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The Lion King remake has generated a lot of internet discussion as of late, and while there's seemingly a lot of excitement surrounding this project, there are also some unanswered questions. In no particular order, here are some of the questions I'd like answered about the remake, for no other reason than to squash that little voice in the back of my mind that says this movie may not be all I hope it will be.
What Creative Liberties Will The Film Take?
The Lion King trailer showed a lot of shot-for-shot recreations of scenes from the animation, but does that mean that will be the case with the whole film? We can assume some things will change, as we've already seen Rafiki breaking branches or some type of root to leave a mark on Simba's head as opposed to using the gourd at the end of his stick.
Small things like that being changed likely won't ruffle many feathers, but bigger changes might. That said, folks may also complain if the remake is front-to-back identical to the original, and question why it was even remade in the first place. Jon Favreau did a pretty solid job in his adaptation of The Jungle Book, however, so one could take solace in the fact that he's had to walk this line before and did pretty well in balancing new and old.
Will The Songs Be Altered Or Changed?
The Lion King's soundtrack contains arguably some of the best songs Disney has to offer, with a handful of them highly revered by Disney fans. With Donald Glover and Beyonce set to headline this new version, it would stand to reason that either's musical talents will be tapped to change up how they'll be performed. We also know there will be a new end credits song, but is that all that's changing?
Again, this is territory The Lion King remake will have to tread lightly on. The songs Elton John created for the original rank among the best in Disney movie history, so changing them or excluding them completely is a risky move. Those who think otherwise might want to check out comment sections on articles when there was talk that one of the lesser songs, "Be Prepared," wouldn't find its way into the film.
Will Characters' Roles Change?
Everyone has a part to play in The Lion King, although some characters have a larger part to play than others. For example, Zazu is someone seen primarily in the film's start, but isn't much of a factor midway through the film. With the hilarious John Oliver voicing the new Zazu, it would be a joy to have his character have a bit more meat to his role than the character originally received.
It's also possible The Lion King could do something like give Nala more to do in the film than find Simba years later. With women empowerment a recurring theme in modern cinema, Nala could be given more to do simply to give a young female audience another character to look up to. Nothing about the production so far has revealed something like that will happen, but obviously it's a question some may have as the premiere date draws ever closer.
How Will Death Be Handled?
A lot of The Lion King revolves around one key death, that being the demise of Simba's father Mufasa. In the animated original version, Simba attempted to wake a lifeless Mufasa after a big fall, to no avail. The scene is tough to watch, as the young lion cub slowly realizes his father is not going to "wake up."
Now, imagine that scene happening with the realistic CGI effects we've seen thus far. I'm not expecting Jon Favreau to go full Tarantino on showing Mufasa get eviscerated by wildebeest hooves, but recreating that scene the same way with realistic-looking lions would be rather intense to watch. It's the kind of thing that might traumatize and scar fragile minds, which may mean the film might find a better way of driving home Mufasa's death without showing his lifeless corpse.
Will The Realistic Look Impact Other Scenes?
Jon Favreau's remake of The Jungle Book did keep some cartoony elements of the characters from the original, but usually, the characters moved closer to that of actual animals. Doing this in The Lion King would make some classic scenes problematic, especially those where the most realistic outcome doesn't play out. For example, practically none of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" would look the same with realistic animal movements.
If that's the case, it may kill some of the fun behind The Lion King. Seeing a bunch of animals stacked on top of each other in a highly unrealistic scenario that looks real sounds incredible, so I'm hoping the remake doesn't rob us of that. Of course, there's more than one way to skin a cat, so there's probably other ways to tell this story that doesn't include the animals behaving the same way they do in the original.
Will There Be Nazi References?
If "Be Prepared" has been removed from The Lion King remake, it may be because the scene surrounding it was inspired by a popular Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. Scar's minion hyenas are seen goose-stepping in sync with the song, and Scar's watching from a podium resembles that of Hitler looking down on his army.
Obviously, this wasn't done as some subtle wink to Nazi sympathizers of the world, but to show Scar was up to something truly malicious in creating his coup. Still, with Nazi groups getting some play in headlines in recent years, it may be something Disney is looking to exclude from its remake. After all, Scar literally intimidates some hyenas to their death in cracks of lava, so there's other ways to prove he's a bad dude without the Hitler imagery.
The Lion King comes roaring into theaters on July 19, 2019. Those eager for the release can stick with CinemaBlend for updates in the meantime, and read up on things like how Rafiki's character looks different in the teaser when compared to his cartoon counterpart.