Disney is taking fans back to Pride Rock — this time with a new live-action twist. The studio officially confirmed the casting in a tweet displaying photographs of all the major cast alongside their character names with confirmation that the film is set for a July 19, 2019, release. Ahead, see who will be joining the pack in the Jon Favreau-directed live-action remake.
Donald Glover as Simba
The Atlanta creator and star will undoubtedly bring some of his musical talents to the role of adult Simba — the lion at the heart of the story, whom we catch up with several years after he runs away from Pride Rock believing he’s responsible for his father’s death. Originally voiced by Matthew Broderick, we’re looking forward to hearing Glover feel the love tonight as Simba.
Beyoncé as Nala
For every Disney prince there is a Disney princess (and vice versa), and who better to give voice to lionized royalty than Queen Bey? The singer will portray adult Nala, who goes looking for Simba in the wake of famine and destruction at Pride Rock and ends up drunk in love in the process.
James Earl Jones as Mufasa
Jones gave voice to Mufasa in the original film, lending a blend of gravitas and warmth to Simba’s tough-but-loving father and King of Pride Rock. The performance is so indelible that Jones is returning to remind Simba who he is one more time.
Alfre Woodard as Sarabi
The Luke Cage star is taking on the lioness of all roles, portraying Simba’s mother Sarabi, who is reluctantly forced to become Scar’s queen after her husband Mufasa dies.
Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Pumbaa and Timon
Disney has secured the talents of two comedians for the comic relief in the story — Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner will portray warthog Pumbaa and meerkat Timon, respectively. As the two new friends and allies Simba meets in the jungle, they teach him the life philosophy of “Hakuna Matata” (it means “no worries”).
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar
The Doctor Strange star is getting to let loose all of his villainous tendencies as the evil Scar. Be prepared for him to give you the creeps as the murderous uncle to Simba, who arranges his own brother’s death to get his hands on the crown. Ejiofor has a rich background on the British stage, so he should have no trouble taking on this most Shakespearean of roles.
Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary as Young Nala and Young Simba
When we first meet Simba and Nala, they are mere cubs who just can’t wait to be king (and queen). Shahadi Wright Joseph (NBC’s Hairspray Live) and JD McCrary (OWN’s Tyler Perry’s The Paynes) will portray the younger lions, who end up suffering great tragedy.
John Oliver as Zazu
Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver is bringing his British sense of humor and knack for reporting to The Lion King’s most officious, yet loyal character — Zazu, Mufasa’s majordomo/advisor and occasionally reluctant babysitter to Young Simba.
John Kani as Rafiki
John Kani (Captain America: Civil War) will portay Mufasa’s other most trusted advisor, wise baboon Rafiki. Rafiki is crucial in presenting newborn Simba to the world and steps in to remind Simba of his past and responsibility to his family.
Eric André, Florence Kasumba, and Keegan-Michael Key as the menacing hyenas Azizi, Shenzi, and Kamari
Eric André (The Eric André Show), Florence Kasumba (Black Panther), and Keegan-Michael Key (Friends from College) will be laughing like hyenas as the three slobbering, mercenary, occasionally dim-witted henchmen to Scar. While Scar brings the evil plans, they help enact them in exchange for food — and provide some comic relief in the process. (Azizi and Kamari were known as Shenzi and Ed in the animated feature.)