Disney decided to give fans in attendance at the D23 Expo quite the treat today. Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Iron Man) is set to direct the upcoming live-action version of The Lion King and, sort of under the radar, already started shooting the movie. He decided to bring some of the footage with him and debuted it to the crowd at D23. The footage was reportedly amazing and faithfully recreated a scene from the original animated version of The Lion King.
As reported by Superhero Hype, who was on the ground running a live blog from the live-action movies panel at D23, The Lion King footage absolutely wowed those in the audience and recreated the Pride Rock sequence from the opening of the original movie. Sadly, Disney hasn't released the footage online. At least not yet. For now, here's a description of the footage, which sounds like it will be everything fans are hoping this live-action take on The Lion King can be.
"It's basically the opening of the original with all the animals heading to Pride Rock. Like Jungle Book, it looks phenomenal! We see baby Simba and Rafiki rub red goo on his forehead. The shots look straight out of the animated film with 'Circle of Life' playing over. It pretty much matches the original animated teaser if I'm not mistaken."
In terms of iconic imagery from Disney movies, that opening scene from The Lion Kings ranks pretty high up there. So hearing that this scene was recreated in a visually stunning way should serve to encourage those who might have some trepidation about this remake. Disney has done very well with these live-action remakes of animated classics lately and they know how beloved this movie is. Odds are, they wouldn't do this unless they were certain it could work. Given what Jon Favreau was able to do with The Jungle Book, this makes total sense and could be visually incredible.
As far as production goes, The Lion King is still in the casting process. It is being reported that Hugh Jackman has joined the cast as the villainess Scar. He will be joining a cast that already includes Donald Glover as Simba, Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumba, John Oliver as Zazu and James Earl Jones who is returning to voice Mufasa. There are also reports that Beyonce is wanted as the voice of Nala, but she hasn't officially signed on the dotted line yet. Between the cast and the footage description, this sounds like it could be something truly special.
The Lion King remake is currently set for release on July 19, 2019, which will put it right in the heart of the summer movie season. Since the original animated movie is one of the highest-grossing animated movies of all-time, they should have no doubts that this remake can rake in the dough at the box office. Hopefully, they will release the footage online soon. Be sure keep up with us throughout the weekend as we will be bringing you all of the other big news and updates from D23.