After seeing what Disney could do with The Jungle Book, fans were already clamouring for the live-action version of The Lion King, especially knowing that Jon Favreau was going to be directing it. But Disney, who knows a thing or two about pumping up their audiences, just announced the entire voice cast for the 2019 update and hakuna matata, it’s a doozy. They revealed the complete cast list on social media and nothing could have prepared us for this.
One word: Beyoncé.
We all knew the James Earl Jones would be reprising his role as Mufasa and Donald Glover will be taking over the role of Simba, but Bey will portray his best friend-turned-love interest Nala. The superstar confirmed the news on Facebook, sharing Disney’s official release.
LOOK AT THOSE NAMES AND FACES. This is the cast you’ve always dreamed about. We got a heads-up in the summer about Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and John Oliver, but Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar?! Alfre Woodard as Simba’s mother, Sarabi?! Throw in Keegan-Michael Key, Eric André and Florence Kasumba as those blasted hyenas, John Kani as the shaman mandrill, and breakout youngsters JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph as Young Simba and Young Nala, respectively, and wow. Just … WOW.
It was already so good but, come on, let’s face it. Everything is better with Beyoncé. Hmm. Think Blue Ivy made her do it? If so, thank you, girl.
The original animated version of The Lion King premiered in 1994, became one of the highest-grossing animated flicks of all time, and earned two Oscars in the process (for Original Song and Score). The movie also inspired the hit Broadway musical, which won six Tony Awards. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes to this new circle of life. 2019 can’t come fast enough.