The Live Action ‘Lion King’ Cast Would Be Perfect, Were it Not for the Voice of Pumbaa

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Disney)

The full cast for the live action remake of The Lion King has been announced, and hot dang is it awesome.

Okay, so maybe this movie isn’t actually live action, but rather a detailed photorealistic CGI remake that is still basically a cartoon, but with more believable visuals. It remains to be seen whether it’ll actually be any better than the beloved original, but it’s certainly going to look pretty in a whole different way.

With the real Mufasa, James Earl Jones, reprising his iconic role, you know things are going to be good, but it just gets better from there.

Donald Glover is the new Simba, which is great, and Beyonce is Nala, which is downright fantastic. It seems a shame that there aren’t enough black female actors in Hollywood to fully cast this movie without relying on people who are primarily musicians, but whatever.

It’s also a shame that we won’t be getting a female Rafiki, as that has always seemed like a smart change in the Broadway musical, but never mind. John Kani was great in Civil War as T’chaka, he’ll be great in this too.

Then there’s Chiwetel Ejiofor. He’s great in literally everything, and is absolutely perfect for a quieter, softer, more nuanced Scar. That should be good.

There’s just one name on the cast list that really stands out as a weird inclusion. For some reason, Seth Rogen is going to be in this, and he’ll be playing Pumbaa.

The Lion King Pumbaa
Source: Disney


It’s difficult to imagine anyone other than Ernie Sabella playing everyone’s favorite gaseous warthog to start with, but Seth Rogen would feel weirdly out of place in a Disney movie no matter what character he’d be playing.

It’s hard to imagine this feeling like a good idea when the movie comes out – at best, Rogen’s performance will be entirely forgettable. At worst, he could be the new B.E.N. from Treasure Planet; stealing every scene he’s in for all the wrong reasons as he spouts a series of flat one-liners.

Seth Rogen in The Night Before
Source: Columbia Pictures

Here’s hoping this doesn’t turn out to be as weird and wrong as it sounds. With any luck, The Lion King will be every bit as enjoyable as the rest of the Disney live-action remakes, regardless of Rogen’s involvement.

If not, it’ll be awfully hard to say Hakuna Matata and ignore this movie’s vocal imperfections.