All hail the Lion Queen! Beyoncé has officially joined the cast of Disney’s upcoming live-action version of The Lion King, and we couldn’t be more excited by the news. Not only is The Lion King our favorite Disney movie – we all remember slow dancing to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” in middle school – but Beyoncé is definitely our dream choice to play Nala, Simba’s love interest.
Most of the cast had already been announced back in February, with Donald Glover taking over the role of Simba, and James Earl Jones once again voicing Mufasa. But in March, Variety reported that director Jon Favreau was holding out for Beyoncé in the role of Nala and was pretty much willing to do “whatever it takes to accommodate her schedule.” The waiting clearly paid off, and with this new announcement, Disney’s main cast is complete. They tweeted out this official photo yesterday:
This new live-action Lion King follows in the footsteps of 2016’s The Jungle Book (also directed by Favreau), and Disney’s two recent mega hits: 2015’s Cinderella and this year’s Beauty and the Beast. The Lion King is set to release on July 19, 2019, and promises to be an insane visual feat. Though it’s being classified as “live-action,” Favreau will be using the same techniques he used in The Jungle Book – making the animals look exceedingly real through special effects, while having their voices portrayed by the stellar cast.
And what a stellar cast it is! While the original Lion King film starred mostly white actors (Simba was voiced by both Matthew Broderick and Jonathan Taylor Thomas), we’re happy to see so much more representation in this new casting. Glover has been blowing up lately, with his hit show Atlanta garnering awards and acclaim, and a new role as a young Lando in the upcoming Han Solo movie. We can’t wait to see how his chemistry with Knowles-Carter plays out on screen, but that’s only the beginning. From Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Scar to Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan’s Timon and Pumbaa, this is an all star cast that we’re sure will do The Lion King justice.
It’s a good thing too, as there are a lot of eyes on this reboot as we get closer to its release. We’re not the only ones who love The Lion King; the original Disney version made close to a billion dollars at the global box office and inspired a hit Broadway show that’s still running after 20 years. The show has also made about a billion dollars, making it the highest grossing Broadway production of all time. From songs like “Circle of Life” to “Hakuna Matata,” The Lion King is a pop culture sensation that has touched millions over the years. It’s a lot to live up to. But if we’re going to trust anyone to deliver on the hype, it’s Beyoncé.
As far as we’re concerned, July can’t come fast enough.