Iago is the secondary antagonist in Disney's 1992 animated feature film Aladdin. In its 1994 direct-to-video sequel The Return of Jafar, Iago reformed and served as a supporting protagonist for the remainder of the franchise (though he is still depicted as an antagonist in other media).
Iago's past is mostly shrouded in mystery. However, it has been hinted at a few times. In Return of Jafar, Jafar noted that he purchased Iago in the bazaar at some point in his life.
Screenwriter Terry Rossio shared a concept behind Iago on his website Wordplay, in that Jafar took all his emotions and transferred them into his parrot, leaving him free of distractions and thus more able to conjure magic. Rossio also mentioned, since Iago is too small for so many emotions to be bottled up inside, "you end up with a feathered Gilbert Gottfried." 
He is part of a royal menagerie in Arabin city Agrabah and is named after the villain Iago in the play Othello by William Shakespeare, as evidenced by a mention in the TV series, revealing that he has a twin brother called Othello.
- “Conscience? Never had one. Never!”
Iago is a parrot heavily resembling a Scarlet Macaw. He can speak fluent English and has the ability to perfectly mimic other characters' voices including Jafar's, possibly due to his 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knowledge of magical lore learned from Jafar, which often comes in handy as Genie's magical knowledge is 10,000 years out of date.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 such as "That does it. All reports are in. Life is now officially unfair.". 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 normally 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 squawk "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 and doesn't always think all of his plans to get said treasure all the way through due to his overeagerness to get his hands (or wings in this case) on it, which causes some problems. 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 pet parrot, 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. He briefly saw Aladdin trying to sneak to the lamp and attempted to warn Jafar (who was distracted by Jasmine, who also saw Aladdin return), but was silenced by Abu. When Jasmine kissed Jafar, Iago ultimately agreed with Abu regarding disgust with Jafar and Jasmine kissing. 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.
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, 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 from bad to good and is welcomed into the Palace, although he ends up upset when Aladdin decided to turn down the position of Grand Vizier.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 and eventually becomes her boyfriend.
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. And with a wave of farewell to Aladdin and his new wife, Jasmine, they ride off into the night.
In the episode "Hercules and the Arabian Night" which is set some time after the third film, Iago did not appear in the episode, since he was still touring around the world with Cassim. However, he was mentioned by Jafar, who was furious on how Iago betrayed him in the second film.
The conversation is as follows;
- Hades: Jaffy, let me show you how you're missing the villain boat here. Okay? First of all, you're the man. You know what I'm saying, a big bad dude, see you got to use a minion or two.
- Jafar: I had a minion. A TREACHEROUS PARROT!*
(*Although the name Iago is not used in the episode, Jafar's term "treacherous parrot" refers to Iago.)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 series. In "Thanks to Minnie", Iago was a part of a music group called The Parrots of the Caribbean and performed a song called A Parrot's Life For Me. In "House of Magic", Daisy accidentally made the club and all its guests disappear and being that Iago and Jafar were late, they lent their magical abilities to bring the club and its guests back. In "Donald Wants to Fly", Iago volunteered to go to Never Land to find Peter Pan and the Lost Boys as they were late for their special guest appearance in that evening's show. In "Max's Embarrassing Date", Jafar and Iago get blasted by Maleficent after Jafar makes a flirtatious comment to her, causing Iago to respond to him "Real smooth, Prince Charming."
Iago was a part of the many villains to take over the club in Mickey's House of Villains, informing the villains that every Halloween they just sit around and think of evil acts instead of doing them, giving Jafar his idea to take over the club. Iago also appears in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse right before and during the club's Christmas transformation.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.
Video Game Appearances
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.Kingdom Hearts series.
He played a minor role in the original Kingdom Hearts reprising his role as Jafar's lackey and assists the sorcerer in finding Jasmine and stealing Genie's lamp from Aladdin.
In Kingdom Hearts II, however, Iago's role is expanded upon greatly, reminiscing that of his role in Return of Jafar. Here, Iago is freed from the lamp, and after accidentally saving Sora, Donald, and Goofy, the parrot is welcomed into their group and given the chance to apologize to Aladdin and Jasmine. After an adventure of stopping Pete from freeing Jafar, Iago gains the trust of the heroes. However, upon Sora's second visit, it's revealed Jafar was eventually freed from his lamp and forced Iago into working for him again, ordering him to lead Aladdin and the others into a death trap. Fortunately, the heroes escape, and Iago sacrifices himself to save Aladdin from Jafar. He survives, and happily carries on his days in the palace alongside Aladdin.
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.
In the stage adaptation of Aladdin Iago is portrayed by Don Darryl. Instead of being a parrot, however, Iago is featured as Jafar's human assistant in this version and partakes in a few musical numbers, unlike the original film (though he does sing in subsequent animated appearances). Iago's fate also differs in the musical. Whereas in the film, Iago is sucked into the lamp along with Jafar, in the musical, Iago is arrested for treason and his role as royal adviser is taken by Babkak, Omar, and Kassim (three friends of Aladdin) subsequently.
Iago is commonly featured in the Disney theme parks around the world, mostly in entertainment as well as merchandise. For meet-and-greets, Iago is sometimes seen along with Jafar, planted on the sorcerer's shoulder, as usual. This is also featured in a few live shows such as Disney's Maleficious Halloween Party.
Iago also appears in Villains Tonight aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships, where he and Jafar are guests on "Hot Talk". Whilst Iago was initially on the show to voice his disgust for Jafar and working as the sorcerer's abused lackey, it soon becomes an evening of reconcile once Jafar arrives in an attempt to mend their broken friendship, proclaiming their villainous fondness for one another, much to Hades' (the host) dismay.
He tells the original Tiki birds that he and Zazu are big shot movie stars and is annoyed when Zazu warns him about the Tiki Gods. Iago does not care and insults the gods, causing Uhoa the Tiki Goddess of Disaster to rise up in the center of the theater and punish Iago for his foolishness. Iago is apparently killed off, leaving Zazu in charge. Iago then reappears at the end of the show, bandaged and carrying a crutch, having reformed and developed a new found respect for the Tiki gods, allowing the Room's inhabitants to keep their show as it was.
In January 2011, the entire show was ruined when a fire broke out in the building's attic, causing permanent damage to one of the two Iago animatronics and leaving the attraction closed. The damaged Iago figure was marked as too expensive to replace, leading to the decision to discontinue the unpopular Eisner-era Under New Management show and restore the Tiki Room to its original show.
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 "A Whole New World" song, Jasmine gives the Sorcerer Hat back to Donald. Before Donald can return home, Iago knocks the hat off of Donald's head.
In Adventureland, 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 snarling at Merlin in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Later on, Iago is ordered to use the Sultan's powerful mystic blue diamond ring to uncover the whereabouts of the crystal. Before Iago can return to Jafar, the park guests eavesdrop on Iago, learning the location of the crystal. Iago then uses magic to battle the guests, but is defeated. However, he regains his strength and returns to Jafar. At a later 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, where he nearly gets zapped by Merlin's magic.
- 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 was originally to be voiced by Danny DeVito, but he was unavailable. Devito would be the voice of Phil in Hercules, also directed by John Musker and Ron Clements.
- According to actor Jonathan Freeman (Jafar), the original idea was that Iago would sound like Jafar, meaning that Jonathan would have to play the two characters. However, the people at Disney changed their mind.
- Jafar mentions that he bought Iago from the bazaar; it's never made fully clear whether Iago was capable of coherent speech before being purchased, or whether magical experiments made him so.
- Iago is the first villain in Disney history to lastingly reform in a production other than his debut film. Among the few other characters to have this distinction are Anastasia Tremaine from Cinderella and Gantu from Lilo & Stitch.
- 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, it's unknown if Iago was being honest about it or not.
- Iago is the first villain sidekick to turn on and kill his former partner, the only other case being Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed and the other hyenas, though only in Iago's case had he actively reformed and was doing it on behalf of the other protagonists.
- In a special crossover episode of Hercules: The Series and Aladdin, Iago is absent but is mentioned by Jafar. This is most likely because the crossover takes place after King of Thieves, and Iago was probably still with Cassim - or maybe he just wasn't available that day.
- In the episode, "When Chaos Comes Calling", Iago's head turns into that of his voice actor, Gilbert Gottfried.
- While in service to Jafar, Iago proved to be one of the more competent henchman: he successfully retrieved the lamp for Jafar after easily tricking Aladdin by mimicking Jasmine's voice; he came up with a number of excellent schemes for Jafar to seize power; and despite his comedic demeanor, he did not display (at least in the first film) any signs of genuine stupidity, despite getting injured from time to time, and he can also be rather sadistic, as he suggested murdering the Sultan and Jasmine in the event that Jafar would manage to marry her, namely "drop [them] off a cliff."
- In the episode "Do the Rat Thing", when Iago was a lizard, his appearance resembled Frank the lizard from The Rescuers Down Under.
- In the Castillian Spanish version, he speaks with a Mexican accent because his voice actor was born in Mexico.
- In the Aladdin episode, Moonlight Madness, Iago was said to have a cousin named Jeff.
Notes and references