Released in 1994, “The Lion King” is a loose riff on William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The movie follows young lion cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas/Matthew Broderick) as he prepares to succeed his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones), king of the Pride Lands. After Simba’s evil uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) murders Mufasa, he convinces Simba to flee. With the help of jokesters Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), the cub grows up in exile, eventually returning to challenge Scar and reclaim his throne at the behest of his childhood friend, Nala (Moira Kelly).
“The Lion King” is primarily remembered for its original songs, which were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer.
Directed by Jon Favreau, the upcoming iteration is the latest in a string of live-action shot-for-shot remakes from Disney, which is capitalizing on recognizable properties and re-packaging them for the next generation. Favreau had much success in 2016 with “The Jungle Book,” which raked in $966 million at the box office, making it the fifth-highest grossing film that year. Disney will next release Tim Burton’s live-action “Dumbo” remake in March 2019.
Jones returns to reprise his role as Mufasa, and his unmistakable voice is a comforting presence in the first teaser. The rest of the star-studded cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyonce as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Alfre Woodard as Simba’s mother Sarabi, John Oliver as Zazu, John Kani as Rafiki, Florence Kasumba as Shenzi, Eric André as Azizi, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.
Check out the first official teaser trailer for “The Lion King” below.