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SOMETIMES GOOD THINGS: Donald Glover And James Earl Jones Join 'Lion King' Remake

By Kristy Puchko | Industry | February 20, 2017 |

By Kristy Puchko | Industry | February 20, 2017 |

The critical and box office success of Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book has landed the lovable helmer another big budget “live action” remake of a beloved Disney classic: The Lion King. And the Iron Man director took to Twitter to reveal the thrilling talent secured to play father and son team Mufasa and Simba.

First up, James Earl Jones will reprise his role as the loving and brave king of the pride. But taking over for Matthew Broderick in the part of grown-up Simba is the one, the only Donald Glover!

Yes. A lot of things in this world suck right now. BUT this world has also given us some gloriousness in that Donald Glover, sexy man/rap star/proud nerd/iconoclast, living the dream.

The man who was once a fan favorite for Spider-Man will be appearing in the upcoming Spider-Man homecoming. The dude who can definitely pull off bravado and a space cape has been tapped to play young Lando Calrissian in the untitled 2018 Han Solo Star Wars Story. And now, the award-winning Atlanta star is stepping into a voice role that will make marvelous use of his incorrigible charisma for one of Disney’s most iconic characters.

Like The Jungle Book, Favreau’s Lion King will employ photo-realistic CGI to create its animal characters. From here, it’ll be curious to see how much of the original voice cast might be brought back.

Could Glover’s casting mean Disney is looking to bring in Black actors for the Africa-set tale? That might could mean Robert Guillaume and Whoopi Goldberg will be back as the wise Rafiki and the hyena Shenzi. But roles like Timon and Pumbaa, the squawking Zazu, and the sinister Scar would all be recast instead of reprised by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, and Jeremy Irons respectively. And as much as we loved the original, some fresh blood might be best, especially in the case of Scar, as Disney should really move away from the the “evil gay” trope for which they’ve been retroactively criticized.

Considering Idris Elba’s become a go-to for Disney animation—performing voice work in Zootopia, Finding Dory and of course The Jungle Book—we assume he’ll join The Lion King cast. And while Scar might seem the obvious choice, he’s already done the villainous cat thing. Personally, I’d like to see him mix it up, perhaps as the wild sage Rafiki or the clever Timon.

Who would you like to hear in The Jungle Book? Sound off in the comments.

Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

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