Disney’s animated blockbuster The Lion King debuted in theatres on June 24, 1994, and, just in time for the momentous 25-year anniversary, we now have a soundtrack for the celebration. Well, a short soundtrack. Only a few lines really—but we’ll take it because it features Beyoncé and Donald Glover singing together. No surprise, it’s beautiful.
In the upcoming remake, Beyoncé plays Nala opposite Glover’s adult version of Simba, with the now-grown cub returning to the animal kingdom to avenge his father’s death and take his rightful place as the King. Specifically, the Lion King. In the new teaser, the former childhood friends have found their way back to one another and fallen in love, performing Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” which took home the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1995. It’s still a jam.
The new teaser includes several firsts, including the first time we’re hearing Beyoncé sing in the film and the first time we’re hearing Glover in his titular role. Fans previously got a sneak peek of the calming and wise voice of Beyoncé’s Nala in a TV spot earlier this month, with Beyoncé delivering the powerful voiceover: “Simba, you have to take your place as king. We need you. Come home.” Even if you’re the rightful heir to the throne, you still do what Beyoncé says, amirite?
The upcoming Jon Favreau-directed film is led by Glover and Beyoncé, with the incredible cast rounded out by Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Billy Eichner (Timon), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), Eric Andre (Azizi), John Oliver (Zazu), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), John Kani (Rafiki) and the great James Earl Jones, who is reprising his role as Mufasa. Remember how hard you cried the first time you watched The Lion King? Expect to cry even harder this time.
Beyoncé has been tight-lipped about her upcoming role in the Disney remake, but she has made nods to the film in the weeks leading up to its release. The superstar wore a lion-inspired Georges Hobeika golden jumpsuit to her mother Tina Knowles Lawson’s Wearable Art Gala in California in June, with the show’s theme “A Journey to the Pride Lands” inspired by Bey’s upcoming role as Nala.
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Though Bey hasn’t talked much about being in the film, her co-stars are dropping her name like they’re starring in a film with Beyoncé. No shade, we’d be doing it just as much, if not more. While appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Keegan-Michael Key, who plays a hyena in the new film, joked that he offered to sing one of the famous songs from the film’s award-winning soundtrack, but was quickly rebuffed in favour of Grammy winners Beyoncé and Donald Glover. If you’re going to be passed over for a singing role, Beyoncé and Glover’s Childish Gambino are about as good as it gets.
The Lion King arrives in theatres on July 19.