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The Return of Jafar
May 20, 1994
Walt Disney Television Animation
The Return of Jafar (also called Aladdin: The Return of Jafar) is a 1994 American animated film that is a direct-to-video sequel to the 1992 animated film, Aladdin, both produced by The Walt Disney Company. The film was released on May 20, 1994 and serves as the origin of the Aladdin animated series. Another direct-to-video sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, followed in 1996.
The story opens with a band of robbers arriving in their hideout with their latest spoils. Just as their incompetent leader, Abis Mal, decides to keep most of the gold and treasures for himself, much to the anger of his men, Aladdin and Abu steal the treasures back and distribute most of it among the poor of Agrabah - with the exception of a jewel flower, which Aladdin intends to give to Jasmine. Upon their arrival, Jasmine announces to Aladdin a surprise which the Sultan intends to reveal during dinner.
Meanwhile, in the desert, Iago manages to dig himself and Jafar's genie lamp out of the sand, into which the Genie had fired them. Jafar orders Iago to release him at once, but Iago, tired of being treated badly, throws the lamp into a nearby well. He returns to Agrabah, hoping to convince Aladdin that Jafar had forced him into his service by hypnosis, but Aladdin is not fooled and tries to capture him. While chasing Iago, Aladdin has a run-in with Abis Mal and some of his men, but Iago, who is fed up with suffering from bad treatment yet again, interferes, saving Aladdin's life in the process. Now willing to give Iago a fair chance, Aladdin returns with him to the palace, where they are greeted by Genie, who has returned from seeing the world.
That night, the Sultan announces that he wants to make Aladdin his new grand vizier. Trying to draw on the good mood, Aladdin attempts to persuade the Sultan to forgive Iago, but Iago inadvertently ruins the dinner when Rajah chases him into the room. The Sultan and Jasmine are furious, and Jasmine leaves the room heartbroken that Aladdin did not trust even her about this. With Iago's help, though, Jasmine eventually reconciles with Aladdin.
Meanwhile, Jafar, by luck, is found by Abis Mal. As Jafar is a genie, he is bound by the rules of obedience to his master and thus handicapped by Abis Mal's habitual incompetence. Jafar desires to be free so that he can get revenge on Aladdin, but needs Mal's cooperation to do this. With the use of trickery, Jafar still asserts his power by tricking Abis Mal into wasting two of his wishes before making him return to Agrabah; Abis Mal willingly goes along with Jafar in order to get his own revenge on Aladdin. Once in the palace, Jafar reveals himself to Iago and forces him to play along with his plans. The next day, Aladdin and the Sultan depart to have a discussion at a place suggested by Iago. After they leave, Jafar confronts the Genie and Abu in the Palace gardens and shows his power, imprisoning the pair.
Meanwhile, Aladdin has a talk with the Sultan that earns his acceptance as the future grand vizier. When Aladdin thanks Iago, he is ambushed by Abis Mal and Jafar, the latter disguised as a squad of flying horsemen. The Sultan is kidnapped and Aladdin thrown into the raging river. Jafar, however, spares his life in order to exact his revenge in the most painful way possible: by splitting him away from all his loved ones. To this purpose, he leaves fake evidence and masks himself as Jasmine to implicate Aladdin with the alleged murder of the Sultan, and Aladdin is thrown into the dungeon, to be executed by beheading come morning.
In the dungeon, Jasmine and the others berate Iago for betraying them, but their anger is quickly forgotten when Iago chooses to attempt to free Genie so he can save Aladdin. Iago succeeds just in time, and the Genie frees the others. Once free, Aladdin decides to attempt to stop Jafar. Genie tells Aladdin that, in order to destroy Jafar, his lamp must be destroyed before Abis Mal wishes him free. Iago chooses not to face Jafar, and the others let him go without blame on account of their new freedom.
Jafar and Abis Mal celebrate Aladdin's death, and Jafar asks Abis Mal to use his third wish to set him free, but Abis Mal hesitates, suspicious of Jafar's motives. During their argument, Aladdin and the others try to steal the lamp, but are eventually discovered, and Jafar blows them out of the throne room into the palace garden. Abis Mal is caught on a tree branch, and the lamp falls to the ground. Aladdin, Jasmine, the Genie, Abu and Carpet engage Jafar in combat, but even when bound by the rules of the Genie, he easily outmatches them, using his tremendous powers to stop them from getting the lamp. His indiscriminate use of power opens a fissure in the ground which is filled with magma. Thoroughly trapped, Aladdin, Jasmine, the Genie, and Abu face certain death when suddenly Iago reappears and grabs the lamp. Jafar blasts him, leaving him for dead, but Iago manages to recover for a moment and uses his last ounce of strength to kick the lamp into the magma. The lamp melts upon landing in the magma, and thus Jafar meets his end by violently imploding into a cloud of dust.
To the joy of all, Iago recovers from his injuries, since it is among a Genie's set of laws that he can't use his powers to kill. Amidst the celebration, however, Aladdin announces to the Sultan that he is not yet ready to become a grand vizier, because first he wants to see the world. Jasmine declares that she will join him, but Iago objects to this and continues to rant as the film ends. Abis Mal, meanwhile, is still hanging on a tree branch, dismayed that he will never get his third wish with Jafar and his lamp gone.