The cast for Disney's live-action remake of The Lion King is rounding out quite nicely. With most of the core roles for director Jon Favreau's new take on the beloved classic in place, a couple more very important pieces of the puzzle have just been locked down.Stars from Captain America: Civil War have joined the cast, as the wise baboon Rafiki and as Simba's mom, Sarabi enter the fray.
Starting with Rafiki, The Wrap is reporting that John Kani, who played Black Panther's father King T'Chaka in Captain America: Civil War, will voice the baboon in this live-action version of The Lion King. Robert Guillaume voice the character in the original and is one of the most important supporting characters in the story. Rafiki is probably most remembered for his iconic moment holding up Simba to the crowd at Pride Rock in the beginning of the movie, a sequence that we know will be retold faithfully in this version of The Lion King thanks to some footage that was shown at Disney's D23 Expo.
Next up, The Hollywood Reporter says that Oscar-nominee Alfre Woodard has been cast as Sarabi in The Lion King remake. In Captain America: Civil War, she played the mother that confronted Tony Stark about her son that was killed during the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The role of Sarabi was originally voiced by Madge Sinclair. Sarabi did not have an overly large role in the original movie, but as Simba's mom, the role is a very important one. In any case, a very talented and respected actress is playing the part this time around.
Alfre Woodard and John Kani join an already stacked cast for Disney's live-action version of The Lion King, which is currently filming in Los Angeles. It was recently reported that Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange) is in talks to voice Scar in the remake. Previous reports claimed that Hugh Jackman was set to voice Simba's bad uncle, but that turned out to be untrue. The cast also includes Donald Glover as Simba, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, John Oliver as Zazu and James Earl Jones, who will be reprising his role as Mufasa. It has also been reported that Jon Favreau wants Beyonce as Nala, but she has yet to be confirmed.
To this day, The Lion King is the third highest-grossing animated feature of all-time with $968.4 million worldwide. When adjusted for inflation, it would be in the number one spot. The movie was also an absolute critical smash, currently sitting at a 92 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, Hans Zimmer won an Oscar for his score and three of the songs from The Lion King were nominated in the Best Original Song category, with 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' taking home the Academy Award. So there is a lot of pressure for Disney to deliver with this reimagining. We'll see how they did when The Lion King arrives in theaters on July 19, 2019.