The Lion King remake is – somewhat inevitably – in the process of being made. Will it just be another flawed adaptation of a beloved classic?
This weekend was very serendipitous. After watching The Lion King with my partner’s niece I recently found out that the film is getting a remake in 2019. Safe to say, I gasped. What blew my mind even more was finding out that it is going to be live-action, like The Jungle Book remake.
There is no doubt The Lion King remake is being made to attract and capture a younger audience. Disney is planning a few live-action remakes – Tim Burton’s Dumbo being just one of the few.
But will the remake be able to stack up to the intensity of the original’s story and tone? At 25, watching Mufasa fall from the cliff to his death still gets me choked up.
There’s no doubt I could be wrong and the film could be a smash hit. And hey, I’m cool with that; if I’m wrong then I’ve learnt something new (and also get a good new The Lion King). So let’s find out what information we have to base our thoughts on the upcoming adaptation.
What do we know about The Lion King remake so far?
The film is being directed by Jon Favreau. Clearly his success behind The Jungle Book is what has driven this decision.
Favreau will be using the same virtual-production technique as he did with The Jungle Book, working with the Oscar winning VFX supervisor Rob Legato and lead VFX house MPC.
The Lion King remake will follow the storyline of the 1994 original film, centring around the young lion Simba, growing up on the African savanna after his uncle Scar usurps his father Mufasa’s place as king.
James Earl Jones will be returning as Mufasa, and let’s face it: there can be only one Mufasa. He will be joined by Donald Glover as Simba, and Beyoncé as his love interest and childhood friend Nala.
Also joining the cast we will see comedian John Oliver in the role of Zazu, the hornbill advisor of Mufasa.
Golden Globe winning actress Alfre Woodard will voice the character of Simba’s mother Sarabi, and comedian Seth Rogen will play the character of Simba’s warthog buddy, Pumbaa.
South African actor John Kani will play the role of Rafiki, and last but not least, Chiwetel Eijofor, lead actor in Twelve Years a Slave, will play the infamous villain Scar.
This is what we know so far. As the year progresses, more info will be released, but one can only hope that this live-action adaptation can deliver and live up to what the original animation accomplished.
The star-studded cast and great director at the helm of the film should be a smashing success. But not all is certain, and only time will tell if Disney can recapture our childhood and Favreau can strike gold twice.
So what’s the consensus?
While The Jungle Book got high praise and was lauded as a great film, I just don’t think The Lion King remake will do the same. I’ve got to say it, I do not see a live-action Lion King adaptation recapturing my awe (and tears) from the original.
The Lion King remake is expected to release July 19, 2019. Let us know in the comments if you’re excited for the film, or if the trend of reboots and remakes has run its course and gotten stale.
You can read our hesitations regarding ANOTHER planned The Jungle Book remake here.