The Lion King is a 2019 American musical drama film directed by Jon Favreau and written by Jeff Nathanson. It is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of the 1994 traditionally animated film of the same name, which itself is loosely based on William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. The film was released by Walt Disney Pictures on July 19, 2019. The plot follows Simba, a young lion who must embrace his role as the rightful king of his native land following the murder of his father, Mufasa, at the hands of his uncle, Scar.
Simba, the son of Mufasa and the Prince of the Pride Lands, hopes to follow in his father's footsteps. However, Mufasa's brother, Scar, plots to betray Mufasa and take over the Pride Lands, forcing Simba into exile, where he meets Timon and Pumbaa. As a result, Simba has to make an alliance and rebuild himself fully to take what is rightfully his.
In the Pride Lands of Africa, a pride of lions rule over the animal kingdom from Pride Rock. King Mufasa's and Queen Sarabi's newborn son, Simba, is presented to the gathering animals by Rafiki the mandrill, the kingdom's shaman and advisor. Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands and explains to him the responsibilities of kingship and the "circle of life", which connects all living things. Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, covets the throne and plots to eliminate Mufasa and Simba, so he may become king. He tricks Simba and his best friend Nala (to whom Simba is betrothed) into exploring a forbidden elephants' graveyard, where they are attacked by spotted hyenas led by Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi. Mufasa is alerted about the incident by his majordomo, the hornbill Zazu, and rescues the cubs. Though disappointed in Simba, Mufasa forgives him and explains that the great kings of the past watch over them from the night sky, from which he will one day watch over Simba. Meanwhile, Scar visits the hyenas and manages to convince them to help him overthrow Mufasa in exchange for hunting rights in the Pride Lands.
Scar sets a trap for his brother and nephew, luring Simba into a gorge and having the hyenas drive a large herd of wildebeest into a stampede that will trample him. He tells him he will find his "Roar," and he will never be called a cub again. He informs Mufasa of Simba's peril, knowing that the king will rush to save his son. Mufasa saves Simba but ends up hanging perilously from the gorge's edge. Scar refuses to help Mufasa, instead sending him falling to his death. He then convinces Simba that the tragedy was Simba's fault and advises him to leave the kingdom and never return. He orders the hyenas to kill the cub, but Simba escapes. Finally, Scar tells the pride that both Mufasa and Simba were killed in the stampede and steps forward as the new king, allowing his three hyena minions and the rest of their large pack to live in the Pride Lands.
Simba collapses in a desert and is rescued by Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog, who are fellow outcasts. Simba grows up in the jungle with his two new friends and the other animals, living a carefree life under the motto "hakuna matata" ("no worries" in Swahili). Now a young adult, Simba rescues Timon and Pumbaa from a hungry lioness, who turns out to be Nala. She and Simba reunite and fall in love, and she urges him to return home, telling him that the Pride Lands have become a drought-stricken wasteland under Scar's reign. Feeling guilty over his father's death, Simba refuses and storms off. He then encounters Rafiki, who tells him that Mufasa's spirit lives on in Simba. Simba is visited by the ghost of Mufasa in the night sky, who tells him that he must take his rightful place as king. Realizing that he can no longer run from his past, Simba decides to return to the Pride Lands.
Aided by his friends, Simba sneaks past the hyenas at Pride Rock and confronts Scar, who had just struck Sarabi. Scar taunts Simba over his role in Mufasa's death and backs him to the edge of the rock, where he reveals to him that he murdered Mufasa. Enraged, Simba reveals the truth to the rest of the pride. Scar attempts to defend himself, but his knowledge of Mufasa's last moment (despite having previously claimed that he arrived too late at the gorge) exposes his role in Mufasa's death. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, and the lionesses fend off the hyenas while Scar, attempting to escape, is cornered by Simba at the top of Pride Rock. Scar begs for mercy and attempts to blame the hyenas for his actions; Simba spares his life but orders him to leave the Pride Lands forever. Scar refuses and attacks his nephew, but Simba manages to toss him from the top of the rock. Scar survives the fall but is attacked and killed by the hyenas, who overheard his attempt to betray them. Afterward, Simba takes over the kingship and makes Nala his queen.
Later, with Pride Rock restored to its usual state, Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub to the assembled animals, continuing the circle of life.
- Donald Glover as Simba
- JD McCrary as Young Simba
- Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar
- Billy Eichner as Timon
- Seth Rogen as Pumbaa
- Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala
- Shahadi Wright Joseph as Young Nala
- Alfre Woodard as Sarabi
- John Kani as Rafiki
- John Oliver as Zazu
- James Earl Jones as Mufasa
- Florence Kasumba as Shenzi
- Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari
- Eric Andre as Azizi
- Penny Johnson Jerald as Sarafina
- Amy Sedaris as Guinea Fowl
- Chance Bennett as Bushbaby
- Josh McCrary as Elephant Shrew
- Phil LaMarr as Topi (miscredited as an impala).
- J. Lee as Hyena
On September 28, 2016, Walt Disney Studios announced that director Jon Favreau would develop the reimagining of The Lion King. The project follows the technologically groundbreaking smash hit The Jungle Book, directed by Favreau, which debuted in April and earned $965.8 million worldwide.
The Lion King builds on Disney's success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Christopher Robin, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Mary Poppins Returns, Dumbo, and Aladdin.
The Lion King (1994) is one of the biggest animated films of all time with a lifetime global box office gross of $968.8 million, including $422.8 million domestically. It won Academy Awards for the original song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Elton John, Tim Rice) and original score (Hans Zimmer), plus two Grammy Awards, with the soundtrack selling over 14 million copies. In 1997, the stage production The Lion King made its Broadway debut, winning six Tony Awards; 19 years later, it remains one of Broadway's biggest hits alongside several other productions running around the world, including London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Mexico City, Shanghai, and North America. Translated into eight different languages, its 23 global productions have been seen by more than 85 million people across every continent except Antarctica. The Lion King's worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.
In February 2017, it was announced that Donald Glover was cast as the voice of Simba, while James Earl Jones was also announced in the cast to reprise his role as Mufasa. Later in April 2017, it was announced that Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner would be voicing Pumbaa and Timon respectively. While in July 2017, Disney announced that John Oliver would be voicing Zazu.
In August 2017, Alfre Woodard and John Kani were also announced as cast members of the film and were confirmed to play Sarabi and Rafiki, respectively. In November 2017, it was confirmed that Chiwetel Ejiofor would voice Scar, while Eric Andre, Florence Kasumba, and Keegan-Michael Key had also joined the cast to voice the hyenas Azizi, Shenzi, and Kamari, J.D. McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph were also confirmed to be voicing Young Simba and Young Nala.
It was announced on November 1, 2017, that Hans Zimmer would return to score the film, in which having previously scored the 1994 animated version. It was also announced later in the month that Elton John (who also scored the 1994 film) had also signed onto work on the film's soundtrack as well before his retirement.
On February 9, 2018, Elton John confirmed he would be working again with Tim Rice on a new song for the end credits sung by Beyoncé. He also confirmed that four out of the five songs from the original would make it in the remake. On the same day, artist Aaron Blaise announced that he was working on a picture book adaptation by Disney Publishing. On February 3, 2019, Skyler Shuler of the DisInsider reported "Be Prepared" would be included as well.
- Main article: The Lion King (2019 soundtrack)
Hans Zimmer, who composed the 1994 animated version, would return to compose the score for the remake. Elton John also returned to rework his musical compositions from the original film before his retirement, with Beyoncé assisting John in the reworking of the soundtrack and creating a new song for the film titled "Spirit". Elton John and Tim Rice also wrote a new song for the film's end credits, titled "Never Too Late". Digitally released by Walt Disney Records on July 11, 2019 with a physical release on July 19, the soundtrack also features all the songs from the original film, a cover of The Token's "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and the song "He Lives in You" from Rhythm of the Pride Lands and the Broadway musical.
- July 12, 2019 (Belgium, Finland, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Sweden, Taiwan, and United Kingdom)
- July 18, 2019 (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Malaysia, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore)
- July 19, 2019 (Bulgaria, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Malaysia, Poland, Spain, and Turkey)
- August 9, 2019 (Pakistan)
- August 21, 2019 (Japan)
- Main article: The Lion King (2019 video)
The Lion King was digitally released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on October 11, 2019. The film was released on October 22 on Disney DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray but will be also available during the first year of launch on Disney+.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 53% based on 392 reviews and an average rating of 6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "While it can take pride in its visual achievements, The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved--though for some fans that may just be enough."
The Lion King received an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects nomination at the 92nd Academy Awards, losing its win to Sam Mendes's war film 1917.
Differences from the 1994 film
- Some animals that didn't appear in the original film (either appearing in later media or never appeared in the franchise at all before the remake) appear in this film. They include aardvarks, bat-eared foxes, bush babies, dragonflies, dung beetles, elephant shrews, gray crowned cranes, gray parrots, and weaver birds.
- The novelization includes a talking honey badger, which did not appear in the film.
- The Pride Lands' rules are slightly explored further in this film, with Zazu telling to Scar that it is forbidden to eat members of the royal court, Mufasa stating that Scar must stay in the Pride Lands because he is his brother, and the lionesses being depicted as also acting as the Pride Lands' protectors.
- As a recurring gag through the film, Zazu often mentions that he has a cousin (or a brother) who thought he was a woodpecker, which wasn't featured in the original film.
- Shenzi in the original, while the smarter one of the hyena trio, was just as comical and at times not particularly bright just like Banzai and Ed and had an African-American accent, whereas here she is a much more ruthless, cold, serious, and fierce leader of the pack and had an African-German accent.
- Aside from the name change, Banzai and Ed (called Kamari and Azizi here respectively) are much different compared to the originals, such as both of them do speak English fine whereas in the original only Banzai does while Ed's dialogue consists of nothing but manic laughter (with the exception of maybe the end of the original Be Prepared scene).
- In the original, when Simba asks his father if all that is in the light will belong to him, Mufasa just confirms it while in this film, Mufasa explains to his son that the Pride Lands does not belong to anyone and that the role of the king is only to protect the lands.
- During the musical number "Circle of Life", there were several changes:
- During the second verse of "Nants ingonyama", oryxes were seen instead of topi.
- Rafiki brings red twigs instead of his Bakora staff and also baptizes Simba with the dust from the twigs instead of the pulp from the fruit and the sand that was next to him, as the former doesn't have any pigments in real life.
- The staff was not seen at all until during the climax of the film where Rafiki grabs it and calls the stick "an old friend". It also has no rattle, but there is a swollen area that resembles it.
- In the original, Rafiki hugs Mufasa upon climbing up Pride Rock, whereas in the remake, he greets Mufasa by touching his forehead.
- The same thing repeats at the end when Simba is about to climb atop of Pride Rock to claim his place as king.
- In the original when Rafiki presents Simba in front of the animals by standing up, the remake shows him sitting down, still presenting Simba in front of them.
- The mouse Scar tried to eat appears more frequently in the film where it tries to find shelter in Pride Rock and when Scar notices it where he does not pick it up and attempts to eat it (he simply communicates with the mouse and tried to keep it in place as he did) and the mouse later appears during the end of the film among the other animals returning to Pride Rock. In the traditionally animated film, the mouse only appears at the beginning of the film and Scar grabs him and tries to eat him, but loses the mouse when Zazu distracts him.
- When Scar tried to attack Zazu, he doesn't catch him in his mouth unlike in the original film.
- In the scene where Rafiki is doing a painting of Simba, he uses bugs to arrange on the tree and blows powder on them to complete the painting of it instead of gourd juice like in the traditionally animated film.
- Scar's mane is dark brown instead of black. His body color is also a lighter grayish-tan color than orange-brown.
- The gopher that gave Zazu news about the Pride Lands was absent in the film. In fact, gophers are not native to Africa in real life. Instead, Zazu flies around to search for news happening in the Pride Lands. Additionally, Mufasa trains Simba in pouncing an unnoticing Zazu as a game for fun, (unlike in the original where he does give Zazu a heads up, much to his dismay), while the scene in which Simba pounces on a bug is featured later in the film.
- The scene where Timon and Pumbaa sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" before Nala chases them is expanded into a short musical number, assuring their fellow herbivores that everything's okay and the other animals even sing along with the duo until Nala interrupted them.
- Also, the scene where Pumbaa tries to catch a rhinoceros beetle was changed to Simba trying to catch it after returning to Pride Rock after Mufasa has Zazu to send him back before meeting up with Scar. The rhinoceros beetle in that same scene has the same colors of its real-life counterpart instead of being blue.
- There are various changes during the musical number "I Just Can't Wait to Be King":
- In the traditionally animated film, Nala only has one solo line and the rest of her singing is done in conjunction with Simba and the chorus. In the computer-animated remake, she has more solo lines, many of which were originally sung by Simba in the original film, just like the Broadway version.
- Three cheetah cubs follow Simba and Nala frolicking around the grasslands; this scene does not appear in the animated version; instead in the animated version, Simba pretends to be an adult lion by wearing a bush resembling a lion's mane while he roars at Zazu, pushing him into a muddy puddle and later flung by an elephant's trunk after using its ear to clean himself.
- Simba and Nala rode on ostriches in the original film, whereas in the remake, they do not. Instead, the ostriches that Simba and Nala pass through start pecking at Zazu to save the spot for them, which happens after Simba and Nala run through a herd of zebras.
- The scene where Zazu was standing on a log and falling off the river in the original film was replaced with him standing on a hippopotamus which suddenly submerges underwater and then emerges while Zazu flies away.
- The original traditionally animated version had a sequence with 6 Crocodiles singing “Let's hear it in the herd and on the wing” but there were no Crocodiles present in the new version.
- The famous scene during the end of the song originally included Simba and Nala standing atop a tower of animals in which the tower of animals falls to the ground with a rhinoceros falling on Zazu; in this film, Simba and Nala frolic across a large herd of animals with a flock of weaver birds flying around Zazu.
- A lot of changes in the Elephant Graveyard scene:
- Instead of being made up of elephant skeletons, the Elephant Graveyard is a rocky wasteland filled with rotting elephant bones, pools of hot, bubbling mud (or possibly tar), towering spires called arroyos, and labyrinths of small tunnels called karsts. According to Scar, the Elephant Graveyard once teemed with life until the hyenas stripped clean the lands in their desire to satiate their hunger; this was not mentioned in the original film.
- Nala acts concerned around trespassing there, whereas in the original she is as curious as Simba is.
- Whereas the original only had three hyenas chase Simba and Nala, the remake has the whole clan chase them around.
- In the original film, Zazu immediately catches up to Simba and Nala just before the hyena discovers them, whereas here, he arrives after the hyenas.
- The hyenas did not launch Zazu in the "birdie boiler" geyser-like in the original film, as real-life geyser don't really have volcanic pressure that can be triggered when placing something into it, even if it's smaller than the geyser itself.
- The cubs run through a cave and a series of tunnels, while the hyenas dig holes to block their escape routes, and when the cubs escape the tunnels, they get cornered by the hyena clan, instead of being chased through the entire graveyard of bones and trapped in an elephant carcass like in the 1994 version.
- When Mufasa comes to save Simba and Nala, he doesn't pin Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi beneath him nor does he roar furiously at them. He instead tells Shenzi that she has been warned. Also, in the original film, the hyenas all play ignorant of not knowing the Simba is Mufasa's son while in this film, only Shenzi does this, but in a more calming manner.
- The hyenas do not run away in fear after being confronted by Mufasa.
- During the part where before Mufasa takes Simba, Nala, and Zazu back to the Pride Lands after surviving the ambush with the hyenas, instead of sharply berating his son for his disobedience and instructing the three to follow him back home, Mufasa simply gives a silent but disappointed look towards him before starting to head out with Zazu and the cubs following after him. Additionally, as the four leave, it was Shenzi standing on a ledge where she watches over Mufasa who saved the cubs instead of Scar who was watching over the hyenas who chased the cubs. Also in this film, Scar does not appear in this scene until after the scene where Mufasa tells Simba to look at the stars, where Scar plans to take over as king of Pride Rock to find more meat for them and the hyenas.
- When Mufasa scolds Simba for going to the Elephant Graveyard, Zazu tries to convince him to be nice with Simba by pointing out Mufasa was like his son as a cub. Additionally, Mufasa not only tells Simba that he put his and Nala's lives in danger, but also the pride's future.
- Numerous changes during the scene where Scar is planning to take over Mufasa's place as king, especially during the musical number "Be Prepared":
- In the original, Banzai (Kamari) tells Ed (Azizi) to shut up because his encounter with Mufasa is not funny just as the two fight with each other while Shenzi tells them to stop fighting before their master notices this. However, in here, it is replaced with Kamari (Banzai) telling Azizi (Ed) to give him personal space.
- In the original, Shenzi, Banzai (Kamari), and Ed (Azizi) complain that lions are pesky predators to them to which Scar explains that not all lions are bad. However, it was replaced with Scar telling the hyenas if they could just eat only one animal before they go hungry. Additionally, She tells Scar that Mufasa controls the hunting grounds in the Pride Lands.
- The scene where Scar gives the hyenas a piece of zebra meat was omitted, and was replaced with Scar giving the hyenas a freshly-killed oryx later on when he becomes king and Sarabi rejects his offer to make her his queen.
- The song "Be Prepared" starts off with Scar speaking and Shenzi commenting on Mufasa being too powerful to challenge. Also, said song had alternate lyrics and is shorter compared to the versions used in the original film and the musical.
- All in all, only the final part from the original song was retained in this version, other than the "Be prepared" verse chant.
- Instead of telling the hyenas that Scar will be king as the hyenas cheer for Scar as their ruler, it is replaced by hyenas chanting "Be prepared" repeatedly. Also, there are no geysers hissing adding tune to the song.
- The grounds do not move during this scene.
- The ending of this song omits the diabolical laughs of Scar and the hyenas.
- Certain scenes were changed during the stampede scene:
- The scene where Shenzi tells Banzai (Kamari) to be patient on trying to catch a wildebeest while waiting for the signal from Scar was omitted.
- The chameleon seen in this sequence was a different species of chameleon. In the traditionally animated film, the chameleon was a horned chameleon. In the remake, the chameleon was not a horned chameleon but a different species seen eating a dragonfly, whereas in the original film, there was no dragonfly that the chameleon is about to eat.
- Simba briefly takes shelter behind a rock to avoid the stampede. He never does this in the original film.
- During the part where the wildebeests begin stampeding across the gorge, the part where Shenzi tries to catch a wildebeest and fails to catch one is either omitted or replaced by Kamari nipping at the heels of a wildebeest like a sheepdog herding cattle.
- When Scar comes to Mufasa to warn of the stampede in the animated version, they are near the gorge. In the remake, they are at Pride Rock. Zazu also doesn't note "the herd is on the move."
- In the traditionally animated film, Mufasa says "Hold on, Simba!". In the remake, he says "I'm coming Simba! Hold on!".
- In the traditionally animated film, Mufasa saves Simba who is sent mid air when a wildebeest runs over the dead tree he is standing on. In the computer-animated remake, Mufasa arrives at the tree Simba is clinging on while a wildebeest pushes him into it.
- In the traditionally animated film, the tree that Simba takes refuge on was standing upright. In the computer-animated remake, the tree has fallen over, with Simba taking refuge on its tall branch.
- In the original film, Scar smacks Zazu unconscious when he offers to go back for the pride. In the remake, Scar tells Zazu to get the pride while he "helps" Mufasa and Simba.
- In the original, Scar tells Simba that his father has a "surprise" for him and tells him to wait in the gorge while Scar "gets" Mufasa, not before telling Simba to practice that "little roar" of his. In the remake, he tells Simba to find his roar here in the gorge, claiming that the gorge is where Mufasa "would" often go there to find his roar when he was a cub.
- When Scar makes Mufasa fall to his death, in the original version, he tosses him into the stampede. However, in the remake, he slaps him in the face, leaving a gash over his eye, and pushes him down before he falls.
- When Scar says "Long live the king!", he says it out loud instead of whispering it to Mufasa.
- In the original, the three hyenas (Shenzi included) refuse to go after Simba due to a field of thorns that he escaped through being too dense for them and know that he won't survive long enough in the desert, so instead lie to Scar that they killed him and if Simba returns they'll actually do so, whereas here Kamari and Azizi chase him off of a cliff and lazily assume that he's dead due to how high it is, and decide to lie to Shenzi that they "ate" him, and therefore tell Scar.
- Besides Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi, other hyenas took part in chasing after Simba.
- One hyena fell over the cliff along with Simba, although it does not survive the fall.
- In this film, during Mufasa's funeral, Scar claims that the hyenas will live with the lions not only to start a new age for the Pride Lands, but also as "help" for Scar to reign. Additionally, both Zazu and Rafiki watch the funeral from a distance in the remake, while Rafiki watches the funeral alone in the original version, with Zazu watching it along the lionesses.
- This takes place in the day instead of at night.
- Scar does not forbid anyone from mentioning his brother's name in this film, but strictly limits the conversations about him.
- During the scene where the Pride Lands are seen as a decimated wasteland, wildebeests and oryxes were seen being chased off by Scar and the hyenas under his strategy of overhunting while Zazu notices this disastrous plan, which was not in the original film. This scene could be inspired by the opening of the second act where starving gazelles are seen where the Pride Lands is seen as a decimated wasteland before "The Madness of King Scar" musical number plays in the Broadway adaptation, which appears after the song "One by One" during the musical's second act.
- The novelization based on the film's plot, however, mentions the antelopes being chased off by Scar and the hyenas were topis instead of oryxes - however, no topi in the film appears until the scene where Simba adapts to a new life in the jungle.
- In the original film, Scar verbally and physically abuses Sarabi for "not looking hard enough" for food and narrow-mindlessly rejects her suggestion to leave Pride Rock. In the remake, he abuses her for refusing to be his mate and still chooses Mufasa, even after his death. The remake also implies that Scar deliberately orchestrated the Pride Lands' transformation into a wasteland by giving the hyenas first dibs over the lions on any hunts out of spite for Sarabi still refusing him in favor of Mufasa, whereas in the original film, it was simply due to Scar's incompetence in ruling the kingdom that this happened.
- This could be inspired from the deleted scene of the original, where Scar wants to have Nala be his mate, but refuses, and additionally from Hamlet, one of the original film's inspirations, when the titular prince's mother becomes a reluctant queen to Claudius after he murdered his brother in order to take the throne.
- In the original film's sequel, it's noted that a group of lionesses supported Scar during his reign and one of their offspring was chosen by Scar to become king. In the remake, Scar's intentions to make Sarabi his queen to gain the respect of the lionesses indicate that no lionesses support him, and that he is yet to have an heir if he does not have a queen.
- In this film, Nala is the one that suggests that they should leave Pride Rock, to which Sarabi is reluctant to because it is their home telling her to get used to Pride Rock with Scar as its new ruler much to Nala's despondent worry that Pride Rock is not the same as before after Scar takes over.
- Also in that scene, Scar is also seen bringing an oryx carcass for the lionesses to eat atop Pride Rock in which they refuse to get food from him because of his tyranny of over-hunting and destroying the Pride Lands. Additionally after arguing with Sarabi, he explains that the hyenas eat first before the lions.
- The scene where Nala sneaks off and leaves the pride to find help and Zazu distracting Scar and the hyenas is based on Shadowland, a number from the broadway musical and a deleted scene of the original where Scar banishes Nala from the Pride Lands by calling in the hyenas, which leads to the "Be Prepared" reprise.
- On a related note, the original movie has Zazu relegated to the role of a caged jester (and threatened to be fed to the hyenas by Scar for mentioning under his breath that Mufasa was a better king), while in the remake, Zazu was exiled from Pride Rock by Scar, presumably to silence him about Scar being present during the stampede should he attempt to tell the lionesses, with the hyenas being on orders to attack him if he even dares come close to Pride Rock
- In that same scene, there were no other lions/lionesses other than Scar seen in the final film during the part where Pride Rock is seen as a deserted wasteland in the original film. Also, the songs "Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen", "It's a Small World", and "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" are omitted in this film.
- Whereas it was implied that Simba possibly collapses unconscious from dehydration in the original, the remake shows Simba proceeding his exile from the Pride Lands upon escaping the hyenas' wrath until finally falling asleep in the desert. Additionally the scene where Timon and Pumbaa escort him to a nearby watering hole and hydrating him back to consciousness after both agreeing to raise him was omitted, and instead, Simba wakes up just when the duo agreed upon keeping him.
- In that same scene during the part where the vultures prepare to eat Simba and Timon and Pumbaa run across them, Pumbaa does not kick one of the vultures unlike in the traditionally animated film. Instead, it features the two running pass the flock of vultures and misses them, much to Pumbaa's frustration. Also, one of the nicknames Pumbaa gives to Simba after Timon agrees to keep him was "Fred".
- When Simba faints in the desert, in the original, he falls on his left side. In the remake, he falls on his right.
- Pumbaa is grayish-brown instead of red.
- Timon mostly walks on all fours in the remake.
- When Timon says to Simba, "When the world turns its back on you, you turn your back on the world," in the original version, he speaks it normally. However, in the remake, he screams it in Simba's face.
- Certain scenes were changed during the musical number "Hakuna Matata":
- The song is preceded by a count-off by Timon and Pumbaa.
- During Pumbaa's flashback, Pumbaa is portrayed as a red river hog piglet instead of an adult warthog, like in the original, and passes gas in the watering hole, contaminating it, much to the horror of a herd of zebras. Additionally, he also manages to say farted here instead of Timon immediately stopping him from saying it in front of a young Simba, which is followed by him passing gas (matching the tune to the instrumental of the song).
- Timon and Pumbaa live alone together in the jungle in the original, whereas here, there are other fellow animals that live with them such as some guinea fowl, a bushbaby, some gazelles, an elephant shrew, a bat-eared fox, among others.
- In that same scene, Timon holds a plate of grubs formed by a leaf for Simba to eat grubs in the original film whereas in the remake, he hands Simba a caterpillar for him to eat without using a leaf.
- The famous scene where Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa walk together on a giant log when Simba grows up was changed into different environments in the jungle.
- When adult Simba is introduced, in the original, he steps one paw into view before the camera zooms out; in the remake, he jumps out of a bush.
- The iconic scene where Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa swing through vines and fall into the water was omitted, additionally, both Timon and Pumbaa allow Simba to keep singing, but immediately get annoyed by it at the very end of the song.
- During the scene where both Timon and Pumbaa are chased by Nala, in the original, Pumbaa gets separated from Timon by wandering off before the chase and gets stuck in a tree stump and Timon, who quickly catches up to him, unsuccessfully attempting to push him out. In the remake, the two get separated during the chase and Pumbaa eventually gets cornered into a wall just before Simba comes to the rescue.
- When Simba and Nala reunite, Nala immediately recognizes him, unlike the traditionally animated film.
- One scene unique in this film is when Simba adapts to having a new life with Timon, Pumbaa, and some of the neighbors where Timon and Pumbaa put his responsibility on choosing what to do to test, to which Simba decides they should do "absolutely nothing" and, to their excitement, topples over a termite mound, for Timon, Pumbaa, and their neighbors to have termites for them to eat. This scene does not occur in the animated version. A topi character mingling with Simba was also included during that scene, whereas in the traditionally animated film, this character did not appear.
- Additionally, the scene where Simba belches while the trio is stargazing in this version ties into it by having Simba respond with "it might be the termites", which is followed by Pumbaa farting and saying "...or the crickets."
- In the original, Rafiki knows Simba is alive when he catches some dust, and mixed it on a turtle shell. In the remake, he found a piece of his mane which was first discovered by a dragonfly, carried by a bee-eater, then got into a giraffe's mouth which later carried by a dung beetle and finally picked up by one of the leafcutter ants.
- During the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" scene, Simba doesn't jump into the watering hole and pull Nala in with him, and the two go up to a high hill towards the end of the song. The song doesn't end with Timon and Pumbaa crying, though they still sadly bookend the song while witnessing.
- Butterflies are also seen during the same musical number where Simba and Nala frolic across the meadow, whereas in the original film, there were no butterflies. However, the midquel The Lion King 1½ includes butterflies during the scene where Timon and Pumbaa attempt to break up Simba and Nala where they are launched into a tree to bring a swarm of butterflies to surround the two lions.
- Also, Timon is seen sitting on Pumbaa whereas in the original, Timon is seen standing next to Pumbaa.
- In the original, Scar did not necessarily mind not having a queen, but in this film, he wants Sarabi to be his queen.
- When Simba plans on returning to Pride Rock to be the new ruler, the scene where Nala tells Timon and Pumbaa to know that Simba returned to Pride Rock to get to Pride Rock to stop Scar's tyranny was omitted. Instead, it features Simba running across a sleeping Timon and Pumbaa who notice Simba returning to the Pride Lands and follow him. Also, Nala sadly turns and heads home because Simba would not trust her until he decides to follow her advice.
- The scene where Rafiki hits Simba with his staff was omitted during the part where he meets him again.
- During the scene where Mufasa tells Simba to return to Pride Rock, Mufasa takes the form of a storm cloud as a spirit, but does not move his mouth when he speaks, unlike in the original film.
- Also in that scene, Simba explains to his father "I am Simba, son of Mufasa." In the original version, Simba worriedly tells Mufasa not to leave when he tells him to return to Pride Rock.
- During the scene where Simba catches up with Nala and they happily reunite before running across the desert to return to Pride Rock after Simba is told by Mufasa to take place as king, the song heard is not "Busa" which was in the traditionally animated version, but instead a new song titled "Spirit", which was performed by Beyoncé (the voice of Nala in the remake).
- On a related note, there are no songs from the Broadway adaptation of the film present in the remake, not even "The Morning Report, which was featured in the 2003 Platinum Edition nor other songs from the album "Rhythm of the Pride Lands" (the Xhosa version of "He Lives in You" heard during the credits would only be the exception, since this song was first released on "Rhythm of the Pride Lands").
- The scene where Nala generously volunteers to ultimately restore the devastating Pride Rock with Simba omits her laugh after her mocking quote from him unlike the original.
- The scene where Timon and Pumbaa perform their "live bait" distraction to help Simba and Nala get past the hyenas by performing the hula was replaced with a scene parodying the intro to the "Be Our Guest" musical number from Beauty and the Beast, with the hyenas chasing the duo before Timon can even sing the full title to the song.
- Scar and Sarabi's argument in the original film was due to the few hunts the lionesses brought to the pride and Scar's overhunting. In the remake, Scar once again tries to make Sarabi his queen, while Sarabi tries to tell Scar the virtues of a true king. Additionally, while in the original film, Scar merely hit Sarabi when she compared him with Mufasa; the two actually fight in the remake. Also, Scar does not knock Sarabi down unlike in the original version.
- On a related note, the scene where Scar tells Sarabi to come back to Pride Rock just as Sarabi walks past the hyena clan as the hyenas bark at her is omitted.
- In the scene where Scar tells Simba that the hyenas think he is the king, the hyenas are standing next to him just as Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi advance to assist Scar in battle. In the original film where Scar tells Simba that the hyenas think he is the king, the hyenas are seen standing on a ledge watching over the Pridelanders preparing for battle.
- In the scene where Nala rallies the lionesses to fight against Scar, she tells them if they are with him to which they roar in agreement. There was no scene where they roar in agreement in the original version.
- In the scene where Simba denies that he is not a murderer and Scar confesses him about his trouble in the original, Scar warns him that Simba is in trouble again this time without Mufasa to protect him and everyone knows about Mufasa's death. In the remake, Scar then attacks Simba with piercing questions if the pride should believe in a lion who betrays his own family and abandons the Pride Lands before Scar asks him if he is a king or a traitor just as Simba slips off Pride Rock in despondency. Additionally, Scar tells Simba to bow to him.
- In the original film when Scar pieces Simba's paws with his claws, Simba is silent however in this film, he roars in pain like Mufasa when Scar did it to him.
- When Scar tells Simba his secret about what he did to Mufasa, the flashback where Mufasa dies during the stampede does not have a red background like in the traditionally animated film but rather slow-motion footage of the same scene where Mufasa falls to his death.
- In that same moment before Simba falls into a pool of fire, he bites into Scar's mane to pull himself back up to avoid falling to his demise, furious of what Scar did to the former's father/the latter's own brother rather than pouncing on him due to adrenaline like in the traditionally animated film. Also when Simba manages to pull himself up, upon discovering Scar's true role in Mufasa's murder, in the original, he forces Scar to tell the truth in front of the other lionesses and strangles him furiously when he refuses to, forcing him to do so. In the remake, he doesn't hesitate to call his nephew a liar and deny Simba's truth, telling the lionesses he killed Mufasa and now plans to kill him; Sarabi, however, immediately sees through Scar's lies, when she points out that he claimed to have "arrived to the gorge too late", and furiously asks him how he saw "the look of fear in Mufasa's eyes."
- The scene where the lions and hyenas begin to fight is different in the original film. In the original version after Simba forces Scar to tell the truth so the everyone in the Pride Lands could hear, Scar reveals that he killed Mufasa, causing the lionesses to fight first before the hyenas attack Simba while the lionesses attack them to save him. In the remake, Simba calls Scar a murderer and, having lost all composure from being exposed, he orders the hyenas to kill Simba and all the other lions and they begin attacking while Nala also commands the pride to attack.
- The scene where the hyenas trigger Pumbaa is different from the original from. The differences are:
- Banzai insults Pumbaa by referring him as a pig in the original, a random hyena (voiced by J. Lee) calls him plump and chubby in the remake.
- Pumbaa furiously responds with "I may run from hyenas, but I will always fight a bully!" as opposed to "They call me Mr. Pig!" before vengefully fending them off.
- In the original film, Timon cowardly hides in the rib cage prison that Zazu's imprisoned in. In the remake, he's with Pumbaa when they discovered they're surrounded by hyenas and asks Pumbaa, during the aftermath of his wrath, if that helped him confront his issues towards those that have put him down for his gluttony and flatulence problem.
- Zazu was also present during the final battle fighting against the hyenas and proudly declaring "For king and country!", while in the original, he is still caged until Pumbaa destroys the cage Zazu is imprisoned in.
- In this film, Rafiki uses his staff to save Zazu from the hyenas whereas, in the original, he uses it to save Simba from the hyenas.
- In that same scene, the hyenas fight Rafiki in the style of a ninja battle movie in the original. However in the remake after fighting, he triumphantly shouts in Xhosa instead of shouting in a sensei-like tone.
- When Simba notices Scar trying to sneak away in the original, a loud thunderclap is heard and lightning flashes just as Simba begins chasing Scar. In the remake, the thunderclap is absent when Simba is about to chase Scar.
- In this film, Simba notes that Scar betrayed not only him, but also the hyenas when Scar tries to shift the blame on them whereas in the original, Simba says that Scar only betrayed him.
- Also, in the original, Scar betrays the hyenas by calling them the "real enemy" shortly before his fight with Simba. In this film, he blames them more harshly, as he calls them "revolting scavengers" and that he had planned to eventually kill them.
- During the final battle between Simba and Scar, the scene where Scar leaps through the big flames was omitted as Simba bravely continues fighting him and eventually shoves him off a cliff. Additionally, Simba tells Scar that he cannot win, but Scar refuses to surrender as he declares the Pride Lands are his kingdom and destiny alone.
- After Scar survives the fall, he plans on taking revenge against Simba by forming a bigger army of hyenas so he could become more powerful, but the hyenas reject his plan after overhearing him insult and intending to them and turn against him. In the traditionally animated film, Scar thinks the hyenas are his friends, but Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed reveal that they overheard Scar saying they were enemies and turn on him.
- Scar's death in this film is significantly more frightening than in the original. When the hyenas prepare to take out Scar for betraying them, Scar was actually seen briefly fighting for his life against a few hyenas before he is overpowered by the rest who tackle him down and devour him. In the traditionally animated film, he attempts to explain himself as they corner him into the wall and ends up getting eaten alive and engulfed by a huge fire at the same time.
- On a related note, the remake makes the hyenas' intentions to eat Scar alive more explicit by Shenzi echoing Scar's earlier claim of "a hyena's belly is never full". In the original film, it was only implied that they intended to devour Scar through Ed's licking of his chops.
- Even worse, as Scar is being eaten alive while the camera pans upward, Scar briefly lifts his head back in the shot and screams in agony before one of the hyenas leaps on him.
- The original film implies that the hyenas devoured Scar as not only revenge for him blaming them for Mufasa's death, but for his broken promises and constant abuse. In the remake, Scar relatively treats the hyenas well (Shenzi seeming to be on near equal footing with him), placing them above the lionesses by giving them the first take on kills, keeping his word of them having more food, and does not underestimate them up. It is only until his final confrontation with Simba where he insults them behind their backs, where they realize he had really been using them for his own ends.
- When Simba ascends Pride Rock to be the new king during the part where the Pride Lands are being revived, the scene where an antelope skull is washed away by the rain is omitted.
- During the reprise of "Circle of Life" in the original film, Timon and Pumbaa stand atop Pride Rock standing alongside Simba and Nala. In this film, Timon and Pumbaa are seen standing on a rock along with other animals neighboring with the duo in the jungle instead of standing atop Pride Rock, though they still presumably become residents as well.
- In that same scene, Simba and Nala's newborn cub lets out a tiny roar at the very last scene whereas in the traditionally animated film, the cub only stirred in Rafiki's hands curiously.
- On a related note, the remake's novelization describes Simba and Nala's newborn cub as a male, just like in the end of many storybook/audiobook adaptations of the original film where the cub is stated as Simba and Nala's newborn son. However, the Pride Lands Pedia bonus feature for digital platforms contradicts this by identifying Simba and Nala's newborn cub as Kiara, the main protagonist of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride leaving the cub's gender unclear.
- In that same scene, Simba and Nala's newborn cub lets out a tiny roar at the very last scene whereas in the traditionally animated film, the cub only stirred in Rafiki's hands curiously.
Trailers and Clips
- The Lion King is the eighth of many live-action adaptations of classic Disney animated films released in the 21st century, following Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Christopher Robin, Dumbo, and Aladdin (Pete's Dragon doesn't count as it is considered a remake of a live-action movie).
- In addition, The Lion King is the third of four live-action adaptations of animated films that Disney has slated for release in 2019, after Dumbo and Aladdin, and followed by Lady and the Tramp.
- Much like how the original Aladdin and The Lion King films were released roughly two years apart (1992 and 1994), they both have live-action adaptations in the same year as they were released within two months of one another (May and July).
- This is the third live-action adaptation of a Walt Disney Animation Studios movie that is from the Disney Renaissance, after 2017's Beauty and the Beast and 2019's Aladdin, followed by 2020's Mulan and 2023's The Little Mermaid.
- This is Jon Favreau's second Disney movie based on a classic Disney animated movie, after directing The Jungle Book.
- The Lion King is both Jon Favreau's first musical film and first entirely animated film.
- Out of all the live-action adaptations of Disney Animated Canon films, this is the first that doesn't feature any human characters in the film.
- James Earl Jones was the voice of Mufasa in the original animated film. He is the sixth actor to reprise his role for a Disney remake of a previous Disney animated production after Jim Cummings (who previously voiced both Ed and the Gopher and partially provided Scar's singing voice in the original animated film), Brad Garrett (both of who reprised Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, also voiced by Cummings since the late 1980s, and Eeyore, whom Garrett voiced previously in Animated StoryBook: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree and recently in Ralph Breaks the Internet, in 2018's Christopher Robin), Nancy Cartwright (who previously voiced Pumbaa Jr. in the Timon & Pumbaa episode "Never Everglades") and Patton Oswalt (both of who reprised Rufus and Professor Dementor in the live-action Kim Possible film), Frank Welker (who reprised the vocal effects for Abu and Rajah and the voice of the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin, released two months earlier), and Chris Sanders (who will reprise his role as the voice of Stitch in the upcoming Lilo & Stitch remake).
- In addition to that, the film's teaser trailer combines James Earl Jones' archival and newer recordings for his role of Mufasa. And during the Stampede sequence, some of Jones' archival recordings were heard.
- At 86, at the time, James Earl Jones is the oldest of the cast; he was 63 when he did the voice of Mufasa in the 1994 animated original.
- Banzai and Ed are the only characters from the original animated film to be renamed due to being the only characters without Swahili names excluding Scar, whose name is a sobriquet, and Nala, whose name was created for the original film.
- This film marks Sarabi's first full appearance in a Lion King production since the original animated film, apart from her cameos in the midquel The Lion King 1½, the sequel The Lion Guard and two of the Timon and Pumbaa's Wild About Safety shorts.
- This is the third Disney live-action adaptation of a Disney classic to have its music score composed by the same composer as the original animated film after 2017's Beauty and the Beast and 2019's Aladdin (both of which were composed and scored by Alan Menken).
- James Earl Jones, Hans Zimmer, Elton John, and Tim Rice are the only people who worked on the original animated film that reprise their respective roles, as the voice of Mufasa, the composer of the film, and songwriters.
- In addition, this is the third live-action adaptation to credit Tim Rice within its soundtrack after 2017's Beauty and the Beast and 2019's Aladdin.
- This is the second time that Ernie Sabella does not reprise the role of Pumbaa. The first was Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure.
- Actors Donald Glover, who voices Simba, and James Earl Jones, who voices Mufasa, both had roles in the Star Wars Saga: Glover plays young Lando Calrissian in Solo while Jones voices Darth Vader in the main Star Wars films that featured him and reprised the role in Rogue One.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor who voices Scar, Alfre Woodard who voices Sarabi, and Hans Zimmer previously collaborated in the Academy Award winning film, 12 Years a Slave.
- Donald Glover and John Oliver have collaborated together in the NBC series, Community.
- This is the second movie collaboration between Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor after The Martian.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor previously collaborated with the original voice actor of Zazu, Rowan Atkinson, in Love Actually and its television short film sequel, Red Nose Day Actually.
- Zazu's remake design is similar in appearance to the Broadway musical version with a notable feature of white feathers as opposed to the blue ones from the original.
- When Simba and Nala are cornered in the elephant graveyard by the hyenas, the roar Simba does to show his bravery is the same roar that Simba does to the chameleon just before the stampede from the original film.
- The voice of Simba in the original, Matthew Broderick, and the voice of Zazu in the remake, John Oliver, have both collaborated together in the Paramount/Nickelodeon film Wonder Park, which came out five months prior.
- Billy Eichner who voices Timon and Keegan-Michael Key who voices Kamari, previously worked together in The Angry Birds Movie.
- In the same year, both actors have once again appeared together in the Netflix/Warner Bros animation series, Green Eggs and Ham.
- This is the second Disney film to feature the voice of Keegan-Michael Key in the same year, following his voice role of Ducky in Toy Story 4.
- Both Seth Rogen and Hans Zimmer have worked in the Kung Fu Panda franchise, Rogen voiced Master Mantis while Zimmer did the score of the first two films with fellow composer John Powell and did the score for the third movie on his own, due to Powell’s scheduling conflicts.
- Seth Rogen (who voices Pumbaa) appears as a guest in an episode of The Eric Andre Show to which the titular host voiced Azizi, and in one episode he also roasts Beyonce (who voices Nala) in one of his monologues.
- This is the first remake of a Disney Animated Canon film and the third Disney film overall after Toy Story 4 and Frozen II to be streamed on Disney+.
- This film uses the same 2D animated variant of the 2006 Walt Disney Pictures logo from 2016's The Jungle Book, only the logo does not zoom out at the end this time.
- This film is also the first remake of an animated Disney movie to feature the full closing logo at the end. Previous live-action adaptations had the short closing logo.
- This is the first time the end credits songs for the original Disney animated film are not the end credits songs for a Disney live-action adaptation; the songs "Never Too Late", "He Lives in You", and "Mbube" replace "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" as this film's end credits songs.
- This film marks the first time Pharrell Williams has collaborated with Disney on a film; he served as the producer for five songs.
- Shahadi Wright Joseph previously played young Nala in the Broadway musical version when she was six years old. She is the second actor to reprise her role from a Broadway musical in a Disney film after Jonathan Freeman (who respired the role of Jafar from the Disney animated film Aladdin in that film's Broadway musical).
- Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Kani, and Florence Kasumba all have roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Favreau directed two Iron Man films and plays Happy Hogan as well serves as the executive producer to a majority of the films in the MCU, Glover plays Aaron Davis, Ejiofor plays Baron Mordo, Woodard plays Mariah Dillard, as well as Miriam Sharpe in a cameo role, while Kani and Kasumba respectively portray T'Chaka and Ayo.
- Jon Favreau previously worked with Roger Allers (one of the directors of the 1994 original film) in the 2006 Sony animated comedy Open Season in which Favreau voiced Reilly the beaver. Likewise, screenwriter Jeff Nathanson previously worked with Matthew Broderick (the original voice of Simba) in the 2004 biographic comedy The Last Shot.
- The Walt Disney Pictures logo as seen in the 2016 adaptation of The Jungle Book is reused at the beginning of this film.
- This is one of the last three Disney animated films to use the 1967 MPAA logo alongside Toy Story 4 and Frozen II.
- "The Lion King: Disney confirms a live-action movie is coming". Den of Geek (September 28, 2016).
- Jon Favreau Twitter
- "CAN'T WAIT TO BEY KING Theatre legend Tim Rice joins Sir Elton John and Beyonce for Lion King remake soundtrack". The Sun (February 9, 2018).
- Aaron Blaise Twitter
- https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2019/03/23/us-meet-shahadi-wright-joseph-jordan-peele-teen-horror-warrior/3241589002/ "Meet Shahadi Wright Joseph, the breakout horror warrior in Jordan Peele's 'Us'"