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WMG / The Lion King (2019)

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Cast predictions
Please list all predictions for casting here.
  • Either Sam Rockwell or Robert Downey Jr. will play Timon.
  • Idris Elba (The Jungle Book (2016)) will play Rafiki or Mufasa.
  • Neel Sethi (Mowgli from Favreau's Jungle Book film) will play Simba as a cub.
    • Jossed. Another child actor, JD McCrary, will voice young Simba.
  • Scarlett Johansson and Lupita Nyong'o may play characters as well.
  • Zira will be played by Renee Elise Goldsbury and her part in "Be Prepared" is a furious, epic rap like "Satisfied".
    • Jossed as, barring an Easter egg, Zira will not appear in the film.
  • Courtney B. Vance will play Rafiki: We know from his portrayal of Johnnie Cochran that he can be a charismatic and self assured Large Ham. He also has a role in Wes Andersen's upcoming stop-motion film Isle of Dogs, meaning he'll already have some experience in voice acting preparing for that.
  • Khary Payton reprising his role as Rafiki.
  • Jeremy Irons reprising his role as Scar. Or maybe David Oyelowo reprising from The Lion Guard.
    • Jossed, Chiwetel Ejiofor will play Scar.
  • Matthew Broderick, the voice of adult Simba in the original, appearing as a Remake Cameo.
  • Cheech Marin, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jim Cummings reprising their roles as Banzai, Shenzi, and Ed, with Tommy Chong as a fourth hyena character.
    • Alternatively, The New Day, who've been petitioning for the roles on
    • Jossed, at least for Shenzi, as Florence Kasumba is voicing her. Also jossed for Banzai and Ed (respectively renamed to Azizi and Kamari); Eric Andre and Keegan Michael-Key are their voice actors.

Scar's backstory will be explored.
For example, where his scar came from and the origin of his relationship with the hyenas will be explained, most likely drawing inspiration from the "A Tale Of Two Brothers" story.

Scar will look drastically different.
Per a purported "leak" from March 2018, Scar might be portrayed as a white lion in order to noticeably differentiate him from the other lions. If true, this could also tie into the above point as a means of characterization; white lions are considered sacred in some South African cultures, so perhaps this reverence will be grafted onto the other lions of the pride or some other animals (the hyenas, perhaps?), playing into Scar's ideas of wanting power as he's destined for it.
  • Confirmed. As the second trailer reveals, Scar does not have the green eyes or black mane he is famous for in the animated film. Instead, he is given the appearance of an unhealthy lion with a scanty mane, similar to Nuka from The Lion King II.

The film could be a hybrid
Even though this is obviously a remake of the 1994 film and we will again see many familiar scenes such as Rafiki showing baby Simba, the infamous Wildebeest stampede and Scar murdering his brother the film will possibly burrow elements from Simba’s Pride. For example it is rumoured ‘He lives in You’ the opening song from the sequel will be played when Simba sees the ghost of his father. And the climax will likely involve Scar leading the hyenas to war against the Pride being led by Simba. And it could possibly rain during the battle and after Scar dies the rain stops signaling the end of the conflict in contrast to the original film where it rained after the climax.

Nala is a major character
Unlike the 1994 version Nala being voiced by Beyoncé will have a bigger role in the film. It is likely she gets sexually harassed by Scar following the death of Mufusa and she refuses to be his mate and gets banished where she reunites with Simba.

Scar might kill Sarabi
In the original film Scar laid a paw on Sarabi before Simba turns up. As this film is darker it could be possible it will go up a level and Scar will kill Sarabi this time around.

Ideas and characters removed from the original film will be reinserted here.
Several items seen in the original film's Trivia page will be included, such as Nala's brother Mheetu and some of the CutSongs as well.

Jon Favreau will enlist some of his usual collaborators to work on the film.
For example, John Debney will likely do the music, while incorporating Hans Zimmer's themes from the original. Some of Favreau's actors and friends may also show up.
  • Jossed; Hans Zimmer will return to compose the film.

Despite including songs, the film will not be a musical.
Much like Favreau's previous Disney work.
  • The song most likely to be dropped from the film is "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" since Favreau seems intent on keeping the trend of his remakes being Darker and Edgier, and it clashes too much with his potential vision. It seems to be the most forgotten song of the film as well, in comparison to the big three ("Circle of Life", "Hakuna Matata", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight") and "Be Prepared" (widely considered the signature Villain Song of Disney).
    • Jossed on at least two of these: "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" is going to be in the movie, but "Be Prepared" isn't.
  • Alternatively, songs from the musical/Rhythm of the Pride Lands could be incorporated. "He Lives In You" could be adapted, and be presented in a "I Know The Way" sequence akin to this popular piece of fan art (also reminiscent of Brother Bear.

It will be Darker and Edgier than the original.
With an increased amount of deaths and increased angst for several characters. The Family-Unfriendly Violence could also be dialed up, potentially averting Bloodless Carnage in the case of Mufasa's body.

Fitting to the above WMG, the effects of Scar's rule will also be further detailed.
For example, his killing of other cubs and his attraction to Nala. Attempted coups and rebellions against him may also be shown. The gradual decay of the Pride Lands will also be shown, though we won't see it in all its horrific glory until the end when Simba returns and sees it for himself as in the original film.

Scenes from The Lion King One And A Half will also be incorporated into the film.
E.g. Simba's nightmares and scenes showing Timon and Pumbaa's backstories.

Zira will appear early to avoid Remember the New Guy?
.Zira will appear in the film in a case of Adaptational Early Appearance so that she doesn't appear out of nowhere in a sequel. She will flee Pride Rock at the end of the film in a Sequel Hook, after taking part in the battle and fighting Simba's allies. Potentially her children could appear. The film could portray Zira as Co-Dragons with Shenzi, with Zira helping engineer Mufasa's death by say, leading the lionesses to hunt far away from the gorge so that they will be too late to help if they are somehow alerted to what's going on. Zira could also get a singing part in "Be Prepared", either singing along to existing lyrics or having a verse to herself.
  • This seems likely to be Jossed since Zira was not in the casting announcement, but she could still appear as an Easter egg or be name dropped (like Tabaqui in the novelization of The Jungle Book).

Following on that, the Outsiders in general will be introduced early.
Maybe in the climax they will fight alongside the hyenas versus Simba's loyal followers and friends, and ultimately get banished with Zira in the above mentioned potential Sequel Hook.
  • This seems potentially jossed based on the bits of footage from the trailer showing the same number of lionesses living at Pride Rock shortly before and after Simba's return, unless the Outsiders were just absent altogether during that brief period of time.

Timon and Pumbaa will be presented as a gay couple
Following on from their Ho Yay in the original film, their actors believing them to be a gay couple, and LeFou in the Beauty and the Beast remake, Timon and Pumbaa will be an outright gay couple. However, like LeFou, it will not bear much if any impact on the plot, and not much if anything will be said about it, but there's no question about what we're seeing either.

Timon will species-swapped into a banded mongoose
Aside from giving the film another adaptational twist, it makes more biogeographical sense since meerkats are a southwestern African species with a range extending no further north than the Namib Desert in Angola, while banded mongooses have a much wider range that covers the Serengeti region where the story takes place. Also, unlike meerkats, banded mongooses actually have a real-life symbiotic relationship with warthogs.
  • Jossed. The trailer reveals he is still a meerkat.

Rafiki will be played by a woman like in the Broadway musical
Just to give the film another important female character, much like the original reason for Rafiki's Gender Flip in the musical.
  • Jossed by footage of a male Rafiki at the D23 Expo teaser and John Kani being cast for the part.

The hyenas will be portrayed in a more sympathetic light.
Much like how The Lion Guard confirms that not all hyenas are evil, this film will address long-standing fan complaints and also state the same thing. Perhaps some heroic hyenas will be introduced, Shenzi, Azizi, or Kamari will pull a Heel–Face Turn, or it will be explained why the lions and hyenas hate each other so much. And maybe by the end of the film, the lions and hyenas will reach some sort of understanding and peace between them.

There will be references to The Lion Guard
.Whether it's using a character (like for say, using Bunga or someone as a background animal like the porcupine in The Jungle Book), adapting some of the backstory (like Scar's), or an outright background reference to the Guard.
  • Maybe Janja will appear, but just as one of the hyena mooks.
  • Confirmed; At least one location name from the show is being used in the movie, specifically naming the gorge (where the wildebeest stampede happens) Embamba Canyon.

"Be Prepared" will be given an epic orchestral remix for this movie
  • Jossed, "Be Prepared" will not appear in the movie.
    • Not really Jossed. This doesn't rule out the potential for "Be Prepared" to still appear in the film as an orchestral version, much like how "Trust In Me" still appeared in The Jungle Book even though the sung version only appeared in the credits and the soundtrack.
    • Un-jossed - apparently (if this is correct), it will be included.

The Dark Reprise of "Be Prepared" which was cut from the first movie will be used here.

The movie will incorporate footage of real life animals
Not just stock footage, but scenes filmed specifically for the movie using real animals. It would explain why Disney is considering this a "live action" remake as opposed to just a CG-animated remake.
  • Jossed Disney did not describe it as live-action, only stating it would follow the "technologically groundbreaking" approach of The Jungle Book.

Scar's reign will be shown in greater detail
To show him as even more contemptible, Scar will be be shown doing a variety of terrible things only hinted at in the original film.

This film will find a different way to expose Scar's murder of Mufasa
Rather than have Scar blatantly tell Simba the truth and pushing his Berserk Button as a result, he will be either tricked into it or accidentally confess in the middle of a dramatic speech.

Some things from the original film that may be explained by the remake
  • The film will explicitly portray how the Pride Lands fell into famine and ruin due to the massive clan of alpha predators that took up residence in the kingdom after Scar took over. The explanation from The Lion Guard, that past lions and hyenas settled on two different territories to prevent overhunting, will be included.
  • Other male lions will appear as part of the Pride to debunk the old theory about Scar being Nala’s father (or it will otherwise be explicitly spelled out Nala’s father was neither Mufasa or Scar).

The "Simba Confronts Scar" scene will play out differently in the remake.
As Doug Walker pointed out, the film suffers a Broken Aesop since the pride doesn't move to stand with Simba even after he confesses to Mufasa's death, making it clear it was an accident. The remake will potentially address this in a few different ways:
  • Sarabi and Nala still standing with Simba, maybe joined by other lionesses, but they get forcibly silenced by the overwhelming hyena horde present. When Scar confesses, they are able to overthrow the hyenas and commence the battle.
  • Most of the lionesses will be loyal to Scar, in a downplayed version of the Outsiders from Simba's Pride and more of a My Country, Right or Wrong version — until he confesses. Hence why they don't back up Simba even after he confesses it was an accident.
  • The battle scene itself will be expanded, similar to Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book, especially since the latter showed off Favreau doesn't shy away from gritty action. Scar could also get more action, maybe being challenged by the heroes (Pumbaa in particular, since warthogs are known to be capable of killing lions) until Simba is able to narrowly defeat him.

Incorporation of Broadway songs
  • "The Lioness Hunt": It plays out more or less the same as the musical, as it depicts the lionesses of the pride hunting prey. The song is headlined by Beyonce, and otherwise looks like epic footage of real lionesses hunting prey that you'd see in a documentary, just set to "Lioness Hunt".
  • "Rafiki Mourns": We'll get an Adaptation Expansion in which the Pride Lands gather to hold a funeral service for their fallen king. Mufasa's body is taken to be buried at Pride Rock as the song is used. Then, with the whole kingdom present, Scar takes control.
  • "The Madness of King Scar": Partly in case the below "Shadowland" gets included and partly to make up for "Be Prepared" being absent by giving Scar a proper Villain Song.
  • "Shadowland": To give Beyonce a solo number.
    • Potentially confirmed: Outlets have started reporting that Beyoncé does indeed perform a version of this song in-film.
  • "Endless Night": Same for "Shadowland", but for Donald Glover.

Humans will appear, and have a minor role.
Just to justify Disney calling this a live-action film.
  • Jossed Disney did not describe it as live-action, only stating it would follow the "technologically groundbreaking" approach of The Jungle Book.

Azizi will have Adaptational Intelligence compared to Ed.
If Azizi only laughs like Ed did in the first movie, surely they wouldn't have gone to the trouble of hiring a new actor for him? Maybe Azizi/Ed will talk this time, although he may still be less intelligent than the other two.

There will be memes combining this and The Eric Andre Show
With Eric Andre in the cast, the memes write themselves. At the end of the movie, once the hyenas turn on Scar and devour him, there'll be a “Who Killed Hannibal?” version of this scene with Azizi's jaws still wet with blood and saying “Who ate Scar?” Or... just before they pounce him, we get “We'll Be Right Back.”

The film will be Darker and Edgier and PG-13
This would distinguish it from the original.
  • At least partially jossed; the film has officially been given a PG rating.

We will get a scene of Scar outright challenging Mufasa for the throne
Or at least mention that he did once in the past. Maybe that's how he got his scar and eventual murderous hatred of his brother?

Mufusa could die early
As in the original film and broadway musical Mufusa will likely be killed by Scar. However while Mufusa dies around the halfway period Mufusa will most likely be killed less than a quarter of a way into the film. It would make sense if this was the case because the film will be longer than the original version and we will see more of Simba in exile with Timon and Pumbaa than he did in the 1994 adaptation. Mufusa will obviously teach Simba the Circle of Life and save him and Nala from the hyenas but his role will probably be demoted slightly as the film will focus more on Simba.

Zazu and Rafiki will be extras
Even though Rafiki will show off baby Simba to the animals of the pride lands and show Simba the ghost of his father and Zazu serves as a majordomo to Mufusa both will likely be demoted to extras. If that is the case Rafiki will probably only show up at the start of the film, showing Simba Mufusa’s ghost and showing off Simba and Nala’s cub unlike the 1994 version where he made cameos in his tree and during the climax. Likewise Zazu will be less of a comedy relief character and to make the film darker Simba and Nala as cubs will encounter the hyenas alone and Zazu will less likely be forced to entertain Scar while in a rib cage.

"Be Prepared" will be put back in the film, but as a surprise
With what IMDB was saying about "Be Prepared" being put back in, Disney might want to hold back on confirming this until the film comes out. Though it could be revealed before the film comes if the soundtrack comes out first.

There be more Hamlet references
Maybe Simba will pretend to be mad for a little while.

Mufasa got his scars from, well, Scar
Maybe the two brothers fought over Sarabi and, while Mufasa took a couple of hits, he scarred his brother over his eye. That'd be a good way to make the film Darker and Edgier.

Scar's unwanted advances on Nala will be reinserted
In keeping with the Darker and Edgier trend of Disney's remakes, the deleted scene where Scar tries to have his way with Nala (which was later included in the musical) will be in the remake.

The scene where Scar tells Zazu to "sing something with a little bounce in it" will be included, but the song Zazu sings won't be "It's a Small World."
Instead, it will be "Let It Go" since that's been the song sung in several productions of the musical version since 2014.

The elephant shrew played by Amy Sedaris will replace the mouse from the opening scene.
Scar will catch the shrew and tell her his "life isn't fair" monologue - but in this version the shrew will talk back.


Example of: