Disney has released a bunch of new goods for their upcoming remake of The Lion King. This comes from director Jon Favreau, who is something of a master of the modern blockbuster, having tackled movies such as Iron Man and The Jungle Book. Here, he's treading on sacred ground, as the original 1994 animated movie is one of the studio's most heralded classics. Based on what we're seeing here, it looks like he's about to deliver another major crowd pleaser, with the help of a stacked cast and a team of incredibly gifted digital artists.
The images feature the various members of the cast staring down their on-screen animal counterparts, giving a sense for who is bringing these figures to life this time around. The images feature Donald Glover with Simba; Beyonce Knowles-Carter with Nala; John Oliver, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner with Zazu, Pumbaa and Timon; Chiwetel Ejiofor with Scar; Alfre Woodard with Sarabi; Eric André, Florence Kasumba and Keegan-Michael Key with hyenas Azizi, Shenzi and Kamari; and Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary with Young Nala and Young Simba. James Earl Jones, who returns as Mufasa, sadly isn't featured. We've seen most of the characters previously, but this provides a new, important context.
The featurette features most of the cast discussing the legacy of the original Disney movie, while also discussing how this new take will change the experience. The video is loaded down with stunning footage that makes it all very hard to believe this is being generated via CGI. Many have taken to calling this a live-action remake, given its look and style. However, it is, technically speaking, an animated movie. We get glimpses of some of the most iconic moments here, with some minor changes made to those moments.
The Lion King centers on Simba, who idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his destiny of future royalty. However, not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the young cub's arrival. Scar, Mufasa's brother, who was the former heir to the throne, has a plan to get the power he desperately craves. The battle for Pride Rock is bathed in betrayal, tragedy and drama, which leads to Simba's exile. With help from an unlikely pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take his rightful place as king.
Disney has had tremendous success with similar remakes in the past. Cinderella, Maleficent, Beauty and the Beast and others have proved to be huge box office draws. Most recently, Aladdin proved to be a surprise hit, despite skepticism ahead of its debut. The Lion King, which arrives in theaters on July 19, is also poised to be a massive hit, as it's currently tracking for a massive debut of $150 million or more on its opening weekend. Be sure to check out the images, as well as the new featurette from the Walt Disney Studios YouTube channel, for yourself below.