The ‘Lion King’ Voice Cast Has Enough Stars To Take Over Pride Rock

by Lia Beck

The new Lion King remake hits theaters on July 19, and it's full of famous faces... well, famous voices. While the movie is being called "live-action," it's about animals and they're all computer animated. This is not a Cats situation where you're going to see Beyoncé dressed up like Nala, but you will hear her. And you'll hear a ton of other actors you know, too, as part of the star-studded Lion King voice cast.

One of the cool things about the Lion King cast (other than it featuring Beyoncé) is that the majority of the actors have African ancestry. Many of them are African American. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Scar, is English and has Nigerian parents. Then there's Florence Kasumba, who voices one of the hyenas and was born in Uganda. While the country in which the story takes place isn't stated in the film, all versions of The Lion King are clearly set somewhere in Africa, so this casting is a logical way to bring some more representation to a big Hollywood movie.

There has been a lot of promotion of this cast — including some pretty funny pictures of the voice actors staring at their animated characters — but, if you still need a refresher on who's playing who, here's a look at the 14 main voice actors of this new Lion King.

James Earl Jones As Mufasa

James Earl Jones is reprising his role from the original animated movie and voicing Mufasa once again.

Donald Glover As Simba

Donald Glover's taking on the lead role of adult Simba. In the original movie, the character was voiced by Matthew Broderick.

Beyoncé As Nala

Beyoncé voices adult Nala, and, dueting with Glover on a version of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight." The role was voiced by Moira Kelly in the 1994 original.

Chiwetel Ejiofor As Scar

Chiwetel Ejiofor voices Scar, taking over for Jeremy Irons, who provided the voice of Simba's evil uncle in the original.

JD McCrary As Young Simba

The role of young Simba went to JD McCrary, who previously acted on Tyler Perry's series The Paynes. The original young Simba was played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

Shahadi Wright Joseph As Young Nala

Young Nala is voiced by Shahadi Wright Joseph, who recently had two big roles in the horror movie Us.

Billy Eichner As Timon

Billy Eichner plays Simba's meerkat pal Timon. The original Timon was voiced by Nathan Lane.

Seth Rogen As Pumbaa

And Timon's buddy, Pumbaa, is voiced by Seth Rogen, taking over for Ernie Sabella.

John Kani As Rafiki

South African actor John Kani, who is most recently known for playing T'Chaka in Black Panther, voices Rafiki. The first Rafiki was voiced by Robert Guillaume.

Alfre Woodard As Sarabi

Alfre Woodard voices Simba's mom, Sarabi, a character originally voiced by Madge Sinclair. (Is that Sarabi in that picture from the trailer? Probably, but the trailer doesn't make it entirely clear.)

John Oliver As Zazu

The role of Zazu the bird went to comedian John Oliver. Zazu was played by Rowan Atkinson in the original.

Keegan-Michael Key As Kamari

Keegan-Michael Key plays a hyena called Kamari. This name is either replacing Ed (Jim Cummings) or Banzai (Cheech Marin) from the original, because two of the hyenas' names were changed for this reboot.

Eric Andre As Azizi

Eric Andre plays Azizi, another one of Scar's hench-hyenas.

Florence Kasumba As Shenzi

Black Panther's Florence Kasumba voices Shenzi, the one hyena whose name remains the same from the original. The character was first voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.

There you have it, the entire Lion King cast and the characters they'll be playing. Won't be long now until we're all weeping thanks to some CGI animals, talented voice actors, and classic Disney songs.