As one of Walt Disney Animation’s most beloved films, the live-action The Lion King film will be met with an enormous amount of hype. In addition to the question of whether or not it will be a shot for shot remake like Beauty and the Beast, it’s impossible to tell if the animated film’s magic can be recaptured. However, casting has remained stellar, with big names like Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and even a returning James Earl Jones set to play the film’s iconic characters. And, given director John Favreau’s use of performance capture technology in 2016’s The Jungle Book, it’s safe to say that the CGI will successfully bring them to life.
Now the Pride has been further expanded, with two new names revealed to have joined the cast. The first, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter, is Emmy Award winner Alfre Woodard, who will provide the voice for Queen Sarabi. Woodward recently starred in the 2017 film Burning Sands and the Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage as antagonist Mariah Dillard, a role she is set to reprise in Season 2.
The other, according to The Wrap, is John Kani as Rafiki, a shamanistic mandrill who serves as Mufasa’s royal advisor. Known primarily for his performances in plays like Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island, Kani recently played the role of King T’Chaka in Captain America: Civil War. Similar to Dillard, he is set to reprise that role in 2018’s Black Panther.
The Lion King will be produced by Favreau and Jeffery Silver and is based on a script by Jeff Nathanson. The film is set for a release date of July 19, 2019.