The Lion King remake already has a stacked cast, so if you’re not looking forward to this live-action adaptation, you’re just lion to yourself.
Beauty and the Beast (2017) and The Jungle Book (2016) have set some high standards regarding Disney live-action remakes. They both seemed like unnecessary movies and projects that would ruin all the internet’s childhood. Then Jon Favreau proved us wrong, because The Jungle Book was beautiful, glorious, and moving. And then Bill Condon proved us wrong, because Beauty and the Beast was perfectly cast and added just the right amount of freshness to an old favorite.
Lucky for Disney fans, Jon Favreau is back again for The Lion King, and it sounds like this will be the perfect combination of OMG-is-that-real Jungle Book CGI and Beast casting perfection. Plus, Disney has already confirmed it will include songs from the original animated film. Let’s take a look at how this Disney live-action remake is already nailing it.
Donald Glover as Simba
Donald Glover is on a roll, right? He won an Emmy for his FX show Atlanta, he has an appearance in Marvel’s latest box office blockbuster Spider-Man: Homecoming, and he landed the coveted role of Lando Calrissian in the still untitled Han Solo standalone movie. NOW HE IS SIMBA. The guy can do no wrong and we’re absolutely positive no one else could play this role but him (except for Jonathan Taylor Thomas, of course).
James Earl Jones as Mufasa
There could be no one else. James Earl Jones is a national treasure and a voice so well known even Morgan Freeman is left speechless. The fact Jones is returning as Mufasa is a testament to Jon Favreau’s care for this remake. In Favreau we trust. But we are NOT looking forward to reliving Mufasa’s death in full CGI. Going to need so many tissues.
Billy Eichner as Timon
Yes. Yes, yes, yes, YES. It’s hard to fill the shoes of Nathan Lane. His voice acting for Timon was so superb and maniacally high-pitched. No one can sing “Hakuna Matata” without all those hilarious inflections Lane made so famous and memorable. But come on, if there’s anyone who is more perfectly suited for a modern take of Timon, it’s one hundred percent Billy Eichner. Here’s hoping Timon quizzes Simba in the face when they first meet.
Seth Rogen as Pumbaa
If anyone can pull off being a sensitive but farty warthog, we think it’s Seth Rogen. Pumbaa is possibly the most lovable character in The Lion King and there’s just something about Rogen that perfectly fills those shoes (or hooves). Plus, he’s got that muddled and scruffy voice that lends itself so well to Pumbaa’s happy-go-lucky, dumb-but-loyal counterpart to Timon. We can’t wait for all the Eichner/Rogen goodness.
John Oliver as Zazu
OH. MY. GOD. YES. Favreau & Co. really know what they’re doing. We’re trying to remember a time now when John Oliver wasn’t Zazu, because we don’t think there was one. This is meant to be, from the accent right down to the higher intelligence, well-adjusted nature of his character. And don’t forget the short fuse. There’s even a musical number written for the Broadway adaptation of The Lion King with Zazu singing a song called, “Morning Report.” P-E-R-F-E-C-T.
No word yet on other casting, but the latest rumor mill had Beyonce in talks to play Nala. We eagerly await the internet breaking if/when that news is announced. Stay tuned here for latest in The Lion King news!
The Lion King is coming to theaters in 2019.