Atlanta might have been one of the best shows of 2016, but it's not the only locale the FX series' star has his eyes on. Earn Marks, aka Childish Gambino, aka Troy Barnes, real name Donald Glover, will be voicing Simba in the upcoming live adaptation of Jon Favreau’s The Lion King. Even more, the legendary James Earl Jones will be playing his father, the ill-fated Mufasa. (R.I.P.) Yes, that's the same Jones who played Mufasa in the 1994 film, and that other pretty famous father. The one with a penchant for black helmets and breathing heavily. (Speaking of Darth Vader, as Glover was recently cast as Lando Calrissian, this acting duo will also be a part of the Star Wars universe together.)
The Lion King will be the latest Disney film to go live, and while production hasn't started yet, the circle of life is already being embraced. The woke Glover didn't have anything to do with the original Disney masterpiece, but Jones' reprisal role will be clutch to get fans on board with the re-imagining. Bringing a bit of the classic film (Jones) into the modern version (also Jones) is a smart move.
To bring the Pride Lands to life, Favreau will use the same photorealistic technology that earned The Jungle Book a "Best Visual Effects" Oscar nomination. That photorealism means that the new and improved Pride Rock will look real, but won't be real at all. Which makes sense, considering how tough it would be to get a lion and a hornbill bird to have a conversation in real life. Obviously this also means that we probably won't be seeing Jones on screen. Or Glover, who will not, in fact, be wearing a small lion's costume. We'll only get to hear the multi-talented entertainer instead of look at him. But, as fans of Childish Gambino can attest, that's not a bad deal. Just think about how "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" would sound in that falsetto.
Jones is no stranger to voicing wise animated lions. His bravery for deciding to take on the role, considering he knows very well how it ends, i.e. not in Mufasa's favor, should not be overlooked. Regardless, there's no one better to play Mufasa than the man who played Mufasa decades prior. Long live the king! (Even though he doesn't live...)
The film’s release date has not been announced. But the only other remaining question is: Who will play Timon and Pumbaa? And can Darius and Paper Boi from Atlanta at least be considered?