Disney officially unveiled the cast on Twitter this evening for the live-action adaptation of The Lion King due out in theaters July 19, 2019.
Based on the hit animated classic from 1994, Jon Favreau is directing the live-action remake. Casting announcements had started to be released as early as February 2017 but it wasn’t until today when the main cast was confirmed for the 2019 film.
Donald Glover and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter will headline the cast as adult Simba and Nala. James Earl Jones reprises his role as the doomed Mufasa while Chiewetel Ejiofor takes over as the villainous Scar. Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are on board for comic relief as Timon and Pumbaa. Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver voices Zazu, the red-billed hornbill. Alfre Woodard is on board as Sarabi, the wife of Mufasa and mother of Simba. John Kani will play Rafiki, a mandrill voiced by the recently departed Robert Guillaume in the films. Comedian Keegan-Michael Key will play a hyena named Kamari. Eric André plays Azizi. Florence Kasumba has been cast as Shenzi, a hyena voiced by Whoopi Goldberg in the film.
A fun fact: As they finished up work on The Little Mermaid, co-directors John Musker and John Clements were offered one of three films: Swan Lake, Aladdin, and some movie about “lions in the jungle.” They chose Aladdin and passed on the latter because they didn’t think anyone would want to watch a movie about lions.
The Lion King earned nearly $1 billion at the worldwide box office since it’s initial release, spawning a Broadway musical, and numerous spin-offs and sequels.