See What the "Live-Action" Lion King Characters Look Like Next to Their Cartoon Counterparts
How does 1994's The Lion King stack up to Disney's brand-new "live-action" retelling of the classic? (Live-action is in quotes because it's CGI so it's technically. . . well, it's still technically animated in a way, right?) Luckily, thanks to the movie's latest trailer, we now have a better idea than ever.
From the stunning sunsets on the plains where Mufasa and a very adorable, very fluffy Simba roam, to the long-awaited appearance of the Beyoncé-voiced Nala, the Jon Favreu-directed movie appears to have plenty of nods to the original, if not essentially being a shot-for-shot remake. Despite initial wariness about the film's photorealistic quality — Pumbaa is truly a sight to behold, my friends — the footage has also given people a better idea of how the 2019 interpretation of the beloved story will shake out.
If you're curious about how the other key elements from The Lion King stack up, keep reading to see the new cast of characters side by side with stills from Disney's original film!
The original young Simba was voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, but Hollywood newcomer JD McCrary will be taking over the role in the new film. If you haven't heard him sing yet, please click this link immediately. As far as the new Simba's physical appearance goes, this little puffball still looks pretty freakin' cute.
Niketa Calame-Harris gave the extremely cute (and spirited) young Nala her voice in the 1994 film, but Us star Shahadi Wright Joseph has been cast as the 2019 version of the character. Just look at that little face!
James Earl Jones was so good in the original film as Simba's father, Mufasa, that Disney asked him back for a second go around. We can't wait to hear him do his thing!
Madge Sinclair played Sarabi in the first film, but Alfre Woodard is taking over the reigns this Summer. Her version of Simba's mother definitely has more age and texture to her fur, which is to be expected.
I'm sorry, but WHAT was Disney thinking while designing this version of Scar?! Sure, he still looks pretty menacing, and I don't think that every new character needs to look exactly like the originals, but I'm still coming to terms with how different the villain now appears. The saving grace is that Chiwetel Ejiofor is voicing him, and there's no question he can fill Jeremy Irons's
Oh wow, the hyenas are looking very, very creepy with their live-action makeover, no? The trio is voiced by Keegan-Michael Key, Florence Kasumba, and Eric André in the new film, replacing Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings.
Robert Guillaume's Rafiki, left, is a staple of the film, so there was a lot of pressure riding on how the 2019 edition of the character would look. Fortunately, John Kani's version of the wise primate is nearly an exact match to his predecessor.
The adult version of Simba might not have the rust-red mane we're used to, but Disney did a great job capturing a realistic version of the aged (and jaded) lion. Matthew Broderick voiced the character originally, so it'll be exciting to see how Donald Glover handles the role in the new film.
One more shot of adult Simba, for prosperity!
Beyoncé Knowles is voicing Nala now, which essentially means that the new character is automatically flawless in all ways. And, judging from the comparison between the two above, Disney's animators took extra care with her!
Timon might be small and cute in both the 1994 and 2019 films, but he has a big personality in both versions, too: Nathan Lane voiced him originally, and now Billy Eichner has been cast in the role.
Oh, Pumbaa. The poor warthog with a heart of gold and a stomach the size of all the Pride Lands combined definitely received the most, um, interesting makeover in the live-action movie. While he's a little bit scary now, it's a highly accurate depiction of what the animals actually look like. And either way, Seth Rogen will make the character shine.
Rowan Atkinson's Zazu looks like a pretty average bird, albeit a bit snobby. Disney really kicked that up a notch with John Oliver's version of the uptight hornbill.
Mufasa and Simba
All in all, it's clear Disney did an excellent job updating their original characters for a 2019 audience.