Donald Glover, James Earl Jones to Star in Live-Action ‘The Lion King’

Donald Glover / James Earl Jones

Last September, we were excited to hear that Disney had brought Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book) on board to direct a new live-action reimagining of The Lion King. The original 1994 animated movie has become a beloved classic, following young Simba (voiced as an adult by Matthew Broderick) as he comes of age under the shadow of his benevolent father Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and his wicked uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons).

Now Favreau has announced the firsttwo actors cast and they are significant.

I just can’t wait to be king.

— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) February 18, 2017

Glover is about the same age as Broderick when the original was released and has a similar timber to his voice. Like Broderick, Glover is more than capable of sliding between light comedy and weightier drama as needed; we imagine that the full range of his talents will be called upon in the new version. Add to that, he’ll be coming off the Han Solo spin-off movie, due for release sometime next year, and that will only enhance his box office power and attract even more people to check the movie out.

Looking forward to working with this legend.

— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) February 18, 2017

Casting Jones as Mufasa is a great move, too. First, his voice in the original, filled with gravitas, is a signature element, commanding yet kind; he’s the perfect father figure. Even though more than 20 years have passed, his voice still sounds magnificent and his abilities as an actor have not diminished.

We’ve heard that the new version will feature songs from the original and that Favreau will build upon his work on The Jungle Book in combining live-action footage with “cutting-edge technology” provided via visual effects, per The Hollywood Reporter. Now we just have to wait impatiently for the movie to arrive in theaters!