Lions rule the African savanna in “The Lion King,” which welcomes Donald Glover (“Atlanta,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story”) as future king Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (“Dreamgirls,” “Lemonade” visual album) as Simba’s friend-turned-love interest Nala, and James Earl Jones (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Field of Dreams”) as Simba’s wise and loving father, Mufasa, reprising his iconic performance from Disney’s 1994 animated classic. Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Twelve Years a Slave,” Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange”) was called on to portray Simba’s villainous uncle Scar, and Alfre Woodard (“Juanita,” Marvel’s “Luke Cage”) portrays Simba’s no-nonsense mother, Sarabi. JD McCrary (OWN’s “Tyler Perry’s The Paynes,” Apple’s “Vital Signs”) fills the shoes of Young Simba, a confident cub who can’t wait to be king, and Shahadi Wright Joseph (NBC’s “Hairspray Live,” Broadway’s “The Lion King”) brings tough cub Young Nala to life.
Every kingdom comes with a trustworthy advisor or two. John Kani (“Coriolanus,” Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War”) was cast as the wise baboon Rafiki, and John Oliver (HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) was tapped as hornbill Zazu, Mufasa’s loyal confidant. When Simba goes into exile, he relies on two newfound friends—Seth Rogen (“Sausage Party,” “Neighbors”) lends his comedic chops to naïve warthog Pumbaa, and Billy Eichner (“Billy on the Street,” FX’s “American Horror Story”) joins the cast as know-it-all meerkat Timon.
While most of the animals in the kingdom respect the king, the hyenas have other plans. Florence Kasumba (NBC’s “Emerald City,” Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther”) portrays Shenzi, Eric André (Adult Swim’s “The Eric André Show,” FXX’s “Man Seeking Woman”) is Azizi, and Keegan-Michael Key (“Predator,” Netflix’s “Friends from College”) plays Kamari.
And if all the childhood glee from these announcements has you giddy and feeling like you want to jump around and play, you might consider playing with pokies online to release some of the pent up excitement!
THE LION KING roars into theaters July 19, 2019.