Everything you need to know about the new Lion King film

Donald Glover attending the photocall for Solo: A Star Wars Story at The Trafalgar St. James, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo
Donald Glover attending the photocall for Solo: A Star Wars Story at The Trafalgar St. James, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 18, 2018. See PA story SHOWBIZ Star Wars. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

It has been 24 years since audiences around the world were stunned by The Lion King.

Disney’s 1994 animated classic – telling the story of heir to the throne Simba fighting to take his rightful place as king after tragedy befalls his family – remains one of the revered studio’s best-loved works.

The trailer for the upcoming computer-animated retelling was released on Thursday, giving fans a first look at director Jon Favreau’s creation.

Here is what you need to know about The Lion King:

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1) It has a star-studded cast

US musician and actor Donald Glover will voice adult Simba while Beyonce – one of the biggest popstars in the world – will play his love interest Nala.

Reprising his role from the original, James Earl Jones stars as Mufasa, the ill-fated king and Simba’s father.

Birmingham-born comedian John Oliver, now best known for his US late night show, will voice Zazu, the hornbill who acts as the king’s adviser.

Billy Eichner will play wise-cracking meerkat Timon while Seth Rogen stars as his flatulent warthog friend Pumbaa.

2) It will contain some of the songs from the original

1994’s Lion King featured one of cinema’s great soundtracks, written by Sir Elton John and Sir Tim Rice.

Sir Elton confirmed earlier this year that four songs – Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Hakuna Matata, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Circle of Life – made it to the new film.

3) Scar will again be voiced by an English actor

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor will voice Scar in the upcoming Lion King movie (Ian West/PA)

Scar, the villain of the piece, was memorably voiced by Jeremy Irons first time around.

And it looks like Disney stuck with Hollywood’s long-held rule to give the villainous roles to English actors.

This time, Scar will be voiced by London-born Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is perhaps best known for his role in 12 Years A Slave, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

4)  The circle of life! Scenes from the first film will be recreated in the new style

The trailer is likely to give fans of the original a burst of nostalgia. It features one of the famous scenes from the first movie – a young Simba being lifted above the Pride Lands while the animal kingdom salutes its new prince.

Jones even recreates his soliloquy about the sun rising and setting on kings.

And, as mentioned earlier, fans will once again hear some of the original’s best-loved songs.

5) It is made using state-of-the-art animation techniques

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The trailer revealed how life-like Simba looks, a stark difference to the animated original.

It is similar to other Disney reimaginings of its traditionally animated films, including 2016’s Jungle Book, which was also directed by Favreau.

Walt Disney Pictures are producing The Lion King, and are the studio behind other hits including Finding Dory, alongside Pixar.

6) It will be one of the biggest films of the year

The original grossed an impressive 968 million US dollars (£752 million), making it one of the most successful movies ever made.

It spawned numerous spin-offs, including a sequel and a critically and commercially successful Broadway musical.

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