The live action Disney remakes have been a bit of a mixed bag for me but this announcement should be enough to get anyone hyped.
So here’s the run down from Disney, via Twitter.
Donald Glover and Beyoncé as Simba and Nala. We knew about the former, the latter is amazing news. She’s a good actress AND there will probably be a new song for the two of them to collaborate on, which is awesome.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is a great choice for Scar as well. I hope he really leans into the persona. I’m thinking Dr. Strange end credits tease slightly unhinged performance instead of his usual beginning of Dr. Strange prim and proper type performance.
Alfre Woodard should bring a touch of class and passion to the Sarabi role, and James Earl Jones is joining the cast to replace himself because literally no one else could take that role. No, seriously, try to imagine anyone else being Mufasa: it doesn’t work.
I don’t know how I feel about Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumba but they’re funny and that’s (mainly) what the roles require.
John Kani has worked with Disney already in the Black Panther franchise and he’s got a great voice for the role of Rafiki. Keegan-Michael Key, Eric André, and Florence Kasumba are the hyenas and they have some way more distinctively African names. This is good news! The whole thing being more distinctively African and less culturally appropriation-y is a big deal even if there is a white dude at the helm.
Also, I’m glad they’re going with kids as the voices of kid Simba and kid Nala. I don’t know either of these kids work but Disney has had a great run of casting in the last decade so I’m sure they’re great.
All in all this cast is star-studded and this movie looks set to make literally all the money in the world. The Live Action Lion King, which will be made entirely with computer graphics, will arrive in 2019 but it’s never too early to join the hype train.