Any time royal portraits are released, it's an exciting a time, and it's even more exciting when those portraits are showing off Disney royalty. The new Lion King character posters have been released and they showcase the classic Disney characters in their all-new photorealistic glory. Disney released the 11 posters featuring each of the main characters and the actors playing them.
There's Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Carter-Knowles as Nala, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, John Oliver as Zazu, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. James Earl Jones is reprising his role as Mufasa, which makes perfect sense since it's kind of hard to imagine anyone else but him lending their voice to the iconic character. The character posters are rounded out by John Kani's Rafiki, J.D. McCrary's Young Simba, and Shahadi Wright Joseph's Young Nala.
The upcoming version of The Lion King has been touted as the live-action remake of the 1994 animated classic, but it's not exactly live. Director Jon Favreau is using the same CGI technology he used for another Disney remake: 2016's The Jungle Book. Each of the characters is designed to look as real as possible, and then the actors provide their voices.
Disney released all of the new character posters in a series of tweets, which you can check out below:
A few characters didn't get the the poster treatment, including Eric André, Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key as Azizi, Shenzi, and Kamari, the hyena henchman to Simba's Uncle Scar. In addition to the new character posters, Disney also released a new TV spot that features the movie's memorable opening song and is sure to get audiences pumped.
The Lion King is a remake of the original movie, but that doesn't mean that it's going to copy its predecessor exactly shot for shot. According to Favreau, the new movie will play a lot with fans memories of the original while updating elements for a new decade. In an interview with Gizmodo, Favreau said:
We’re staying very, very close to what you think it’s gonna be. I think part of it is just understanding the way memory works. What expectations are and then being able to do things like, ‘I think we can [improve] the humor here, I don’t think this joke holds up as well, I think we could change the characterization of this character to feel more consistent with the rest of the film, or more current [so it] doesn’t feel like it’s something from a different era.’
In that same interview, Favreau noted what an intense emotional connection so many people have to The Lion King, and how that's going to play a big role in fans enjoying the movie. He said:
[The Lion King] is so ingrained in us and to have that already there...the emotional infrastructure, it makes us know...if we do our jobs well, people are gonna connect with this.
Hopefully the filmmakers do their jobs well, because there are definitely a lot of Disney fans out there who are ready to laugh, cry, and sing along with Simba and the gang this summer. The Lion King opens in theaters everywhere July 19.