Disney has released the first teaser trailer for its The Lion King re-imagining. The Mouse House's trend of remaking its classic animated features as CGI/live-action films started with Alice in Wonderland in 2010, but has really taken off over the past few years. 2019 alone will feature modern re-imaginings of three beloved Disney animated movies, in the forms of Tim Burton's Dumbo, Guy Ritchie's Aladdin, and Jon Favreau's The Lion King. The latter in particular will take a leaf from Favreau's The Jungle Book remake and brings its animal characters to life as photo-realistic digitally animated creatures.
Story-wise, The Lion King (2019) is expected to hew closely to the events of the original 1994 animated film. James Earl Jones is reprising his iconic voice role for Favreau's re-telling as Mufasa, the noble king lion who rules from atop Pride Rock in Africa and grooms his son, Simba, to follow in his footsteps. Chiwetel Ejiofor costars in the film as the voice of Mufasa's brother Scar, who schemes to take the throne for himself by killing his sibling and nephew, with the help of a trio of hyenas known as Shenzi (Florence Kasumba), Azizi (Eric Andre), and Kamari (Keegan-Michael Key) in this version. With a July 2019 release date firmly in place, Disney has now officially begun its marketing push for the film.
The Lion King teaser trailer is now online, following its TV premiere as part of the Thanksgiving Day 2018 football festivities. Check it out in the space below.
Jones and Ejiofor are joined by a star-studded cast in The Lion King retelling, starting with Donald Glover as the voice of adult Simba (with JD McCrary voicing the character as a cub). Other noteworthy voice actors include Last Week Tonight host John Oliver as Mufasa's loyal hornbill advisor Zazu, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as the beloved meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as the voice of adult Nala, Simba's childhood friend (with Shahadi Wright Joseph voicing Nala as a cub). Beyoncé is further collaborating with Elton John - who cowrote the original Lion King's Oscar-winning songs with Tim Rice - on an original end credits tune for the film.
Disney showed the first footage from The Lion King retelling to members of the press back at D23 2017, in the form of a recreation of the original movie's famous opening sequence and musical number, "Circle of Life". Those who saw the clip described it as being a pretty visually spectacular and respectfully modern take on the 1994 film's opening, and this teaser trailer footage is similarly reverential in the way it shows its admiration for the animated classic that inspired it. Likewise, the official teaser should do it part to keep the expectations high for this one, especially in light of what Favreau was able to accomplish with his Jungle Book re-imagining.
Source: Walt Disney Studios
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019