Disney's upcoming re-imagining of The Lion King will not be a shot-for-shot remake of the 1994 animated classic. Upon release of the first teaser, it appeared that the new project would not be offering much of anything new, but that's not the case at all. The film will arrive next summer in theaters, and retells one of Disney's most beloved coming-of-age stories.
The Lion King, the animated blockbuster from 1994 has long been regarded as one of Disney's best films. The story focused on Simba, an exiled young lion who discovers that he was meant to succeed his father, and returns home to take his rightful place as King. It would spawn a couple of direct-to-video followups in 1998's The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, and 2004's The Lion King 1 1/2. Production on the re-imagining began last year, which boasts a cast of A-list megastars. While last month' teaser sent fans back down memory lane, it also managed to set a new record for Disney in its first 24 hours. Sadly, the teaser didn't offer anything refreshing, but Disney has now addressed concerns about the film being a formulaic copy of the original.
During an interview with THR, Walt Disney Studios president of production Sean Bailey made it clear that the new Lion King will not be a shot-for-shot remake of the original. In the teaser, the opening from the 2D classic is showcased with Pride Rock at the center, and while it's very nostalgic it doesn't show what is being done differently. However, Bailey assures fans that this new outing will feature elements that were not present in the 2D version from 1994. When asked about the film's potential status as a shot-for-shot remake, Bailey stated the following:
"The Lion King is a revered and beloved movie, so you'd better revere and love those parts that the audience wants. But there are things in the movie that are going to be new. [And] it is a new form of filmmaking. Historical definitions don't work. It uses some techniques that would traditionally be called animation, and other techniques that would traditionally be called live action. It is an evolution of the technology Jon used in Jungle Book."
This won't be the only remake coming from Disney next year, as they have a few other familiar properties joining in as well. The Lion King is just one of the latest to get the remake treatment from the studio, but it may also be the most high-profile of the bunch. After success with The Jungle Book, Jon Favreau was brought in to direct the upcoming film, and he's looking to make the same impact he did two years ago. In order to gain as much attention as possible, Disney wisely released the first teaser for The Lion King during this year's football festivities. The cast includes Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, Alfre Woodard, John Oliver, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Eric Andre, JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key, Ejiofor, and John Kani. Favreau is directing a script penned by Jeff Nathanson, and Hans Zimmer will be returning to score the movie.
Fans of the 2D classic will have more to look forward to as the film's release date begins to arrive, but before enjoying the updated film they may want to re-watch the original to set the mood. While only one teaser has been released so far, it will only be a matter of time before an official full trailer is released, allowing fans a bigger taste of what they can expect next summer. The Lion King has managed to stay relevant for over 20 years, and hopefully, this re-imagining lives up to expectations.
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019