DuckTales is returning with 2 weeks of new episodes starting today! And the episode that is kicking it off is “Treasure of the Found Lamp!” featuring a new character, Djinn. Djinn is being played by Iranian born actor Omid Abtahi. And as the only Iranian DuckTalks contributor, it’s only fitting that I give an overview of the origins of this character that will debut today.
Djinn (pronounced as gin) is the Arabic word of genie. Now I actually do not speak Arabic. I am fluent in Farsi (or commonly known as Persian) as that is the language of Iran. Think of it as the difference between Portuguese and Spanish. They sound similar, but if someone speaks Arabic I have no idea what they are saying. Djinn is the most common way for this word to spelled, but since English uses Romanized letters, it can also be spell as Jinn or even D’jinn. All these spellings are correct as Arabic (and Farsi) is spelled out phonetically and not all the letters match with the letters used in English. My own last name for example has 3 different spellings which all of them acceptable. (My birth name, Sohiel, however, is misspelled because of the great state of Alabama!)
So, when people think of genies, the immediate thought is wishes. However, Middle Eastern cultures sees djinns much differently. Growing up, I was taught that djinns are actually invisible. And that they are the cause for mental state of mind, like being very hungry after you eat or wanting to do a sin. But also used for play as I told my parents it was a djinn who took apart their brand-new VCR in the 80s and I was just in my room. If my parents are reading this, that really did happen, and he was invisible, so I couldn’t stop him! Djinns are neutral as they aren’t considered good or evil.
As of this writing, the episode with Djinn hasn’t aired yet, but he is based on the DuckTales the Movie (and later appeared in the 2 part final episode of the original series) character Dijon (as he was named after mustard!). Dijon was deceptive, clumsy thief that acted as a guide for Scrooge when he secretly worked for Merlock. Now the question is, will Djinn be an incompetent thief in the current series, or will he be more of an original character. With the name of Djinn, he may be the genie of the lamp itself. But more importantly, will the episode somehow incorporate the classic race up the plateau with Scrooge and Glomgold going after the lamp from the theme song of the original series? Either way, I’m excited to see a fellow Iranian on one of my favorite current series.