request to stay in his room and not bother the non-villainous characters that need to be saved.
When sent home to reunite with his cartoon self, Jafar is told taking care of his friends it more important than power by Jiminy Cricket. Not really getting the cricket's message, Jafar says he's right as it's good to have friends in high places; he needed to get back and help the Sultan, who's helpless without him. A not-entirely false statement.
In the Aladdin story, Jafar escapes his lamp. The laws of the Kingdom strips away his genie powers, however, forcing him to find an alternative source of power in his quest to eliminate Aladdin. He eventually decides to consume the magic within the Kingdom and use it to create a curse that will destroy the Kingdom. Aladdin and his allies team up to stop Jafar, and successfully foil his plot. Afterward, he laments his defeat, but nevertheless swears to have his revenge eventually.
In the Broadway adaptation of the film, Jafar is notably portrayed by his voice actor Jonathan Freeman, and plays out a role fairly similar to that of the 1992 animated film, but with a few key differences.
In this version, Iago is no longer a parrot, but instead Jafar's diminutive human assistant. Along with this, the vizier is given several new musical numbers to accompany his original reprise of "Prince Ali" including "Diamond in the Rough" and "Why Me?", a song originally meant for the film, to take place during Jafar's hostile takeover, though it was cut due to time restrictions, among other things.
His three wishes differed in the musical than the film; his first wish was to make Jasmine his prisoner, second was to become sultan (though not to rule high, so the palace stayed where it was) and the third, like the film, was to become a genie.
Also notable, during the climax, Jafar doesn't turn into a snake, though he retains his transformation into a genie via Aladdin's quick-thinking.
Jafar appears occasionally in the Disney theme parks as a meetable character.
Jafar appeared as the main antagonist of the Broadway-style adaptation of the original film, Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular in Disney California Adventure. One notable moment includes time taken from the show's plot to focus on the Genie's various remarks at Jafar's expense.
In the 2015 rendition of World of Color, Jafar was featured during the brief montage celebrating villains.
In the Disney's Hollywood Studios version of Fantasmic!, Jafar is summoned by The Evil Queen when she plots to destroy Mickey Mouse and take over Disney. In the show, Jafar turns into his snake form in an attempt to eat Mickey. When the villains get the upper hand, Jafar becomes a Genie. Soon Mickey saves the day and Jafar is killed off along with everyone else.
In Disney Villains Mix and Mingle at the Magic Kingdom, Jafar is summoned by Maleficent along with other villains. In the show Jafar and the villains celebrate Halloween with music and mingling. As of 2011, Jafar no longer appears, having been replaced by Frollo, with Dr. Facilier becoming the host.
In Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Jafar appears in Adventureland and is released from his lamp by Hades (referring to himself as Prince Azure) to be recruited to help find the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom. Secretly however, Jafar plans on stealing back his lamp from Hades so that he can wish him free and may answer to no one, and trap Hades in the Cave of Wonders. Jafar uses a diamond ring from Iago to locate the crystal. Before he can retrieve it, Merlin the Wizard interferes. Hades orders Jafar to eliminate Merlin but the villain himself finds Merlin to be elusive. Jafar meets the heroic park guests set to abolish Hades' plans. Jafar sends a snake to battle the guests. While the guests were in battle, Jafar managed to kidnap Merlin and imprison him in a lamp. Together, Genie and the guests travel to the Cave of Wonders, where Jafar and the crystal are found. A battle follows, ending with Jafar being sucked back into his lamp by Merlin. Jafar, as a genie, is summoned by Hades at the final battle against the park guests. However, when the villains meet their defeat, Jafar and the other were all sucked into Merlin's Crystal of the Magic Kingdom.
In the Halloween stage show at the Magic Kingdom, Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, Jafar is one of the "frightful friends" Maleficent conjures to help The Sanderson Sisters with their party potion. During the finale of the show, Jafar and the others joined the sisters in singing "I Put a Spell on You".
In Happily Ever After, Jafar briefly appears in his snake form, seen battling Aladdin.
Jafar was also one of the featured villains during the resort's 2015 Halloween celebration.
In France, Jafar has made numerous appearances in shows centering Disney villains, such as Disney's Maleficious Halloween Party. In Adventureland, he appears as a snake and a genie in the final windows of the walkthrough attraction Le Passage Enchanté d'Aladdin. He also appears as his normal self in the "Prince Ali"-inspired display.
Jafar took part of the park's Halloween event, Villains Night Out!, where he served as the co-lead in the mini-parade alongside the Evil Queen.
Jafar can also be seen turning into a genie during the final scene of The Nightmare Experiment.
Aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Dream cruise ships, Jafar makes an appearance at the very end of Villains Tonight during Hot Talk, a spoof on popular talk shows. Here, Iago was interviewed to speak his mind about Jafar. After a series of disrespectful comments, Jafar appears but reveals to Iago that deep down, he still sees him as his best friend. Jafar is lastly seen during the finale song "Villains Tonight".
Differences from the source material
There were several differences between his role in the Disney film and the original Aladdin tale in 1001 Arabian Nights:
- In the original story, the wicked magician and the Vizier were two different characters. The vizier only wanted to obstruct Aladdin's marriage to the princess because his son was marrying her. The magician was the true villain. The movie combined the two characters.
- In some versions of the original tale, Jafar's name was Abanazar.
- In the original tale, the wicked magician fooled Aladdin into thinking he was his long lost uncle. In the Disney film, Jafar fools him by disguising himself as an imprisoned beggar.
- In addition, the magician in the original tale abandoned Aladdin in the cave because Aladdin could not give him the lamp, since he was weighed down with the jewels he had taken from the cave. In the film, Jafar tried to kill him simply because Aladdin outlived his usefulness after getting the lamp from him.
- In the original tale, the magician discovered that Aladdin had the lamp by deducing him as the prince after hearing the news that he'll wed the Princess. In the film, Jafar discovered Aladdin had the lamp after Aladdin revealed his treachery.
- In addition, the wicked magician originally got the lamp from Aladdin by deceiving the princess with a "new lamps for old" trick, while in the Disney version, he had Iago retrieve the lamp by distracting him via mimicking Jasmine's voice.
- Neither the Vizier nor the Magician became a genie as his downfall in the original tale. Instead, Aladdin outsmarted him with help from his ring genie, which the magician had originally given him as protection before he entered the cave.
- Similarly, the magician in the original tale was actually killed in the story instead of transforming into a Genie, due to being poisoned by the princess and then slain with the sword by Aladdin. This plot point was subtly referenced late in the film (see Trivia for more details).
- In the original tale, both the magician and the vizier were of African ethnicity. In the movie, Jafar is Middle Eastern like the rest of them.
- Jafar's sorcerer outfit was originally going to be blue as shown in the storyboards of Why Me?.
- As evidenced in The Return of Jafar, once he's a genie, Jafar begins to have more exaggerated facial expressions, whereas he was very restricted and stern in human form. This is probably because this is a natural possibility of genies.
- "Jafar" means "stream" in Arabic.
- Jafar was not only inspired by the three villains of the original story (the Vizier, his son, and the African Sorcerer), but also by Jaffar, the first main villain of the Prince of Persia saga. Years later, Zervant, the main villain of The Sands of Time, assumed a very similar appearance, complete with a magical staff.
- Another inspiration was a real Persian Vizier named Ja'far ibn Yahya Barmaki.
- Sir Patrick Stewart was originally offered the role as Jafar's voice but had to decline due to scheduling difficulties, noted by himself as something he now regrets.
- Jafar's death is one of the slightly more graphic deaths of a Disney villain, where he behaves in a manner similar to electrocution as his lamp melts and his skeleton can even be seen.
- The DVD release, however, censors this by removing several frames of his skeleton (though the last two scenes of his skeleton remain intact) This is due by the fact that the frame rate of the DVD version is different from the VHS since the parts of his skeleton flicker in a different frame rate from the last two scenes.
- The old heretic in The Hunchback of Notre Dame resembles Jafar in his old beggar disguise.
- Jafar's eventual refusal to kill Jasmine (making her his personal slave and offering the chance to become his queen) may be the only instance that the former vizier has goodness of heart in him (although it can be debated he was only doing this out of selfish desires).
- During the scene where Genie is discussing his wish for freedom, he briefly transforms into a red, sinister-looking form similar to what Jafar would assume at the climax, even adopting a similar cosmic background and body language. Whether this is intentional on Disney's part or not is unknown.
- Both Genie's description of what Genies entail and the scene of Jafar's transformation in the climax were homages to the Disney educational short Our Friend the Atom.
- Jafar's defeat in Mickey's House of Villains is similar to that of the original film; he gets sucked into the lamp, albeit in sorcerer form rather than in genie form, and the one who trapped Jafar in the lamp was Sorcerer Mickey.
- Originally, when he made his wish to become sultan, Jafar did more than merely steal the Sultan's attire and have Genie place the palace atop a mountain behind them: He also unleashed a shock wave that resulted in history being altered to make it appear as though Jafar had been the sultan all along instead of usurping the position from the actual Sultan. The only ones immune to this and retaining knowledge of what really happened were the Magic Carpet (due to being immune to the effects of the wave), Aladdin and Abu (the latter two being covered by the Magic Carpet at the last second). This plot point was cut due to it being too confusing, although a similar plot point would eventually be enacted in the Aladdin TV series via the character Sadira against Princess Jasmine, and the ones immune to the spell were Iago, Abu and Rajah due to Sadira neglecting to include animals in the spell.
- Jafar was originally going to transform into a giant snake again in The Return of Jafar, but it was scrapped.
- Before Jonathan Freeman was cast, Tim Curry, Kelsey Grammer, John Hurt, Christopher Lloyd and Ian McKellen were also considered for the role of Jafar.