On the one hand, the idea of a remake of “The Lion King,” arguably the most beloved of all the beloved ’90s Disney movies, is a horrible one: it’s yet another example of Disney plundering their archives for a fast buck, and it’d surely be difficult to capture the magic of the original movie. But on the other hand, we had similar feelings about Jon Favreau’s earlier Disney re-do, “The Jungle Book,” and that turned out to be pretty damn good.
And the casting so far has been stellar: Donald Glover playing Simba, James Earl Jones returning to play Mufasa (because who else could?), and Beyoncé sought to take on the role of Nala. Maybe it could actually turn out pretty well? And now, another confidence-booster has arrived, with The Wrap breaking the story that beloved meerkat/warthog sidekicks Timon and Pumbaa will be played by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen.
Like the Glover casting, it’s at once kind of a shock, but also makes a ton of sense — the casting plays a little on their established personas, but you also figure they’ll deliver versions that are distinct from the ones that Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella delivered in the original film. All we need now is the assurance that there will be a scene in which Timon runs through the wilderness yelling, “Miss, for a dollar…,” and we’ll be absolutely on board. There are still some big-name roles to be filled, most notably villain Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor, perhaps?), but work is already getting underway: as was announced earlier today, the movie will hit theaters on July 19th, 2019, a little over 25 years after the original film(!!!!!!).