Beyonce, who was previously reported to be eyed for the film, has been confirmed as Nala, Simba’s (Donald Glover) childhood friend and later love interest. Jon Favreau is directing the film as his follow-up to his successful Jungle Book remake.
“It is a director’s dream to assemble a talented team like this to bring this classic story to life,” Favreau said Wednesday in a statement.
Here’s the full list, with some new names as well as others that have been reported over the last few months:
James Earl Jones reprises his role from the 1994 original as Simba’s father Mufasa, while Chiwetel Ejiofor is stepping into the villain role as Simba’s uncle Scar. Alfre Woodard is voicing Simba’s mother Sarabi, with child actor JD McCrary playing the young version of Simba (stepping into the shoes of Jonathan Taylor Thomas from the original film). Shahadi Wright Joseph is voicing the young Nala. Other actors playing the good guys include John Kani as the baboon Rafiki and John Oliver voicing Mufasa’s confidant, the hornbill Zazu.
Simba will along the way meet two new pals, warthog Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) and meerkat Timon (Billy Eichner). The three menacing hyenas will be voiced by Black Panther actress Florence Kasumba, Eric Andre and Keegan-Michael Key.
Favreau showed off the jaw-dropping first footage for the film over the summer at D23. The footage included photo-real African landscapes and animals, ending with the iconic moment in which Rafiki introduces an adorable young Simba on Pride Rock as “Circle of Life” plays.
The original Lion King grossed more than $968 million worldwide and featured memorable songs from Elton John and Tim Rice.
The new Lion King is set to open July 19, 2019.