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The Lion King is one of Disney's most popular animated films and the forthcoming remake is likely to only add to that popularity. While the new movie isn't exactly "live-action" as there isn't a single living person in the film, the story has very much come to life thanks to technology that makes the various talking animals look as real as they ever have on screen.
Now, a new series of images put the on screen version of the character together with their voice, and the images are absolutely beautiful, putting the actor face-to-face with the character that they help give life.
Donald Glover will give a voice to the grown up version of Simba, the main character of The Lion King. As a man who has shown his ability to excel in both acting and music, he'll be able to put both talents on display, as the new version of The Lion King will be a full musical as the original was before it. Glover is one of the most popular actors working right now and getting him to join the film was a major score for The Lion King.
While Donald Glover joining The Lion King was a big deal, there may be no bigger deal in all of entertainment than Beyonce. She's still one of the most popular humans walking the earth, and she'll be joining The Lion King as Nala, Simba's childhood friend and eventual romantic partner. Nala's role isn't a massive one in the animated original, so expect that size of the part to be increased here. There's also a pretty good chance that we'll get to hear Beyonce sing, as one track on the recently announced soundtrack is being hidden, and that song might very well be a new Beyonce track.
Jeremy Irons voiced the villain Scar in the animated original, and he basically stole the show. Expect Chiwetel Ejiofor to potentially do the same when he voices the same character in the remake. While rumor's indicated Scar's big song "Be Prepared" might not be included in the film, it turns out that's not the case. This is great news, as it's one of, in not the best song in the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is sure to add his own unique spin to the track as well as the personality of the classic Disney villain.
You can't have a Disney movie without good sidekicks and The Lion King has several of them. Timon and Pumbaa, who will be voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen in the new film, are one of the most popular Disney duos ever. They bring the comic relief to the story and should add numerous laughs to the film. Although, the quality of the singing is still very much a question.
However, in what might be the most perfect bit of casting in the entire film, This Week Tonight host John Oliver will voice Mufasa's majordomo Zazu. Let's face it, even Oliver himself admits he basically looks like a human version of the bird. If there's a human being alive more fitting to follow in the footsteps of Rowan Atkinson, i don't know who it is.
Sarabi is Simba's moither and the mate to Mufasa. Alfrie Woodard will be voicing the role in The Lion King. She's an Academy Award nominated actress and while she might be best known these days for her role as the villain from Netflix's Luke Cage, she's also the perfect choice to play our hero's mom. Sarabi is another role, like Nala, that we hope the new version of the film will expand. It seems like a waste to get such a great actress in the role and then give her little to do.
A good villain needs sidekicks too and while Simba will have his share, Scar also has his hyenas. The hyenas named Azizi, Shenzi and Kamari will be voiced by Eric André, Florence Kasumba and Keegan-Michael Key respectively. This is Keegan Michael Key's second voice acting gig with Disney in a matter of weeks, as he voiced Ducky in the recent Toy Story 4. The hyenas, while bad guys, are no less funny, The mix of humor and viciousness should be a lot of fun.
Finally, we have Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary as young Nala and young Simba. While most of the focus has been on the adult versions of tyhese characters, the younger versions are quite significant roles in the original Lion King and almost certainly will be again. Shahadi Wright Joseph is an up and coming young actress who most audiences may have just met in Jordan Peele's Us playing daughter Zora. JD McCrary scored his biggest role to date when he joined The Lion King as the voice of Young Simba.
There are, unfortunately, a couple of images missing from this collection. John Kani will voice Rafiki in the new Lion King picking up the role first done by the late Robert Guillaume. And then, of course, there's James Earl Jones, the one actor who is reprising his role from the animated classic, voicing Mufasa. Neither of them got one of these cool pictures.
The cast of The Lion King has been impressive ever since it was announced, but seeing the actors side-by-side with their characters, each actor staring into the eyes of their CGI counterpart, is really cool. The Lion King is currently expected to gross something in the neighborhood of $200 million on opening weekend alone, making it one of the highest grossing movies of the year basically overnight.
This will easily be Disney's most successful remake to date. It's almost certain to be the second highest grossing movie of the year. The only real question is just how close it will be able to get to Avengers: Endgame when it's all said and done. The original Lion King became one of the highest grossing movies of all-time when it was released, and there's every reason to believe the remake could do the same.