The Genie of the Lamp (commonly known simply as "Genie") is one of the central figures in the Disney film Aladdin, as well as one of the most recognizable Disney characters. An ancient spirit possessing "phenomenal cosmic power", he is bound to serve whoever holds his magic lamp, which can be either heroes like Aladdin or villains like Jafar. He is one of the mightiest forces of good in the Disney Heroes vs Villains series.
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According to Islamic folklore, djinni (or "genies" as they have come to be known in the West) are an ancient race of spirits, neither human, angel, nor demon but separate from all. Some sources claim that Allah created the genies to serve him before he created humanity, but the genies were too independent and refused to serve Allah, so he cast them out.
Powerful, elemental creatures, the genies built a great civilization in the desert wastes of Arabia, though they often warred with humanity, which they saw as arrogant, greedy, and short-sighted. A few humans found a way to use magic to bind a genie to a magic item such as a lamp, calling upon the genie's vast cosmic powers to grant wishes, though the genies' ancient and immutable laws prevented a genie bound in this way from granting any more than three wishes.
Fearing that the genies would eventually rise up and wipe out all of humanity, a tribe known as the Mukhtars began developing a system of warfare designed to counter genies. The Mukhtars attacked the genie empire and, with their unique combat abilities and weaponry, destroyed the mighty civilization in the course of a single night. Those genies that survived were scattered across the Earth, more isolated than ever before. For their act of attempted genocide, the Mukhtars were cursed with an inhuman appearance.
One particular genie, his true name known only to himself and his kind, found himself alone in a vast and uncaring world. Despite his great powers, he could not find any more of his race, and grew desperately lonely. Braving the danger of the human world, the genie tried to make friends among humanity, and found one in the person of the human King Solomon. Amazed by Solomon's wisdom and kindness, the genie agreed to serve him even while not bound to a lamp. The genie's favor made Solomon the most wealthy and powerful man in the world... something that attracted many enemies.
The rulers who coveted Solomon's power could not contest his rule while he was still alive, but that changed after his death. During Solomon's funeral ceremony, the enemy rulers ambushed the genie and bound him to a lamp. However, before they could use the Genie's power for their own dark desires, they were thwarted by the powerful sorcerer Merlin, who managed to take the lamp from them and seal it in Solomon's hidden treasury, which would later come to be known as the "Cave of Wonders". Merlin knew that only someone who could use the Genie's power wisely and for the betterment of mankind would be able to brave the Cave's many dangers and claim the lamp.
Merlin's knowledge proved true when the lamp containing the Genie was found by a petty thief from the sultanate of Agrabah named Aladdin. With the Genie at his side, Aladdin thwarted the schemes of the evil vizier Jafar and won the heart of Princess Jasmine. Unexpectedly, even to the Genie, Aladdin used his final wish to free the Genie from the lamp. As thanks, the Genie agreed to serve Aladdin of his own free will, just as he served Solomon long ago. However, Jafar still craved the power that the Genie could grant him, and will stop at nothing to return the ancient spirit to the lamp. And the wicked Maleficent just may have enough power to do that...