The Lion King Cast Revealed: Beyonce and More!

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If you were on Twitter on Wednesday night, you saw everyone collectively lose their minds. Actually, that's every night on Twitter in 2017, but this time, it was in a good way.

Because Disney finally found a way to make people not complain about their live-action revivals of classic films.

The recipe for success is complicated, but the key ingredient for all of this The Lion King enthusiasm is ... Beyonce. But she's not the only big name in the cast.

Beyonce Slays

As appropriately beautiful as the live action Beauty And The Beast trailer was, it was also a source of controversy.

Many fans saw it as an unoriginal, transparent money-grab by Disney. An effort to feed off of Millennial nostalgia and transform that into profit.

And ... well, the movie was good, but that doesn't mean that these critical fans were in any way wrong.

It was, by definition, unoriginal.

Unlike Maleficent, it wasn't a total reinvention -- it was a retelling.

As for being a money-grab, well ... aren't most big production films?

Beauty And The Beast raked in over a billion dollars, so it was definitely a success in that department.

The thing is that those who are critical of these live-action remakes of classic Disney films seem to feel that this is all a bad thing.

That is not necessarily so.

But even those who had professed a profound weariness for Disney's remakes are more or less losing their minds over The Lion King.


Well ... take a look at this cast:

The Lion King Cast

As we mentioned, Beyonce is not the only big name in the newly announced live-action The Lion King cast.

She's the biggest, to be sure.

Now, we talked about Millennial nostalgia. Do you know what about half (at least) of '90s have in common?

Having had a big ol' crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Seriously, look at any list of childhood celebrity crushes and you'll see "JTT."

Well, JTT voiced Simba in the original animated film.

You know who's playing Simba now?

Donald Glover. On whom plenty of those '90s kids grew up to have a much more adult crush.

Which means that Disney is catering to your weird, confused childhood Simba crush.

Donald Glover

Let's see ... oh, The Lion King's beloved hedonistic and very probably gay couple, Timon and Pumba, will be played by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, respectively.

Zazu will be played by Emmy-winning comedian and talk show host John Oliver, who is almost unbelievably perfect for the role.

So, as you can see, the lions and hyenas will all be played by black actors, while the bird character, the meerkat, and the warthog will be played by white actors.

People have been pointing out for years, as fans of the original film drew human versions of The Lion King characters, that a royal African family should be portrayed as black humans if they're going to be humanized.

Disney hasn't always been great about racial representation (and they still seem to be deeply in denial about how racist a lot of early Disney stuff was), but they've been making a lot of great strides recently.

Note, by the way, that James Earl Jones will be reprising his role as Mufasa, Simba's father.

John Oliver Wins an Emmy

Now, they're calling this a "live-action" remake, but let's be clear -- there's going to be a lot of CGI.

We imagine that they'll all be motion-captured into lions (and other animals) for this musical adventure, but the exact details haven't been revealed.

Production only began during the summer.

Honestly, just knowing that Donald Glover and Beyonce are going to be playing an on screen couple will be enough to tide us over for a good long while.

And Baron Mordo from Doctor Strange (that and Serenity are where you've seen him before) playing Scar is a very promising decision, too. Disney films are nothing without a good villain.

While I'm personally the most excited about the new Aladdin (it was my first-ever film in theaters and I was a big Jafar fan growing up), the casting news has more than doubled my enthusiasm for The Lion King.

Really looking forward to 2019!

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