According to TheWrap, John Kani will be playing the part of Rafiki in Disney’s upcoming live action version of The Lion King. Kani is known for his role in Civil War as Black Panther’s father, King T’Chaka, and Final Solution from 2001. From such work, Kani is sure to bring a unique voice to the part.
If you haven’t watched The Lion King in a while, Rafiki was the royal advisor to the main character’s father, Mufasa. Rafiki is represented as a baboon (most closely resembling the Mandrill, with their iconic red and blue faces) and happily doles out odd advice for Simba and Mufasa. His most famous line is “the past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it,” which comes from the most iconic scene in the film.
Next up is a report from The Hollywood Reporter, stating that Alfre Woodard will be playing the part of Sarabi. She is known for her role in Burning Sands, Luke Cage, and Saint Judy (currently an Oscar nominee film). She is extremely talented and her voice is sure to fit the role.
Sarabi, as her name isn’t mentioned often in the original film, is Simba’s mother. Throughout the cartoon she is the epitome of motherhood and quite loving to her son. She remains after Mufasa’s death and does her best to make the most of Scar’s tyrannical rule.
Speaking of Scar, the lovely villain will be played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. He is known for his work in 12 Years a Slave, a must see film if you haven’t already. Joining these lovely folks in the cast are Donald Glover as Simba, James Earl Jones as Mufasa (reprising the role), the famous talk show host John Oliver as Zazu, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, and Billy Eichner as Timon.
The Lion King is currently shooting in Los Angeles and will premier in theaters July 19, 2019.