Following on from his successful remake of animated classic The Jungle Book, director Jon Favreau is trying to create a similarly photorealistic version of The Lion King – but when will the new take on the Disney hit come to cinemas? And who exactly will be voicing the pride and their allies?
Take a look below to find out everything we know about The Lion King remake.
#TheLionKing is visually immaculate & a game-changer for visual effects. It’s absolutely stunning in every way. The music shines (Glover & Beyoncé take it to another level), the performances are great (Timon, Pumbaa & Scar steal many scenes) & the emotions run HIGH. Truly great pic.twitter.com/lPH9Oo4ybb
How similar is The Lion King remake to the original 1994 animated movie?
The remake’s plot is expected to remain largely the same as the original 1994 film which follows young lion cub Simba, son of King Mufasa, who witnesses his father’s death in a terrible stampede, secretly caused by Mufasa’s scheming brother Scar.
Believing the death to be his fault, Simba flees for a carefree existence living with meerkat Timon and warthog Pumbaa, but finds himself called back to his destiny when Scar’s rule turns sour.
There is at least one new character – an elephant shrew, played by Amy Sedaris, has been added to the story, and a couple of the hyenas (played by Florence Kasuma, Keegan Michael-Key and Eric Andre) have had their names changed.
According to Favreau, the design of the hyenas also “had to change a lot” when remaking the original animation. “They didn’t feel like they matched up well with the photo-realism,” he explained to Empire. “A lot of the stuff around them was very stylised.”
But Favreau has countered that, explaining: “If you look at the plot points, it tracks pretty accurately to the old one. But if you watched the films side by side you’d realise they actually deviate a great deal.”
Favreau has also said that the character of Nala has been expanded to take into consideration Beyonce’s presence.
“In the original film, [Nala’s] role is not as large as in the stage production, and we definitely drew inspiration, and that was one of the areas where we were going to expand this,” he told Fandango.com.
Will there still be songs in The Lion King remake?
Taking its lead from the other realistic Disney remakes, it appears that the Lion King will bring back some but not all of its iconic songs. Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Hakuna Matata, I Just Can’t Wait to be King and Circle of Life are set to return, with Beyoncé and Elton John teaming up to write a new song for the end credits.
The Lion King soundtrack has been announced and Be Prepared has been included. It’s listed as a reworked version (2019) with Chiwetel Ejiofor singing.
There’s also a new Beyonce song ‘TBA’ on the soundtrack, which is all very mysterious, but we know it doesn’t replace any songs. Update: Beyonce’s new The Lion King song is called Spirit and is now available to buy.
“We have all the original songs, but there’s a song that she performed and wrote in the spirit of the production along with working with Lebo M., who’s part of it with Hans Zimmer,” Favreau told Fandango. “They were all collaborating with her and helping to bring this new piece of music into a film where there’s already a very established musical personality to the piece. So it was nice of them to have them working with her to allow the new song to feel organically a part of the new production.”
The Lion King soundtrack
1. Lindiwe Mkhize / Lebo M: ‘Circle of Life / Nants’ Ingonyama’
2. Hans Zimmer: ‘Life’s Not Fair’
3. Hans Zimmer: ‘Rafiki’s Fireflies’
4. JD McCrary / Shahadi Wright Joseph / John Oliver: ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’
5. Hans Zimmer: ‘Elephant Graveyard’
6. Chiwetel Ejiofor: ‘Be Prepared (2019 Version)’
7. Hans Zimmer: ‘Stampede’
8. Hans Zimmer: ‘Scar Takes the Throne’
9. Billy Eichner / Seth Rogen / JD McCrary / Donald Glover: ‘Hakuna Matata’
10. Hans Zimmer: ‘Simba Is Alive!’
11. Billy Eichner / Seth Rogen: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’
12. Beyoncé / Donald Glover / Billy Eichner / Seth Rogen: ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’
13. Hans Zimmer: ‘Reflections of Mufasa’
14. TBA – Beyonce
15. Hans Zimmer: ‘Battle for Pride Rock’
16. Hans Zimmer: ‘Remember’
17. Elton John: ‘Never Too Late’
18. Lebo M: ‘He Lives in You’
19. Lebo M: ‘Mbube’
The Lion King soundtrack will get a digital release on 11th July and a physical version on 19th July.
Disney has released two clips from the movie ahead of its release (not long now!) The first shows the moment when Pumbaa and Timon find Simba, the second is when Scar tries to convince Simba to give a “gift” to Mufasa which leads to him waiting where the wildebeest will stampede through and, well, we know how that ends.