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The Lion King: New Footage, Poster Revealed At The 2019 Oscars

Long live the king. 

Directors, writers, actors, editors, cinematographers, and all sorts of other creatives who help bring films to life on the big screen may have been the sole focus of the 2019 Oscars ceremony on Sunday, February 24, but that didn't stop the House of Mouse from stepping in and reminding watchers at home that there's a fresh new film coming from the studio this summer. 

Disney rolled out a brand-new television spot during the 91st Academy Awards, then unveiled a poster for the Jon Favreau-directed, live-action-but-not-quite remake of the classic animated film. 

Most of the footage included in the newly released clip, which readers can watch in full in the video above, was also featured in the initial teaser trailer for The Lion King that Disney released in the midst of another major television event – the Thanksgiving 2018 football game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. Both spots take viewers back to the Pride Lands, the African savannah in which a future furry king has just been born. His name? Simba (voiced by Donald Glover), the son of reigning king Mufasa (voiced by original Lion King actor James Earl Jones), who makes it his mission to teach Simba all there is to know about assuming a throne, overseeing a territory, and protecting others. 

But, to the heartbreak of millions, Mufasa suffers a tragic fate at the hands of his own brother, Scar (voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor), who was first in line to become king of the Pride Lands prior to Simba's birth. Seemingly the only animal in the kingdom to take issue with the young cub's existence, an attitude that reflects his personal greed and starkly contrasts with the celebrations surrounding Simba's birth that are shown in this new Lion King TV spot, Scar carries out a deadly plan that changes Simba's life and the lives of everyone in the Pride Lands forever. 

New looks included in the Lion King footage revealed during the Oscars include a baby Simba sneezing after the shaman-like baboon Rafiki (voiced by John Kani) takes his pollen-covered thumb and swipes an arch of red across his forehead (this mirrors a scene from the 1994 original in which he does the exact same thing), as well as closer peeks at the different animals that call the Pride Lands their home. 

It's all very familiar, both because Disney has already shown us a large portion of what makes up this new clip and because so many of us are fans of the original Lion King from the mid-90s and know how the story begins, where it goes, and the place it ends up. Still, the CGI work in the forthcoming Lion King reimagining is absolutely stunning, and there's little arguing that director Favreau has taken great pride (no pun intended) in ensuring that his remake of the beloved IP is as faithful an adaptation as it can be. The beat-for-beat recreation of the Circle of Life sequence seen here proves that, as does the inclusion of James Earl Jones as Mufasa and the design for the newest poster for the film, which teases an important location in the Lion King lore: the spot where the frazzled Zazu, Mufasa's (and later Simba's) majordomo and chief advisor voiced by John Oliver. 

Displayed below, the poster shows a clearer vision of Mufasa than does the new spot, which only features him in a flash moment. We see Mufasa standing with a little Simba, the current king looking down at his young son while the ruler-in-training stares at his father with a look of innocent incredulity in his eyes. It appears as though the royal pair are having this conversation in the same place Zazu usually conducts his Morning Report, though Mufasa and Simba are speaking as the sun is setting rather than as it's rising. Regardless of time, though, it's obvious that Mufasa is giving Simba some sage wisdom about what it means to be king — and Simba is soaking it all in.  

Both reveals here inspire additional confidence in us (and they should do the same for fans) that Favreau's The Lion King will be quite the captivating remake once it arrives in theaters in July. By the looks of the moving footage and the one-sheet still, it's evident that the Lion King refresh won't reinvent the tale we all know and love, won't become one of those remakes that is way different from the original, and won't fall victim to crappy CGI that completely ruins what would otherwise have been a solid movie. Disney doesn't often churn out flops, and has a strong track record of success with its modern reimaginings of films from its animated movie archivesThe Lion King is bound to earn a billion or more at the box office, just as Beauty and the Beast did in 2017, and keep the remake train a-rolling. It's good for the company, good for Favreau, good for the cast, and good for Lion King loyals at home who just can't resist the sweet pull of nostalgia. 

Also featuring Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, and Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key, and Eric Andre as Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi, The Lion King will roar in cinemas on July 19.