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Top 10 Things We NEED to See in The Lion King (2019)

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
These are the things we NEED to see in the new Lion King movie! For this list, we’re taking a look atall the elements we’d like to see explored in Disney’s 2019 remake of “The Lion King.” We definitely want to see more of Simba growing up, more Pride Lands after Simba leaves, new songs, stunning visuals and colors.
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Top 10 Things We NEED to See in The Lion King (2019)


Return of the king! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things We NEED to See in The Lion King (2019).

For this list, we’re taking a look at all the elements we’d like to see explored in Disney’s 2019 remake of “The Lion King.”

10: Avoid Making a Shot-for-Shot Remake

This remake has already captivated audiences with its teaser, amassing 224.6 million views in its first 24 hours. A couple minor changes aside, the trailer was a faithful recreation of several scenes from the 1994 classic, most notably the “Circle of Life” musical number. As beautiful as this imagery is, we hope the film isn’t merely a shot-for-shot remake. While 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” was generally well-received, many argued that it relied heavily on nostalgia, often feeling like an imitation of what was already near-perfect. If the new “Lion King” is going to stand the test of time, it needs to bring something new to the story without losing sight of the original’s heart.

#9: Give Nala a Father
One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the first film is the identity of Nala’s father. Throughout her youth, the only adult male lions we ever see in the Pride Lands are Mufasa and Scar. So … does that mean Nala and Simba are … related? This question has stirred up much debate over the years, but the remake could finally put it to rest by identifying, or introducing Nala’s dad. He doesn’t need to be a main character or even make an onscreen appearance, but at least a mention in passing would be nice. Maybe he also got trampled in a wildebeest stampede, hence his absence. There’s definitely room for more story here.

#8: More of Simba Growing Up

In most Disney films, the protagonist’s childhood is summarized within the first few minutes. Similar to “Bambi,” though, “The Lion King” dedicates a fair deal of time to both Simba’s youth and adulthood. Yet, Simba still grows from a cub to a full-grown lion within a couple of seconds, providing little insight into what happened in between. Granted, “The Lion King 1½” fills in this gap a bit, but come on. That wasn’t exactly the most fleshed out character study - focusing more on Timon and Pumbaa. Given the trauma Simba experienced at such a young age, it’d be fascinating if this remake delved deeper into the psychological ramifications he might’ve faced in his teenage years.

#7: More of the Pride Lands after Simba Leaves

Another chapter that’s glossed over in the original film is how the Pride Lands went downhill after Scar took over. Between Scar’s lust for power and inability to lead, it’s clear why the Pride Lands suffered. What isn’t clear is how exactly they suffered. Rather than leaving it up to us to fill in the blanks, this remake could explore how Scar’s decisions caused the herds to move away and all the water to dry up. For that matter, when Scar finally becomes king, he basically just lies around and yells at his subjects. Wouldn’t it be interesting if he had more sinister or complex aspirations, akin to an actual dictator?

#6: New Songs In addition to songs from the original film, we wouldn’t mind if this remake included a couple of tunes from the subsequent sequels or Broadway iteration, like “He Lives in You.” As mentioned before, however, this remake’s legacy will likely be short-lived if it can’t distinguish itself from its predecessors. Composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice are both returning to collaborate with Beyoncé on a new song that’ll play over the end credits. Why stop there, though? The remake could form an identity of its own by introducing several new songs, as long as they further the story and character development - and aren’t just thrown in for the sake oan Oscar nomination.

#5: Stunning Visuals & Colors

Director Jon Favreau’s remake of “The Jungle Book” won an Academy Award for its breathtaking visual effects. Where that film was classified as a live-action/CGI hybrid, however, Favreau’s “The Lion King” is being described as a photorealistic computer-animated remake. Although the footage we’ve seen so far appears every bit as “technologically groundbreaking” as the filmmakers promised, some have criticized it for lacking the vibrant colors of the original. This has been an issue with most modern Disney remakes, which always look impressive, but feel bleak when stacked up against their counterparts. Disney of all companies knows that not everything needs to be dark and gritty. So paint with all the colors of the wind!

#4: Fresh Takes on Classic Songs

As much as we want a few new numbers, the original film features some of Disney’s finest songs and it’d be a missed opportunity if they were excluded from the remake. Thankfully, Hans Zimmer is not only coming back to compose the score, but the remake will include four classic songs: “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can't Wait to Be King,” “Hakuna Matata,” and the Oscar-winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Alas, it appears the filmmakers are omitting “Be Prepared,” which is arguably the best villain song in the Disney canon. Regardless, here’s hoping that the songwriters, performers, and filmmakers can put a fresh spin on the songs that do make the cut.

#3: An All-Star Cast Killing It

Outside of James Earl Jones as Mufasa, none of the original voice actors are reprising their roles. While the original cast will always hold a special place in our hearts, many of the newcomers seem perfectly tailored for their roles. We mean, how can you go wrong with Billy Eichner as the wisecracking Timon, Seth Rogen as the sloppy Pumbaa, and John Oliver as the sardonic Zazu? The casting choices that have really piqued our interests are Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. All three of these performers seem like they have the range required to provide unique portrayals of these iconic characters while still staying true to them.

#2: More Backstory for Scar

There’s no denying that Scar is among the most menacing baddies ever to come out of Disney. As with Lady Tremaine and Shere Khan, however, this remake could give the character more layers by exploring his backstory and motivations. While it’s evident in the original film that Scar is envious of Mufasa, we’d like to see the roots of their sibling rivalry. Maybe their father pitted them against each other as cubs, which could also provide insight into how Scar got that nasty scratch across his eye. Like Killmonger in “Black Panther,” the remake could even paint Scar as an identifiable villain who we might actually root for if it weren’t for his extremist methods.

#1: Simba Demonstrating Leadership Skills

“The Lion King” features one of Disney’s most rousing climaxes when Simba returns to Pride Rock, defeats Scar, and takes his place in the circle of life. That being said, we don’t really see Simba demonstrate any leadership skills until the very end. While never coming off as unsympathetic, Simba spends most of the film gloating about how he’s going to be king, looking for trouble, and then running away from his problems. Although this ties into the story’s message about confronting your past and learning from your mistakes, Simba would have more of a rooting factor if he exemplified the makings of a great ruler early on - proving he was always destined to be king.

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