The past few years, Disney has had much prosperity with live action remakes of some of their classic animated tales. "Beauty and the Beast" is just one of Disney's live-action remakes to be enormously profitable - it is also their most successful box office launch. Each of their remakes - including "Alice and Wonderland" (2010), "Maleficent" (2014), and "Cinderella" (2015) - could have been complete flops, potentially ending further attempts to recreate their original magic.
However, the fame Disney has garnered from these gambles has spurred them onto make even more live-action remakes. A couple duplicates to watch for before we see Simba come back to the big screen are "Dumbo" (March 29, 2019) and "Aladdin" (May 24, 2019). There are also plans for the return of "Mulan" (March 27, 2020), "Maleficent 2" (May 29, 2020), "Lady and the Tramp" (TBA), "Pinocchio" (TBA), "James and the Giant Peach" (TBA), "Tink" (TBA), "Lilo and Stitch" (TBA), "The Little Mermaid" (TBA), among many others!
The Lion King Official Teaser Trailerwww.youtube.com
The cast is the main reason I have high hopes for "The Lion King" to be everything we hoped for.
Donald Glover as Simba will be absolutely perfect. He is extremely talented in both singing and acting so no worries there.
Nala couldn't have a more fitting voice actress than Beyoncé. I mean they're both queens, it's a match made in heaven.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Chiwetel Ejiofor does as Scar - that should be an interesting dynamic. He already got an award for Best Actor in "12 Years A Slave," I have faith that he will do a superb job as Scar.
Alfre Woodard - also from "12 Years A Slave" will be Sarabi. My favorite Sarabi line that I hope they keep is, "Before sunrise he's your son." By the way, the reason she says that is because "everything the light touches" belongs to the king - Mufasa and eventually Simba. Think about that....
I don't think any other person who's ever lived has any claim on Mufasa and his voice except for James Earl Jones. His deep, rumbling voice is very distinctive for Mufasa's character. Everything sounds more important in his voice. I was so happy that they weren't going to replace him as Mufasa.
Seth Rogen is already super funny; it's not hard to envision him as Pumbaa. Billy Eichner has a lot of potential as Timon.
Out of the three hyenas, I'm most looking forward to Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari. Who can forget his viral video "Substitute Teacher" ("A-aron") or how he was Obama's "Anger Translator"? He's got to be one of the funniest people alive right now.
I don't know enough about Eric André to say whether he will do well as Azizi or not. But given the rest of the cast's talent, any lack in his or any one else's performance will be more than evened by Donald Glover and Beyoncé. I have very high hopes for those two.
There are two great stars from "Black Panther" in the movie: John Kani as Rafiki and Florence Kasumba as Shenzi. I imagine both will do just as amazing in "The Lion King" as they did in "Black Panther."
We have John Oliver as Zazu. That should be entertaining, though I'm curious as to how Zazu will sound. I'm used to his accent from the original animated "Lion King" that I have trouble visualizing anything else.
Finally the two child actors: JD McCrary as Young Simba and Shahadi Wright Joseph as Young Nala. They haven't been in enough movies to really have made a name for themselves, but again, I doubt they will ruin the movie among so many other great actors.
With a cast as talented and perfect as this, I really do think the live action version of the "The Lion King" has a lot of potential. My only message to everyone working on it: don't let us down.