The first proper trailer for Disneys revamped version of The Lion King has arrived, and its hitting all the expected nostalgic sweet spots. Aesthetically, the new version, directed by Jon Favreau, looks like a mix of deft CGI and the sort of elegant wildlife footage that wouldnt be out of place in a David Attenborough special. Which is to say: it looks really lovely.
The more realistic tone of this trailer means a lot of things have been completely reimagined for this version of the story, like the aesthetic of the villainous Scar (voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor) . In the 1994 film, the character was comically evil-looking, with a long black mane, yellow-green eyes, and a goatee that wont quit. In Favreaus dignified reimagining, he looks. . . like a lion, albeit a scrawny one with rangy, matted fur and a clipped ear. “Lifes not fair, is it, my little friend?” he says at the start of the trailer—a tweaked version of the first line Scar speaks aloud in the original film. “While some are born to feast, others spend their lives in the dark, begging for scraps.”
The trailer then hands the narration over to the just king Mufasa (voiced, once again, by the legendary James Earl Jones), who tells his son, Simba, “Everything you see sits together in a delicate balance.” He was so close to saying the “everything the light touches” line—but perhaps thats for the next teaser. Also hopefully in the next trailer? Audio of Beyoncé in character as Nala, whom we see briefly in this trailer, and grown-up Simba, voiced by Donald Glover.
In the meantime, this trailer does include many pound-for-pound classic shots from the original film, including: tiny Simba putting his paw in his fathers giant pawprint; the montage of Simba aging with Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumba (Seth Rogen); and the ominous wildebeest stampede that changes everything. The Lion King hits theaters on July 19, 2019.
More Great Stories from Vanity Fair
— “Art Is Subjective. F–k You.”—The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creators get candid about their cult hit