Disney’s remake of the 1994 classic The Lion King just got its very first trailer, in the form of a quick minute and a half teaser.
The film, produced by Walt Disney Pictures and helmed by Iron Man director Jon Favreau, is a photorealistic, computer-animated movie featuring a staggering number of high-profile voice actors, including Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, and James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa. Elton John is also coming back to rework some of his original compositions.
In the trailer, we can see what looks like the opening moments of the movie, in which Rafiki presents a young Simba to the animals of the Pride Lands, with the quintessential shot of Simba being hoisted above the rock. All the while, James Earl Jones’ narration as Mufasa plays while the original film’s opening track, “Circle of Life,” can be heard in the background.
The trailer looks gorgeous and there was a chance that it would be essentially the “Circle of Life” sequence that made up the original breathtaking teaser trailer 25 years ago, but there was little reason to give away that key sequence eight months from its July 9, 2019 release date.
That first Lion King teaser was also the revealing of an original animated feature. This time, Disney banked on generational nostalgia for a known entity. This trailer does exactly that, without giving away the entire “Circle of Life” sequence.
The music is familiar, the effects are incredible and there are so many familiar elements from the original film. Of course, there are the same beloved characters. Mufasa even delivers that same iconic line to his son Simba: “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.”
Rafiki, the baboon, blesses Simba, leaving some red residue on his forehead, just like the character did in the original movie. Not only that, but they included one of the most legendary moments from the movie: Mufasa picks up baby Simba and raises him into the air to “introduce” him to all the subjects in the kingdom.
This teaser merely announces the project’s existence to an unknowing audience. To them, the mere fact that a live-action Lion King movie is on the way is enough.
It has a cast that, and to quote Jeremy Irons’ Scar, is “to die for”.
The rest of the cast includes Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), Eric Andre (Ed the Hyena), Seth Rogen (Pumba), Bily Eichner (Timon), Florence Kasumba (Shenzi), Keegan-Michael Key (Banzai), John Kani (Rafiki), John Oliver (Zazu), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) and JD McCary (young Simba).
I’m sure we’ll get more as the release date gets closer, but this tease was about creating awareness more than creating interest.