As a great King once said, "Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance," and that's also true of Disney and their never-ending circle of upcoming remakes. From Cinderella and The Jungle Book to Beauty and the Beast, classic movies from the House of Mouse are all being reimagined in eye-popping live-action, quite literally bringing your childhood favorites to life.
Of course, some fans remain worried that their beloved movies will be trampled on like a lion caught in a wildebeest stampede. Luckily, the exceptional cast that director Jon Favreau has gathered for The Lion King remake should leave audiences with no worries. In fact, a shiny new era is tip-toeing nearer, so it's with great pride that we here at Movie Pilot will introduce to you every cast member confirmed to star in The Lion King live-action film.
Simba — Donald Glover
Following his roles in Spider-Man: Homecoming and the solo Han... Solo movie, enemies should beware now that Donald Glover will become the mighty king Simba in the upcoming remake. The actor/rapper will replace Jonathan Taylor Thomas who originally voiced the titular Lion King in the original animation from 1994.
Mufasa — James Earl Jones
For the most part, Favreau has decided to recast the voice actors who first brought the characters from The Lion King to life in the original movie. However, some were clearly just too purrfect not to bring back, which is why James Earl Jones will reprise the role of Mufasa, Simba's father. If this is where the monarchy is headed, then count me in!
Sarabi — Alfre Woodard
Behind every great lion, there's a great lioness, so it's fitting that the award-winning actress Alfre Woodard will lend her voice to Sarabi, Mufasa's wife and Simba's mother. This won't be the first time that Woodard has played a strong female character, most recently stealing the show as Mariah Dillard in Season 1 of Luke Cage, but fans are undoubtedly excited to see her become a real queen of the pride in The Lion King.
Nala — Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Beyoncé has proven time and time again that she can both act and sing, giving us flawless performances in movies such as Cadillac Records and Dreamgirls. So it's about time then that we let her run the world in an iconic Disney production such as this. Although heavily rumored, Queen Bey has now officially been confirmed to voice Simba's love interest and we just can't wait to see this member of musical royalty join the pride.
Scar — Chiwetel Ejiofor
For a while there, it looked as though Hugh Jackman may have traded in Wolverine's adamantium claws for smaller, yet no-less vicious claws after rumors began to suggest that he would voice Scar in The Lion King remake. However that rumor proved itself to be emptier than the watering hole after Pumbaa's let off a big one, and it's been confirmed that Academy Award winner Chiwetel Ejiofor will tackle the villainous role instead. The 12 Years a Slave star will have quite the task to bring this Big Bad to life, but with such an impressive resumé, he's certainly more than up to the task.
Timon — Billy Eichner
American comedian and actor Billy Eichner has packed a lot into his own career already, writing and hosting his own TV shows in the past, but now he's ready to join an even more famous pack in The Lion King remake, starring as the meerkat Timon. Funnily enough, the American Horror Story star previously voiced an animated pig in The Angry Birds movie, but here he'll play the best friend of a warthog named Pumbaa.
Pumbaa — Seth Rogen
Joining Billy Eichner's Timon is Seth Rogen in the role of Pumbaa. Sure, he clears the savannah after every meal, but once the veteran comedian has made the role of Pumbaa his own, we're sure that his take on the beloved warthog won't just be a passing craze. What remains to be seen though is whether Timon and Pumbaa will adopt Simba as friends or whether fans will feel the love tonight in Jon Favreau's new interpretation of the duo.
Zazu — John Oliver
Simba thinks that kings don't need advice from little hornbills for a start, but it's almost impossible to imagine any version of The Lion King without Zazu butting his beak into matters. Taking over from Rowan Atkinson is another famous British comedian, John Oliver, who hosts his own satirical talk show Last Week Tonight. This won't be the first time that Oliver has lent his voice to animation though, as the star has also worked on shows such as Bob's Burgers, The Simpsons, and Gravity Falls.
Rafiki — John Kani
After playing the King of Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War, actor John Kani will return to Africa in The Lion King remake, voicing the royal advisor Rafiki. The baboon played a pivotal role in the original movie, helping Simba to embrace his destiny, so we're sure that Kani will learn from the past and continue the legacy left by voice actor Robert Guillaume in the first film.
Eric André — Azizi
Eric Andreé, the creator, host and writer of Adult Swim's The Eric Andre Show will bring his comic stylings to the role of Azizi — one of the three infamous hyenas who serve at the behest of Scar. Given that this is neither André's first foray into voice work, nor comedy, it's fair to say we'll be laughing up a storm whenever he's on screen.
Florence Kasumba — Shenzi
While a few of the original stars from the animated version of The Lion King will return, it looks like a new actor will take on the role of Shenzi — who was originally voiced by Whoopi Goldberg. German actor Florence Kasumba, who recently appeared in Captain America: Civil War and the upcoming Black Panther, will take on the role of the hyena for the live-action version.
Keegan-Michael Key — Kamari
And rounding out the hyena trio, Keegan-Michael Key will take on the role of Kamari. Known for his work on Friends From College and sketch show Key and Peele, we'll undoubtedly be kept in stitches by this heavyweight of comedy.
JD McCrary — Young Simba
The original young Simba may have been voiced by JTT, but the live-action version has JD! Young actor, JD McCrary from Tyler Perry's The Paynes and Vital Signs is set to take on the role of the young Simba in the upcoming film. And just in case you were worried if he could carry a tune or not, McCrary has already shown off his vocal talents on Childish Gambino track "Terrified." The young star comes from a family of singers, and despite being 10-years-old has already been singing for eight years!
Shahadi Wright Joseph — Young Nala
Another talented young singer who joins the cast is Shahadi Wright Joseph. This star, who has appeared in the Broadway adaption of School of Rock and NBC's Hairspray Live! will take on the role of the young Nala. With Wright Joseph already making waves in the theater community, there's no doubt this little lioness will continue to blow us away when The Lion King is released.
Take a look at the film's official synopsis below:
From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau’s all-new The Lion King journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother — and former heir to the throne — has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba's exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumbaa. Utilizing pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters to life in a whole new way.
The Lion King roars into theaters on July 19, 2019.