If 'Prince of Persia' Was Set For a Reboot
Updated: Apr 27
As amazing as the game franchise is, we'd love for a reboot of the movie that followed. But this time giving opportunity to some of the best West Asian and South Asian talent out there
In fact Gemma Arterton was brown facing in the film. But with news of a Prince of Persia remake whether the games or the films series are getting rebooted, we want to see its authentically brought to life in live action. So we decided to see what actor of Iranian heritage that should have been considered for the epic reboot. It is a consistent problem in the industry that actors of North African and West Asian descent are constantly denied the opportunities to even represent their own culture. Ridley Scott even claims the film industry as a whole would not fund films if the main actors had middle eastern names even as going as to say they won't cast "mohammed so and so from such and such".
But we reckon we can find plenty of actors of Iranian origin that would knock it out of the park. As Prince of Persia games are typically set in Iran, Pakistan and India. Actors of Iranian, South Asian and West Asian origins would be the most appropriate for these roles. Let take a look at some.
For the lead role, we have the perfect choice for the dashing action hero. Iranian born British martial arts actor and stunt man Sia Alipour would be the perfect prince of Persia. Not only is he of Iranian descent, he has the British accent that everyone associates the Prince. His own Iranian upbringing can mean his cultural knowldge can be applied to the setting and possesses the perfect athletic skills too. He is capable of performing the Prince's signiture acrobatics and due to training in Taekwondo under his Father Ali's Dojang, his is an acomplished fighter. Acting wise he may have remained under the rader but his best and most utilised role as an actor would be Dr Farook Sardar in Endevour s7e2 "Raga". Some of you may have had the oppurtunity to spot him in minor action roles ranging from "BloodSpike" in Kickass 2, "Ken's senior student/Shadowlaw Mercenary" in Street Fighter: Ressurection (he fights Amy Johnston, likely candidate for Rashid in future), "BDR driver" in Wonderwoman 1984 and played a firebender in an Avatar the Last Airbender short fan film by K&K Productions. He recently did some stage acting in Birmingham for the Peter Pan play too. but lets check out what he is made of.
Within the first Sands of Time games, the Prince and his father's Persian armies invade north western parts of South Asia. Here is where the prince meets his primary love interest, archer and daughter of the Indian Maharajah, Princess Farah. In fact her family were tasked with proctecting the Medallion of Time and the Sands of time. But unfortunately their own Vizier had betrayed the Maharajah to the Prince's Father King Sharaman. Farah and Prince despite some animonsity against each other, learn to work together to survive the events of Sands of Time. While absent in Warrior Within. She does return as an ally and lover of the Prince in Two Thrones. The live action film unfortunately white washed her like the prince and renames her Tamina. For the remake we can see Melanie Chandra for the role of Farah. Chandra is a cheerleader and a black belt in Shotokan Karate and was part of USA's Junior team but is better known for her acting roles as Roli in Brown Nation and Malaya Pineda for Code Black.
The main recurring antagonist for the Prince in most of his games. The Vizier was an Indian advisor to the Maharajah (Farah's father). However after findng out he is dying, he decides to betray his king in favour of the Iranian King Sharaman (Prince's father) during this time the Prince is to award the dagger of time to the Sultan of Azad which the Vizier decides tries to steal along with the Sands to gain immortality. While he is twarted by the Prince, due to alterations to the timeline he does return with the intention of gainng the power of Zurvan (a Zoroastrian Primordial Deity). For the role of the Vizier, we felt British Pakistani actor Ace Bhatti would be the best choice. Many may recognise him as Bomi Bulsara (Freddie Mercury's Father) in Bohemian Rhapsody, whilst his other roles include Haresh Chandra in Dr.Who spin off Sarah Jane Adventures and Yusef Khan in Eastenders. In fact his role as Yusef Khan is very similar to the Vizier being a tall lanky cunnning evil man who manipulates and decieves others who believe he is an ally. In the Prince of Persia film, he is replace with Nizam the brother of Sharaman and the Prince's uncle portrayed by Anglo-Indian Ben Kingsley no less. For anyone who is not aware of how evil Ace Bhatti can act watch him as Yusef.
Father of the Prince aswell as his brother Malik and loving husband of Queen Mehri. His initial role in the first games was fairly small due to being betrayed by the Vizier and having being turned into a sand monster when the sands of time corrupted everyone not protected by either the Dagger or Medallion. The prince did manage to alter the timeline and save his father from this fate. Generally the Sharaman is considered a reasonable authority figure and legendary soldier for his age and time period. But he generally worries over his youngest sons arrogance and carelessness to a point one of the plots of the game has him send the Prince to Babylonia (Iraq) to study with his older brother Malik (Sharaman's oldest son) to learn how to be more mature and trustworthy leader. For the role of the Sharaman its no surprise if German-Iranian actor Navid Negahban gets chosen for the role. Many of you guys may remembert Navid for his role as the Sultan in Aladdin but he has many other roles. One of his best is no doubt X-Men villain Amahl Farouk aka Shadowking in the Fox series Legion where he is not only a charismatic and suave villain. But gets to use a mix of English, Farsi, French and German with a silver tongue.
Mostly a minor and likely comic relief character. The sultan of Azad is a friend of King Sharaman and was intended to be gifted the Hourglass of Time after the Sharaman defeated the Maharajah. Due to the Vizier's betrayal the Sultan of Azad was transformed in one of the many Sand monsters in the game. But the Prince never encounters him as a monster but its probably any surviving guards or even Farah herself dealt with him whilst the Prince was busy trying to defeat the vizier. Strangely he never reappears again in the series at all. But its if there had to be a live action actor for the portly Sultan of Azad. Well why not Iranian American actor Marshall Manesh. Marshall is no stranger to comedy roles after all since he is best known for his role as Ranjit Singh in the Sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Despite Ranjit Singh having a Punjabi Indian Sikh name, he claimed in the first episode to be Bangladeshi (most of which have Persio-Arabic Muslims names) and even swear in Marshal's native Farsi instead of the more realistic Bengali this is likely the fault of the writers confusing three different Asian cultures.
Father of Farah and her brother Kalim. The Maharajah may have been just a disposable character within the first game however a lot of his backstory before that show he was a hero of another story and just like the Prince he two had a journey of his own. He is responsible to collecting the artifacts of time with the Vizier being awarde the Staff of Time, his daughter the medallion of time. While he kept the Hour glass with the Sands of Time and the Dagger of Time in his vault it is likely he intended to pass on the Dagger to his son Kalim. According to backstory he also used the Mask of the Wraith to time travel an kill his would be assassin at one point. Despite the Prince having altered the timeline yet again. The Vizier would betray the Maharajah in the new timeline for the same selfish reasons. We can imagine British Pakistani actor Alyy Khan being a decent actor for this role. Best known mostly for his role as Ramu Sood in Indian Summers and Bashir in Riz Ahmed's Mughal Mowgli and dabbled in Bollywood most notably in the film Don 2 alongside the legenary Shah Rukh Khan.
All about them rubber dingy rapids bro. Jokes aside. Dahaka is the main antagonist of Warrior Within. See when the Prince uses the Dagger of Time to reset the timeline. He not only prevented many deaths but also his own. In Iranian mythology Azi Dahaka or better known by other names like Zahak, Dahag or Bevar Asp, is an evil figure in Iranian folklore described as possessing serpent dragon like features and three heads on a humaniod body in some instances. In the games however he is simpy the Guardian of Time that haunts the Prince and vows to kill him to restore the splintered timeline. Naturally despite looking like a gaint black horned shodowing giant. We felt if Dahaka had a more humanised form, it would be intersting to have British Iranian Kayvan Novak bring him to the big screen. While he is better known for comdey roles like Waj in Four Lions, Nandoe in What We Do In The Shadows and Bejan in Cuban Fury. He is a talented voice actor to especially known for his fonejacker series and has shown he can change his voice maybe well enough for Dahaka. He also has had roles in Thunder Birds are go, Men In Black: International, Dangermouse, Skins, Doctor Who, Sirens and Holby City.
Meet Kaileena aka the Empress of Time. She is an antagonist to the Prince but later becomes a supporting ally and even love interest to the mian character. Described as a "primordial mortal", she is the sands of time's physical essence sent to stop the Prince from rewriting his own history and killing her. While at first she sends her minion Shahdee to assassinate the Prince. She is later forced to trick the Prince into beleiving she is an ally before eventually revealing herself as the Empress of Time. Unfortunately she is defeated and killed but the Prince not realising his mistake tries to change the timeline only for Dahaka to pursuit them both to correct the timeline and have both Kaileena and the Prince killed for their meddling. Kaileena interstingly is one of the few characters in the Prince of Persia franchise to have no Asian influence to her character. Her appearence was modelled after Italian actress Monica Bellucci and her name is a Greek name meaning "Torture" or "Pure" according to Schoolmykids.com. Considering her mediterranean influence it felt like it make sense to have Greek Canadian actress Marie Avgeropoulos for the role. She is best known for her role as Octavia Blake in the CW series The 100. She even did most of her own stunts and its strangely rare for a Greek actor to play a Greek character these days so this feels fitting.
Shahdee is one of the few antagonists in the Prince of Persia series to retain a more human looking appearence. Well as human as she can look. Nothing much is really known about Shahdee except she is the minon of Kaileena and sent to kill the Prince before his actions can alter the timeline. Shahdee's name coincidently in Farsi means "happiness" or "joy". Farah who is the prince's love interest in the first game, her name in Arabic shares the same meaning but there does not seem to be any reason behind this. To play Shahdee, we can see British Iranian actress Roxy Shahidi, whilst she is only best known for her role in Emmerdale as Leyla Harding. She does spend her free time doing Yoga which she even has a youtube channel for. Hopefully if she ever wants to expand her acting resume she can probably add a few martial art and sword training if she were to portray Shahdee.
Man like Malik. OK he's not our Malik from the Cornershop Show. No this is the oldest son of King Sharaman and Queen Mehri. This also makes him the Prince's older brother. Malik is seen in the Forgotten Sands game as when King Sharaman wishes for the Prince to stay with Malik and learn from his older brother to be a better king and become more mature as the Prince is known for being fairly reckless. Lets say the two brothers don't always get along but due to their parents absence it was usually up to Malik to take care of his baby brother and teach him how to fight. Malik in the Forgotten Sands game unfortunately makes the mistake of unleashing Solomons army which leads to the two brother having to fight together to save their families kingdom. Unfortunately due to the influence of the Ifrit Ratash, Malik is possessed and ends up having to fight his little brother to the death. For the role of Malik we can definitely see British Iranian actor Davood Ghadami portray the older brother of Malik. He mostly has had minor roles in many British TV shows like Faz in the Bill, Aran Chandar and later Tariq Kalbasi in Doctors, Jim in Doctor Who, Teacher in Top Boy, Raj in Skins, Ramin Tehrani in Casaulty and finally his best known role Koroush "Kush" Kazemi in Eastenders being his first main role.
Raiza the Queen of the Marid and guardian of Rekem's Water. She is a Djinn (demon in Arabic) and one of the many that were loyal to the King Solomon. When Malik accidently unleashes Ratash and his army of demons. She is one of the sealed demons that actually wants to help the Prince and his brother stop Ratash. Being a Marid she is on the Djinns that are associated with water making her the counterpart to Ratash who is an Ifreet and associated with Fire. For the role of Razia we feel British Ghanaian/Iranian actress Freema Agyeman should be the choice. She is best remembered for her role in Doctor Who as the first Black female companion Martha Jones. Little did everyone know she is Blasian (making her technically the first Asian actress to play a companion though her character is not Blasian however) through her mother's Iranian heritage and this character chould be one of the only time Freema can perfectly represent her Asian heritage on screen. Bonus points for how much she actually resembles Razia. Like the character brought to life. Her latest roles have been Amanita Caplan on Netflix Sens8 and currently Dr Helen Sharpe in New Amsterdam.
Ratash the King of the Ifreet and once an ally of Razia and King Solomon. Ratash is the main antagonist of the Forgotten Sands game. Being a Djinn also but unlike Razia he grows to despise humanity under King Solomon's service and decides to rebel. With his own army he attempted to overthrow King Solomon but instead was trapped by other Djinn in the seal which Malik later unleashes. Being an Ifreet he fits the traditional myths that they are demons of fire and unlike the Marid who prefer to be more welcoming towards humans. The Ifreet are known for the firey hatred and enjoyment of malice. This fits a lot into Ratash's characterisation aswell as contrasts him perfectly to Razia. Another interesting observation. Ratash refuses to use a human form whilst Razia is perfectly happy using the guise of one. Shayan Shobhian is an American actor of Iranian and Russian descent. Currently best known for his role as Behrad Tarazi in Legends of Tomorrow. It would be interesting to see him portray a villain and standing at a tall 6'3" can definitely help to portray Ratash as a taller and intimidating villain.
Kalim son of the Maharajah and brother of Farah. He is somewhat the Prince's foil in both as a prince who want to impress their Father and also a skilled and talented martial artist and warrior. Being a Indian warrior its likely their are a multitude of martial arts he could know from Shastra Vidya to Kalaripayattu to Sqay. Considering Farah and the Prince's romance it would be interesting to see how he could fit better in the story maybe as bitter rival that grows into a brotherly ally. To match Sia Alipour as the Prince, we can see Swedish Pakistani actor Umar Khan portray Kalim as his physical equal. Whilst Umar Khan came to L.A. mostly as a stunt man for TV and Films. He has had a few minor roles in acting too. He had played Sesma in Close Range alongside British Martial Art hero Scott Adkins and many may recognise him as one of Crossbone's minions from Captain American Civl War where he stands off with Scarlet Johannson's Black Widow. Just take a look at what Umar Khan is capable of. Perfect to match Sia Alipour.
The twin warriors are a pair of minions that work for the Vizier as his powerful generals during the two thrones games. The Sword twin rules over the of the Scarabs while the Axe one rules over the house of the Spiders. Nothing much is known about them except they are Iranians from the Scythian empire, but they tend to fight better alongside each other than on their own. The two actors to play the twins should be real life brothers andactor Ethan and Dominic Rains. The Rains are not identical twins however, they are born one year apart, both are of Iranian descent with Ethan's birth name being Iman Nazemzadeh and Dominic's birth name being Amin Nazemzadeh. Ethan is best known for his role as Dr Leo Julian in General Hospital: Night Shift. He was actually covering this role for Dominic as Dominic dropped out during the second season. Dominic is arguable the better known brother for his lead role as Shawn Walker in Jinn, Jehangir Tabari in The Taqwacores and Saeed in A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. He has appeared twice in the MCU once as a CIA operative in Winter Soldier and again as the main villain Kasius in Agents of Sheild. He is currently playing Dr Crockett Marcel in Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.
Another one of the Vizier's generals. Leader of the house of Cats. She is the one that embeds the daggertail in the Prince's Left arm during the Two Thrones game. The daggertail being a spiked chain like weapon the Prince uses when he is possessed in his "Dark Prince" state. In and out of combat she protected the women under her command from the demanding territory of Scythia and was infamous for her guile and acrobatic grace. However, Mahasti preferred diplomacy and manipulation over brute strength. It was these traits that brought her to the attention of the Vizier. She does eventually go mad with power but is one of the Prince's most formidable female enemies. For the role of this deadly warrioress. We felt Iranian Canadian actress and stunt woman Christine Ebadi would be suited. While she does more stunt work than acting she can easily pull of Mahasti's manoeuvres easily.
The last of the Vizier's generals from Scythia. The giant and intimidating monster of a king Klompa. Ruler of the final house (current animal affinity is unknown) he rules through violence and anger many of his subordinates rufuse to speak against him. Weilding an obsidian edged Halberd he is a force to be reckoned with. He joined the Vizier after he successfully invaded Babylon during a seige and intends to expand the Scythian empire to dominate the Persians and Indus empire neighbouring them. To portray such a large and terrifying giant it felt appropriate that Dalip Singh aka the Great Khali would be a fit to play such a giant. Khali is best known for being currently the tallest active WWE Wrestler but he has spent time doing small acting roles usually to play the scary giant character. Considering he is billed to stand at around 7' tall he would tower of the rest of the cast quite easily.
So not much information is given on the mother of the Prince. Queen Mehri is the wife of King Sharaman and mother of Malik and the Prince. Due to being busy with royal duties, she was usually absent along with her husband for the Prince's childhood with Malik and an Old Man being the Prince's main guardians. All that is known about Mehri (despite never appearing in the games) is that she is an Indian (likely a Zoroastrian Parsi) and her death between Sands of Time and Warrior Within lead to the Prince to develop a more darker and angsty personality. For the role of Queen Mehri, assuming we'd get to see more of her in a LiveAction adaptation, we can agree that Corner Shops Nina Wadia would be suitable. Nina is also from Parsi family and many will remember her for her roles as Zainab Masood in Eastenders, Aunty Aliyah in Citizen Khan, Malik's Aunty in Cornershop the movie, Kadijah in Finding Fatimah and also Zulla the Merchant at the start of Aladdin. She is also a popular choice for the role of Muneeba Khan for the upcoming Ms Marvel.
Whilst most of the characters covered in this article are from the Sands of Time series. The Prince of Persia did go through a reboot in 2008. Many of the older aspects of the Prince of Persia was removed especially many of the Arabic and South Asian influences in favour of a extremely Zoroastrian Iranian centric story. Whilst it would be difficult to cover the reboot entry due to its lack of popularity compared to the original trilogy. We felt the new love interst Elika was worth a mention at least. Elika was born the the King and Queen of a city called Ahura. Elika lost her mother at a young age before dying herself. Leaving her Father widowed and greif stricken. However he wished for Ahriman to resurrect his family, Ahriman did so only for Elika, but had the king indebted to him to release Ahriman and his corrupt armies into the world. Upon her ressurection the deity Ormazd (brother and counter part to Ahriman) granted Elika with magical abilities to assist the prince most of which allows her body to keep up with his Parkour and acrobatics. She is refered to as the servant of Ormazd and the guardian of the Tree of Life. To play the role we felt Iranian American actress Tala Ashe would be a perfect fit as a female lead if the Prince of Persia decide to bring her back. Tala Ashe is currently best known for her role in CW's Legends of Tomorrow as Zari Tomaz/Tarazi.