The Cave of Wonders, also known as the Cave, is a supporting antagonist from Disney's 31st full-length animated feature film Aladdin, which is based on the Arabic folktale Aladdin and the Magic Lamp from One Thousand and One Nights. It also appears as an on and off antagonist in House of Mouse, a background antagonist in Mickey's House of Villains, and both a location and an on and off antagonist in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
It was voiced by Frank Welker, who was best known for voicing several incarnations of Megatron in the Transformers franchise.
The Cave of Wonders is stoic, menacing and persuasive. He is shown to be a strict enforcer of rules and regulations. However, if it is angered by the breaking of rules or disrespect, it becomes wrathful, violent, homicidal and destructive, killing the ones who dare to test his capability. While the Cave is technically neutral, it acts out in fits of rage and aggression that usually result in the deaths of the mortals that disturb his slumber. These qualities are what ultimately class the Cave as a villainous character.
The Cave's exact origins are unknown. What is known is that it is a magical, sentient cave that has existed for millennia. It was long ago entrusted a magical lamp that contained an all-powerful genie that would grant the lamp's holder any three wishes they desired (with the exception of death, love, resurrection or additional wishes) until one worthy enough, the "Diamond in the Rough", to wield it would be allowed to enter and claim it. Within its domain lied mountains of treasure which were forbidden by all to touch, serving as a test to those who enter, as well as a sentient Magic Carpet. The cave disguised itself as a normal sand dune out in the Arabian desert, and the only way to reveal it was to find and reassemble two pieces of a mystic golden scarab.
At some point, the evil sorcerer, Jafar learned of the cave and the great lamp that was held within it and sought out to find the pieces of the scarab. He acquired the first piece and entrusted his minion, Gazeem to retrieve the second piece, which he managed to do so after killing a few people.
Jafar, alongside his pet Iago, met Gazeem out in the desert to assemble the scarabs. After Iago snatched the piece from Gazeem's hand, Jafar then placed them together. The scarab then came to life and flew over to where the Cave of Wonders rested, with Jafar, Iago and Gazeem following on horseback. After reaching its destination, scarab split back into two to form the cave's eyes. The Cave of Wonders then arose from the sand with its maw open wide. Jafar and Gazeem looked in awe at the cave until the sorcerer grabbed the thief by the collar, instructing him to find the lamp and bring it back to him, promising that all the treasure in it will be his once he accomplishes this task, which Gazeem obeys with a greedy mind. The thief looks down into the cave's throat to see the sand form into a flight of stairs into the cave. However, before he was able to wald down them, he was blown away by the cave's breath, and the Tiger Guardian demands to know who had awoken it from its long slumber. After Gazeem fearfully introduces himself as a "humble" thief, the guardian warns him that one only one was worthy enough to enter it: a "diamond in the rough". Despite this, Jafar demanded Gazeem to continue his mission. He places his foot on the first step and breathes a sigh of relief when nothing happens. But then the cave roars with anger that someone unworthy had dared to enter. Gazeem attempts to run away, only to be devoured by cave's teeth, crushing him to death and burying him alive in the sand, much Jafar's anger. The cave then disappears back into the sand, instructing the sorcerer to seek out the true "diamond in the rough" while throwing back the scarab pieces.
Later, Jafar discovers Aladdin, the true "diamond in the rough" that the Cave spoke of. He has Aladdin captured by Razoul, then comes to him in the dungeon disguised as an old man. Jafar tempts Aladdin and his pet monkey named Abu with promises of treasure, then leads them out of the dungeon and to the Cave. It wakes again, demanding who has awoken it to identify themselves. Aladdin steps forward, and the Cave recognizes that he is worthy. The Cave allows him inside, but it tells him that he cannot touch anything but the lamp.
Aladdin and Abu enter the Cave through the tiger's mouth, and are tempted by the abundance of gold and jewels they find inside. However, they resist touching anything. They meet a Magic Carpet who was imprisoned there, which helps them. Aladdin soon finds the lamp and takes it, but at the same time Abu grabs a large ruby. The Cave is infuriated by this, and declares that it will kill them all.
The Cave then begins to make itself crumble and collapse, and causes waves of lava to flood its chambers. Using the Magic Carpet, Aladdin and Abu are able to navigate through the crumbing catacombs and fiery passages until they reach the mouth. However, a stone falls and pins the Magic Carpet down, throwing Aladdin and Abu to the front. Jafar pretends to come to their aid, but really snatches the lamp for himself, then prepares to kill them. However, Abu rushes forward, steals the lamp back, and bites Jafar, causing him to drop them into the Cave just before hw slams his mouth closed, trapping Aladdin, Abu, and the Carpet within.
However, after freeing the all-powerful Genie, all four of them are able to escape the Cave.
At the end of the film, after Jafar's defeat, the Genie takes the lamp that Jafar and Iago are trapped in and flings it back into the Cave.
The Return of Jafar
The Cave of Wonders is neither mentioned nor he appeared in the film. However, a statue of the Cave is seen in Abis Mal's lair as the latter fumes over his defeat against Aladdin. Eventually, Iago managed to escape from the Cave of Wonders before abandoning Jafar due to the latter's abusive treatment towards him, though Abis Mal would later find Jafar's lamp and conspired with Jafar to kill Aladdin and take over Agrabah. Fortunately, Iago (having a change of heart) destroys Jafar by kicking the lamp into a pool of lava before being making amends with Aladdin and his friends while Abis Mal is left hanging on a tree branch.
Aladdin (television series)
Though never appearing in the show, the Cave is mentioned by Iago in the episode "Shadow of a Doubt" when the heroes are going to a mirror cave to get an item to stop Mirage. Iago reminds everyone of Abu's greed by saying "Don't let him touch anything! Remember the Cave of Wonders incident?" (His dialogue here breaks the fourth wall.)
The Cave of Wonders returns in the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin, again voiced by Frank Welker.
Unlike in the 1992 film, this version of the Cave has its entrance carved into the side of a mountain and it appears to resemble more of a lion than a tiger.
In Other Media
Aladdin: Nasira Revenge
The Cave of Wonders made an appearance in the 2000 PlayStation video game Aladdin: Nasira's Revenge.
Kingdom Hearts series
In the first game, the Cave of Wonders appears as a brief antagonist, being controlled by the dark powers of the Heartless. Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Aladdin must battle hordes of enemies as the Cave blasts magic beams from his eyes, which collide to cause a lot of damage, as well as spits out Heartless and hot winds.
Sora must make his way on top of the tiger head and rapidly hit the eyes while keeping his balance, as the head is constantly trying to throw him off. After hitting both eyes enough times, the Cave will be released from the spell and return to normal, as a simple location within the world of Agrabah. They then must enter the Cave to reach Jafar, who has kidnapped Jasmine and using her to reveal Agrabah's Keyhole, which is located in the Cave.
Kingdom Hearts II
Sora and company go to the Cave for treasure to buy Jafar's lamp from the peddler. The Cave does not object or stand in their way.
Kingdom Hearts coded/Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
As Data Sora goes through the events of the first game, he must battle the Cave of Wonders in a similar manner to the first game: hitting the boss' eyes to remove the spell.
Kingdom Hearts Union χ [Cross]
The Cave of Wonders appears as a recurring location in the game's story, where the player character travels to battle Heartless. In the portion of the story that retells the events of the first Aladdin film, Jafar recruits Aladdin and the player character to go and recover the lamp from within, but Abu gets too greedy and touches forbidden treasure, causing the Cave to become enraged and close on them all. They later escape with help from the Genie.
House of Mouse
The Cave of Wonders appears as an occasional character, usually accompanying Jafar and Iago.
In the episode "Donald's Lamp Trade", the Cave is angered when Donald steals treasure, calling him an infidel.
Mickey's House of Villains
The Cave appears briefly in Mickey's House of Villains, serving as a transportation of sorts for Jafar and Iago. It lingers outside while the villains take over.
Once Upon a Time
The Cave of Wonders makes a brief appearance in the Season 6 episode "Street Rats".
Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey
The Cave of Wonders appears as a location in the 2007 videogame Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, visited by Jasmine and the game's protagonist.
The Cave appears as a decoration in Disney Infinity.
In Fantasmic!, Jafar summons the Cave of Wonders to try and kill Mickey Mouse. It fights Mickey, and eventually devours both him and Jafar. Jafar and Mickey battle inside the Cave.
In World of Color, the Cave appears as a background character during the Aladdin sequence.
In Disney Quest, the Cave appears as the Gateway to the Explore Zone.
The Cave appears as a location in the "Storybook Land Canal Boats" attraction.
Know this, only one may enter here; one who's worth lies far within, the Diamond in the rough!
~ The Cave's warning to Gazeem.
Seek thee out the diamond in the rough.
~ The Cave instructing Jafar to find the one who was worthy.
Proceed. Touch nothing but the Lamp!
~ The Cave's warning to Aladdin.
INFIDELS! You have touched the forbidden treasure! Now you will never again see the light... of... DAY!
~ The Cave's fury when Abu touched a ruby.
In most of his appearances, the Cave retains his dark blue color regardless of the time of day. This could mean that the Cave's body is made of dark blue materials.