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Disney has remade many of its animated classics over the last few years, and largely what has proven to be the most successful for the studio is when the new version remains as close to the original as possible. Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Jungle Book have largely followed their animated predecessor's pretty closely, and they've made box office gold.
With that knowledge, it's far from shocking that everything that we've seen of the new version of The Lion King shows a movie that looks pretty much exactly like the movie that we all know. We see young Simba looking over the Pridelands with his father. We see Simba being chased from his home by hyenas. We see Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa, growing up together. We see Adult Simba being reunited with Nala. Nothing looks new or surprising, but a new piece of information, or rather, a lack of information, could be a hint that there might be something in the new film we're not expecting, and Disney is trying to avoid spoiling it.
This morning Disney, released new information about the forthcoming soundtrack for the new Lion King. The album will combine the songs sung by the characters with the new score written by Hans Zimmer. However, while nearly the entire soundtrack and score are given to us, one track, number 14, is mysteriously missing. Check out the full listing below.
1.“Circle of Life”/“Nants’ Ingonyama” – Performed by Lindiwe Mkhize; African vocals performed by Lebo M; written and composed by Elton John and Tim Rice; “Nants’ Ingonyama” written by Lebohang Morake and Hans Zimmer; produced by Hans Zimmer; vocals produced by Stephen Lipson
2.“Life’s Not Fair” – Hans Zimmer
3.“Rafiki’s Fireflies” – Hans Zimmer
4.“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” – Performed by JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph and John Oliver; written by Elton John and Tim Rice; produced by Pharrell Williams; co-produced by Stephen Lipson
5. “Elephant Graveyard” – Hans Zimmer
6. “Be Prepared” (2019 Version) – Performed by Chiwetel Ejiofor; written by Elton John and Tim Rice; produced by Hans Zimmer and David Fleming
7.“Stampede” – Hans Zimmer
8.“Scar Takes the Throne” – Hans Zimmer
9.“Hakuna Matata” – Performed by Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, JD McCrary and Donald Glover; written by Elton John and Tim Rice; produced by Pharrell Williams; co-produced by Stephen Lipson
10.“Simba is Alive!” – Hans Zimmer
11.“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – Performed by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen; written by Luigi Creatore, Hugo Peretti, George David Weiss and Solomon Linda; produced by Pharrell Williams
12.“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” - Performed by Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen; written by Elton John and Tim Rice; produced by Pharrell Williams; co-produced by Stephen Lipson
13.“Reflections of Mufasa” – Hans Zimmer
15.“Battle for Pride Rock” – Hans Zimmer
16.“Remember” – Hans Zimmer
17.“Never Too Late” – Performed by Elton John; African vocal and choir arrangements created and produced by Lebo M; written by Elton John and Tim Rice; produced by Greg Kurstin; additional production by Elton John and Matt Still
18.“He Lives in You” - Performed by Lebo M; written by Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin and Lebohang Morake; produced by Lebo M and Mark Mancina
19.“Mbube” - Performed by Lebo M; African vocal and choir arrangements created and produced by Lebo M; written by Solomon Linda; produced by Pharrell Williams
Now, there are a number of possible reasons that track 14 could be missing. But the one that comes to my mind, is that it could actually be a spoiler. The pieces of Hans Zimnmer's score are titled things that reference what is happening in the movie at that moment, could it be that there's a part of the film that Disney doesn't want us to know about, so the title is being kept secret?
This wouldn't be all that surprising if The Lion King was a new movie, but this is a movie that we've all seen and we all pretty much know how it goes, so why would anything that happens in it be considered a spoiler? The idea that the song title might give something away only makes sense if there's something in this version of the movie that didn't happen in the original.
Am I the only one that remember's seeing the track listing for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace weeks before the movie came out and seeing the track entitled "Qui-Gon's Noble End?" Sometimes the names of songs are spoilers.
Based on the placement of track 14, it would seem that the piece of music, whatever it is, takes place after Simba has had his vision of Mufasa ("Reflections of Mufasa") but before his battle with Scar ("Battle For Pride Rock") In the animated version of the movie, not much happens between these two moments. Simba makes his decision to return, and then he is back home.
Perhaps we'll see more in the new version. Maybe something happens to Simba and company on the way back to the Pridelands.
It's also possible that "Reflections of Mufasa" only covers the beginning of the scene where Simba meets Rafiki. Perhaps the actual vision of Mufasa that Simba has happens in a significantly different way. Or perhaps there's no vision at all, maybe Simba makes his decision to return for an entirely different reason and the name of the song would tell us what that is.
Or perhaps the answer is actually already listed. Disney's announcement makes a big deal to point out the new song that has been added to the movie, an Elton John song called "Never Too Late." According to the release, the song will feature in the end credits, but what if that's not the only place we'll hear it?
I'm completely spitballing here, but based on the themes of The Lion King and the title of the tune, the song could be about how it's "never too late" to repair damage you've done or fix mistakes you've made in your life. If that's the case, the hole in the soundtrack would be the perfect spot for a song about that topic, sung by the characters, to be placed. Could Donald Glover and/or Beyonce be giving us another song we don't know about?
Based on this soundtrack, there are no new songs that are sung by the characters that have been added to the movie. Both of the previous Disney remakes that were full musicals, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, have added new character songs, so it honestly looks odd that The Lion King isn't doing that.
It's certainly possible the reason we're missing a track title is something more innocuous. The fact that the soundtrack is being released July 11 and the movie doesn't come out until the 19th, would seem to indicate that one way or another this question will be answered before the movie comes out, and thus if the track was a spoiler, we'll be getting spoiled then. Maybe Hans Zimmer is just having writer's block when it comes to a title or Jon Favreau is still trying to decide what piece of music he wants to place in a scene. It could be nothing.
Still, it's weird.