A live-action Lion King movie was just announced roughly one week ago and will be directed by Jon Favreau. Favreau name became popular after directing Marvel’s first cinematic universe film in Iron-Man. He also starred as fan-favorite Happy Hogan in the Iron-Man movies and is confirmed to be reprising this role in next years Spider-Man: Homecoming.
After hearing that a live-action Lion King movie would be directed by Jon Favreau, I lost my mind. I haven’t been a fan of the live-action Disney films until The Jungle Book came out. Also directed by Favreau, this movie gave us everything the original 1967 animated film had and more. The film was absolutely stunning to watch. The animals looked incredibly real for a movie entirely filmed in a sound stage. The only character that wasn’t animated was of course actor Neel Sethi who played Mowgli. The film was brilliantly done and is arguably the best live-action Disney film to date.
Like The Jungle Book, there are some things you can’t change from the original. Keeping “The Bare Necessities” and “I Want To Be Like You” songs have stuck in the minds of those who’ve watched the original film and was vital in the live-action remake. The film also kept the original characters while enhancing the one’s that may not have had as much screen-time in the 1967 film such as the wolves. Favreau had Kaa the Snake in the movie but cut the role down tremendously.
However though many changes were made, he created the film as his own and put his stamp on the movie. The Lion King also needs to be similar, in that there are certain elements you can’t really change to make the film that much different. With that in mind, here are five things you simply can’t change when crafting a live-action Lion King remake.
1. James Earl Jones Should Reprise His Role As The Voice Of Mufasa
There are many iconic actors who voiced the characters. Matthew Broderick as Simba, Jeremy Irons as Scar, Nathan Lane as Timon, Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, and of course James Earl Jones as the King himself. If there’s one actor who simply must return to voice one of the characters, it’d have to be Jones. Not only is he a tremendous talent, but there’s just something about his voice that makes him stand out among the others. His voice is extremely deep and makes it sound like he’s powerful, dominant, and fit to be a king.
When people hear the name James Earl Jones, most people relate to him as being one of the most iconic movie villains of all time. That of course would be the fearsome Darth Vader. He’s already confirmed to be reprising his role again as Vader in the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story film, so why can’t they bring him back to another franchise also made by Disney? It makes total sense and I’m sure everyone would be onboard.
2. A Young Simba Hoisted Up On Pride Rock
Not only is this iconic scene on the poster and the original VHS cover, but it’s probably the first picture that pops into everyone’s head when they hear the words: The Lion King. This is a scene that takes place at the beginning and end of the film by two different cubs. The scene is used to convey the rightful heir of king, as all the animals are seen bowing down. I absolutely love this scene and most certainly should be in live-action film. It’s a scene that sticks out to a lot of people, especially when listening to the song “The Circle of Life.”
Speaking of that iconic music…
3. The Incredible Soundtrack Must Be Used In Some Form
Like Favreau’s The Jungle Book, this film MUST use at least the majority of the songs in some way shape or form. “The Circle of Life,” “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,”and of course “Hakuna Matata” (what a wonderful phrase) are all songs I would definitely include in the movie. In the live-action The Jungle Book film. Favreau chose to keep “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You” while also cutting Kaa’s famous song “Trust In Me.” That decision I thought worked in this film so it begs to question what songs could potentially be on the chopping block so to speak.
In my opinion, “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” could easily be removed along with dare I say it, “Be Prepared.” I absolutely love both of those songs, but I can’t see how they may be incorporated into a live-action format. However, if there’s one director who could make this work, it would be Jon Favreau.
4. Mufasa’s Unfortunate Demise
“Long live the king.” -Scar
The scene that perhaps scarred (no pun intended) us the most as kids, has to be when we first heard those words by the films antagonist. Voiced superbly by Jeremy Irons, this moment brought us many tears and struck fear into the lives of children. Scar is one of Disney’s most terrifying movie villains. He’s also a blood brother of Mufasa who becomes jealous when he learns that Simba would be the next king instead of himself. Scar believed that he’s more fit for king than anyone else, so he crafted a plan that would end the lives of both father and son.
To this day I still become teary eyed when I see Simba crying at the body of his now dead father after being trampled on by a stampede of wildebeests. Scar told Simba that he (Simba) was the reason for his fathers death. This makes it even more tough to watch when audiences know the true reason behind Mufasa’s death. This is certainly one scene I am not looking forward to, simply because it will feel that much more real. Though the film won’t be using real animals, The Jungle Book made you believe that animals could talk and so will The Lion King.
5. Simba’s Vision Of His Father
“Remember who you are.” -Mufasa
THIS was the scene that made Simba return to the Pride Rock. Simba didn’t know what his purpose was, until now. Mufasa lives in Simba so to speak, and this vision established just that. Thanks to Scar’s lie, Simba believed that he betrayed the kingdom by being the reason they lost their king. Rafiki gave him that extra push when he showed him that Mufasa was in fact “alive” and had a message to give to his son.
Watching Simba speak to his father was the turning point in this movie and absolutely has to be in the film. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the entire movie and shows how much his father cares for his son as he asks him to take on the reign as king. It’s a very emotional scene, especially since Simba still did not know that he wasn’t the cause of his fathers death. I’m not sure how Favreau will do this scene, but I’m sure it will be absolutely incredible to watch.
Why Favreau Is The Perfect Option To Direct This Movie
This is one of those situations where it appears too good to be true. Having chosen Favreau as the director just made too much sense, and fortunately that’s exactly who we’re getting to direct this film. If there was one director who could make a live-action Lion King movie work, it would be in the hands of Jon Favreau.
The Jungle Book was certainly a passion project of his, and I can’t wait to see what he will do with this live-action remake of a ’90s classic. However, Favreau must be careful since this movie is beloved by pretty much everyone and may in fact be the most difficult film to bring to live-action. This movie has stuck with us since childhood and Favreau must tread carefully if he is to make the film that everyone can adore.
But what do you think of a live-action Lion King remake? Do you think Favreau is the perfect choice to direct this movie? Also, what part of the original film do you think should be kept in the live-action movie? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!