Two of the hyenas are given African names. The hyenas Banzai and Ed are being changed to Kamari and Azizi. Shenzi's name remains the same.
In the original Matthew Broderick (Simba) was left-handed and Jeremy Irons (Scar) was right-handed, in this the it is the villian, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) who is left handed and Donald Glover (Simba) who is right-handed.
The second film directed by Jon Favreau where the main villain is played by a Black British actor, after The Jungle Book (2016), a fellow live action reboot of a Disney animated feature film.
Jeremy Irons expressed interest in reprising his role as Scar.
Hugh Jackman was rumored to voice Scar, of which was quickly denied by his representative. Nearly three weeks after this rumor, it was eventually confirmed to be Chiwetel Ejiofor, making his second time voice acting in a film after Sherlock Gnomes (2018).
The trailer for the movie, which played ahead of Mary Poppins Returns (2018), was screened in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, although it was shot in 1.90:1.
Seth Rogen who had been cast as Pumbaa previously voiced a talking sausage named Frank in Sausage Party (2016). Sausages are meat from pigs, and Pumbaa being a warthog is a member of the pig family.
Donald Glover (Simba), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar) have all appeared in live action Marvel films. Glover was in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Woodard was in Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Ejiofor was in Doctor Strange (2016), all of these films released after Disney's acquisition of Marvel.
The hyenas Shenzi, Kamari and Azizi are named after the Swahili words for "savage," "mighty" and "moonlight." Kamari and Azizi were originally named Banzai and Ed in the 1994 animated film, but were given African names for this film.
The film may employ songs from the "Lion King" musical, particularly "Shadowlands" (a song dedicated to Nala).
Though a different incarnation of the character, this is Sarabi's first appearance outside the original The Lion King (1994), the only time her original animated counterpart ever made an appearance.
Unlike the 1994 original animated film, all the lions in this production are voiced by actors of African descent, whereas in the original only Mufasa, young Nala, Sarafina, and Sarabi were. This also applied to young Simba, but only with his singing voice.
Seth Rogen's third voice over job in a live-action film, after The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) (Hogsqueal) and Paul (2011) (the titular character) 11 and 8 years prior respectively. This is also his first voice over performance in a live action film to not release the same year as a film in DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda franchise, of which Rogen appeared in.
Is the next live action reboot in line after Aladdin (2019). Similarly, the original animated The Lion King (1994) was the next Disney animated feature film to be released after the original animated Aladdin (1992).
Both Donald Glover (Simba) and James Earl Jones (Mufasa) have worked on Star Wars movies, though on separate occasions. James Earl Jones provides the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films that he appeared in, and Donald Glover is set to appear as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
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