- “Well, am I sultan or am I sultan?”
- ―The Sultan expressing his power
The Sultan is a major character in Disney's 1992 animated feature film Aladdin. He is the benevolent ruler of Agrabah and the father of Princess Jasmine. As sovereign of the land, the Sultan's primary concerns are the welfare of his people. As such, the Sultan devotes himself to pairing Jasmine with an upstanding heir so that his family and kingdom will be secure long after his passing.
The Sultan, as mentioned above, is the longstanding ruler of Agrabah. Living in the luxurious palace alongside Jasmine and her pet tiger, Rajah, the Sultan spends a majority of his time ensuring tradition and stability within the kingdom remains intact—so much so, that he can occasionally neglect other means such as the emotional well-being of his daughter, though he loves her immensely.
At the start of the film, the Sultan mentions having a council, with his royal vizier and most trusted councilman being the mysterious Jafar. Unbeknownst to the Sultan for a majority of the film, Jafar plots to overtake the kingdom, and has continuously used the power of his hypnotic snake staff to force the Sultan into abiding his wishes when simple persuasion isn't enough.
The Sultan's wife died during Jasmine's childhood. According to the Sultan, she wasn't "nearly so picky" when it came to finding a suitor, herself, but their relationship was a strong one, nonetheless.
The Sultan is generally very childish and pompous, but extremely kind at his core. Soft-spoken and gentle, he is a direct foil to the fiery and no-nonsense Jasmine.
Though he dearly loves Jasmine, he is initially frustrated due to her constant rejection of potential suitors and pushes her to choose a husband. However, he explains his actions regarding the subject as arising from a need to make certain that Jasmine is taken care of and provided for, as he is starting to get up in years. In relation to this, the Sultan — like the other main characters of the film — is trapped in one way or another. For the Sultan, he is trapped by his need to uphold an outdated law, and by doing so, he risks both Jasmine's free will and the loving relationship they share with one another. It isn't until the ending of the film, where the Sultan abolishes the law and allows Jasmine to marry whomever she deems worthy, that their family can live happily.
The Sultan also prides himself on being an excellent judge of character. However, contrary to his own belief, he is rather gullible, as he does not realize that Jafar is untrustworthy until Aladdin points out Jafar's plots. Aside from his childish mind, he has shown to be a worthy ruler, knowing when to put his power into good use and can be strict and forceful on rare occasions. Throughout the television series, he is shown to be a well-respected, diplomatic leader, and takes his position as Agrabah's ruler quite seriously, in spite of his quirks.
In the wake of Jasmine's birthday, princes from foreign kingdoms visit the Sultan's palace to seek Jasmine's hand in marriage, as she must be married to a prince according to law. Upon the disastrous visit of Prince Achmed, the Sultan chastises Jasmine on her refusal to choose a husband. Jasmine responds by expressing her disparity over the situation, wanting to experience more important moments such as finally leaving the palace, and building connections with friends, rather than marriage for political gain. The Sultan solemnly admits that the law is second to his motivation for finding Jasmine a husband; he reveals that he wants his daughter to be provided for once he passes away, but even this isn't enough to soften Jasmine towards the unjust practice.
Later on, the Sultan finds Jasmine in her room very upset. She tells her father that she ran away to escape the suitor business and that during her adventure, she met and befriended a commoner who seems to have been killed on Jafar's orders. The Sultan reprimands Jafar for his actions, but the situation is quickly dropped by the former in order to focus on finding Jasmine a suitor.
Upon meeting 'Prince Ali Ababwa' (the disguised Aladdin), the Sultan is instantly impressed by the pomp and grandeur of his entrance, so much so that he quite forgets that he has not invited nor indeed ever heard of any Prince Ali. He allows "Prince Ali" to remain at the palace while he tries to court Jasmine. The Sultan is likely unconcerned with the anonymity of Prince Ali, nor is worried about details such as his native country as he is glad to have a concerned suitor after Jasmine chased all the other princes away. He also confides to Jafar that he could stay a free man as "maybe you will not have to marry Jasmine after all". This unknowingly angered Jafar as he lusted after Jasmine and wanted her for his wife, and saw Prince Ali as a potential threat and rival.
Later, Jafar attempts to kill Aladdin to prevent him from marrying Jasmine. Jafar then hypnotizes the Sultan in order that Jasmine marries Jafar. However, this plan is foiled when Aladdin reappears and reveals Jafar's treachery. The Sultan orders Jafar's arrest, but Jafar manages to escape. At first, he worries about how he will continue to rule Agrabah now that his own advisor's true colors have been revealed, but after seeing Aladdin and Jasmine together, he realizes that the two have fallen in love, and Jasmine confirms that she has chosen "Prince Ali" as her suitor. The Sultan is utterly delighted that Jasmine has finally chosen a suitor and without hesitation blesses their union. Delighted, the Sultan then decides to have Aladdin and Jasmine wed immediately while also deciding to have Aladdin become the new Sultan once they are married. However, unknown to either the Sultan or Jasmine, Aladdin was upset by the news as he felt guilty for lying to the kingdom of his true identity and became afraid of becoming Sultan.
The very next day, the Sultan announces Aladdin and Jasmine's engagement to the kingdom, but Jafar returns with the lamp and wishes to become Sultan. When the Sultan and Jasmine both refuse to bow to Jafar even as the Sultan of Agrabah, Jafar makes his wish to become a sorcerer. He makes the Sultan a living clown-dressed marionette whom Iago takes out his anger about being force-fed dry crackers on. However, when Jafar is defeated, all his spells break. When everything returns to normal, the Sultan overhears Aladdin telling Jasmine goodbye, as Jasmine can only marry a prince. Genie offers to rectify the situation by saying Aladdin has one more wish and that he should use it to be a prince again. Despite Genie's pleas that Aladdin will be losing a wonderful woman like Jasmine, Aladdin holds true to his earlier promise with Genie that only two wishes were for himself. Noting that Aladdin has proven his worth as far by defeating Jafar and freeing Genie, the Sultan decides to repeal the prince marriage law so that Jasmine can marry the man whom she deems worthy, Aladdin.
In The Return of Jafar, the Sultan announces that he wants to make Aladdin his new grand vizier. However, he grows suspicious of Aladdin after he defends Iago, who used to work for Jafar and commands him to watch the bird. When Jafar returns, he takes advantage of Iago's new position as an "ally" to Aladdin and makes him suggest the Sultan and Aladdin have a discussion in a place where they are ambushed by Jafar and Abis Mal. The Sultan is imprisoned along with Aladdin's friends, and Jafar uses his turban to frame Aladdin for his murder. He is later freed by the Genie who is then freed by Iago and saving Aladdin from getting beheaded by a tricked Razoul and is later seen at the end of the film, again requesting Aladdin to become his vizier but Aladdin turns down the Sultan's offer because he wishes to travel and see the world with Jasmine.
Throughout the TV series, the Sultan played a prominent supporting role, with a few episodes looking at his efforts to form alliances with other nations - including one occasion where he was nearly roped into a marriage to an Amazonian-esque queen, and others looking at his past; one episode saw Aladdin and the gang forced to deal with a plant-based sorcerer named Arbutus whom the Sultan had unintentionally offended by taking a rose from the creature's garden in his youth. Arbutus demanded that in 20 years he wanted the Sultan's most precious treasure in return - and this 'treasure' was Jasmine.
On some occasions, Sultan would attempt to prove that he can be a heroic and daring adventurer much like Aladdin which he proved when Jasmine was kidnapped by Amazons who wanted to include her in their family. This aspect of his character was mostly explored in the episode "Armored and Dangerous". When Agrabah was threatened by Dominus Tusk and Aladdin was out of town on a diplomatic mission, the Sultan reluctantly decided to don the cursed armor of Kileem, only to be possessed by his spirit, who desired to conquer the Seven Deserts. At the end of the episode, when Kileem's statue, the source of the armor's power, is destroyed along with Kileem's spirit, the Sultan is freed, with no memory of anything that happened after he put on the armor.
Another example would be "A Sultan Worth His Salt" when Jasmine is kidnapped by the Galifems, the Sultan decides to join Aladdin in rescuing her, but to his annoyance, Aladdin was more concerned for his safety, so much that the Sultan decided to split off. At the climax, the Sultan rescues Aladdin and Jasmine on a winged horse.
In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the Sultan meets Aladdin's father, Cassim, not knowing he is the King of Thieves, and immediately accepts him. However, Razoul later reveals to the Sultan that Cassim is the King of Thieves and, with no other choice, the Sultan has Razoul incarcerate Cassim in the dungeon for life. After Aladdin helps Cassim escape the dungeon, and comes back to accept the consequences for his actions, the Sultan prepares to punish Aladdin in anger for freeing Cassim, but Genie and Jasmine come to his defense, stating that all he wanted was to give his father a second chance. The Sultan accepts his apology. At the end of the film, his wish of seeing Jasmine marrying someone comes true when she marries Aladdin.
The Sultan plays a supporting role during Jasmine's segment of the film. He is first seen during a morning routine of handing over an apple to Sahara, the former horse of Jasmine's deceased mother. The Sultan explains to Jasmine that her mother was the only rider the aggressive Sahara was accepting of; without the apple, it wouldn't be safe for even the Sultan to interact with the horse. As he makes his way, Jasmine expresses her desire to add to her community, to which the Sultan responds by bestowing her a position as "Royal Assistant Educator" at the Royal Academy.
Later on, Sahara is mysteriously released from her pin, though the person responsible is unknown. The stable boy, Hakeem, worries for his job, but Jasmine volunteers to find Sahara, herself. To keep her father in the dark about the incident, Jasmine asks her lady-in-waiting to keep the Sultan occupied during her journey. The Sultan is successfully kept from the stables for the entirety of the day but eventually loses his patience. Just as he arrives at the stables, Sahara returns with Jasmine as his rider. Astonished by the sight, the Sultan express his happiness in seeing the similarities between Jasmine and her mother.
The Sultan appeared as a cameo in House of Mouse. Most of the time, he can be seen applauding after a cartoon, with Jasmine sitting with him.
An emoticon version of the Sultan briefly appeared at the end of the Aladdin entry of the As Told by Emoji short series.
The Sultan (in a portrayal closer to his animated counterpart) appeared in the show's sixth season, where he is the Sultan of Agrabah's capital. He became a near-mindless puppet as a result of Jafar's consistent hypnosis, which the latter utilized to rule the city. He is eventually freed from his curse by the combined efforts of Jasmine and Aladdin.
In A Twisted Tale: A Whole New World, depicting an alternate take on Aladdin in which Jafar acquired the Lamp from the Cave of Wonders and Aladdin had to escape without the Genie, Jafar again uses his first two wishes to make himself Sultan and become a powerful sorcerer. Although the Genie informs him that he cannot grant Jafar's third wish to make Jasmine fall in love with him, Jafar proclaims to the people that he will respond to their objections to the Sultan's past reign, which left the people in poverty after promising prosperity, concluding by kicking the Sultan off the balcony. Jasmine is left to cope with her conflicting feelings about her father after seeing evidence that he was a flawed being rather than the perfect king she always imagined.
In the former Disney California Adventure show, Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, the Sultan appeared, struggling to find a suitor for Jasmine. Overall, the Sultan played out the same role he did in the film.
The Sultan (as a face character) joined Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie at Tokyo DisneySea's nighttime spectacular, Bon Fire Dance.
In 2013, as part of the Disney Dreamers Everywhere! event the Sultan debuted as a meet-and-greet character in Disneyland Paris. He later reappeared in 2017, as one of the characters available for meet-and-greets for participants of the RunDisney marathon, alongside Jasmine.
- In the score of Aladdin, the Sultan's character is represented by royal fanfare, which can be heard when the Sultan appears onscreen or when he is referenced by other characters. The motif can be most prominently found in the first few seconds of "Jafar's Hour" on the Aladdin soundtrack.
- In real life, a sultan is the ruler of a Sultanate. Several countries still have Sultan rulers, such as Brunei.
- In "As the Netherworld Turns", from the TV series; Bobolonius, the Sultan's deceased grandfather, calls the Sultan "Little Bobo". This could mean the sultan was named after his grandfather, and "Little Bobo" is a nickname.
- The episode "Do the Rat Thing" confirms that the Sultan rarely leaves the palace; so much so, that he doesn't know how to get to the marketplace, nor is he aware of Agrabah's poverty-stricken district.
- ↑ "EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT LIVE-ACTION ALADDIN SO FAR". Oh My Disney. (September 6, 2017)
- ↑ Aladdin, Platinum Edition DVD: Pop-Up Fun Facts
- ↑ Mentioned in Music Behind the Magic - Arabian Nights, Reprise #1 (Demo)
- ↑ "As the Netherworld Turns"
- ↑ Disney. Tales of Agrabah. Chapter Book, 1995. Print.
- ↑ Disney. Jasmine's Royal Wedding. Storybook, 2015. Print.