In the recently released Disney+ short film Once Upon a Studio, Robin Williams appears as Genie, thanks to archival footage and Williams’ estate.

Producer Bradford Simonsen told Variety that the team behind the short film knew from the beginning they wanted Williams’ iconic role to be included. His estate was reached out by Disney about using archival footage from the original film in the short, according to the producer.

Photo: Once Upon a Studio (2023) – Directed by Dan Abraham /

“We tried to take them on the journey with us to say, ‘We’ve got this very special short that we’re doing. Robin as the genie means so much to so many people and we would really love to involve him,” said Simonsen. “So (director Dan Abraham) listened to the outtakes from the original recording and he found those little bites that we could use. We went back to the estate and said, ‘This is what we hope to do.’ (Artist Eric Goldberg), who originally animated the genie is on the show, and he’s going to be part of it.’ And it was wonderful to see that happen.”

The result sees Williams’ portrayal of Genie return for a brief moment amongst other Disney characters. Fans can watch the short film now on Disney+ to see some more of Williams’ portrayal of the character in 1992.

What is Once Upon a Studio about?

Created for Disney’s 100th anniversary, the short sees Mickey Mouse corralling a gallery of legendary Disney characters for a group photo.

Watch Once Upon a Studio (2023) Trailer

The film was directed by Dan Abraham and Trent Correy and produced by Yvett Merino and Bradford Simonsen.

Where to Watch Once Upon a Studio?

You can watch “Once Upon a Studio” on Disney+ and Hulu. The short film is now available for streaming on these platforms. If you don’t have a subscription, you can start a free trial on Disney+ to watch “Once Upon a Studio” along with other popular TV shows, movies, and Hulu Originals. Additionally, “Once Upon a Studio” is also playing theatrically in front of the Disney100 special engagement of “Moana,” which is currently showing in theaters until October 26. So, you have multiple options to enjoy this spectacular tribute to Disney’s legacy!



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