The Lion King: Trivia, Easter eggs and fun facts you didn’t know about the 2019 Disney remake

We reveal 11 things you might not have known about 2019 Disney movie The Lion King. Discover hidden secrets from the film and trivia about its impressive voice cast.

The Lion King was a box office smash hit when it was released in cinemas earlier this year.

And the 2019 Disney remake - directed by Jon Favreau, who was also at the helm of The Jungle Book remake - is now officially one of the biggest films of all time.

With a voice cast that includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner, the plot follows Simba, a young lion who must fight for his role as the rightful king of his native land.

Here, we reveal The Lion King 2019 trivia, hidden Disney Easter eggs and fun facts about the film. 

> The Lion King is available to buy on BT TV and watch on your TV box now, and to rent from Monday, November 18

simba mufasa

1. It surpassed Frozen to be the biggest animated film of all time

In August 2019, The Lion King officially became the highest-grossing animated film ever made - knocking Disney's 2013 hit Frozen off the top spot. As of August 11, it had made $1.3 billion at the box office (and that number is still growing) - topping Frozen's $1.2 billion, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. The Lion King is also the seventh highest grossing film of all time of any genre.

2. Only one voice actor returns from the original 1994 film

James Earl Jones was the only voice cast member from the original 1994 Disney film to reprise his role in the remake. He voices Mufasa - Simba's father, and the original lion king. “His voice is iconic for so many different reasons, and anything that involves him is so rich and has such depth and resonance and evokes all of these memories,” Chiwetel Ejiofor, the voice of Scar, told EW.com.

3. Beyoncé fans might want to listen to the soundtrack...

Hans Zimmer returns to compose the soundtrack for the 2019 film - but there's also a brand new track written just for the new movie. Spirit is written by Beyoncé, Labrinth and Ilya Salmanzadeh, and is performed by Beyoncé in the film. The music video for Spirit also features a cameo from none other than Bey's daughter, Blue Ivy.

4. Get the snacks ready - this is one of Disney's longest films

The Lion King is around 30 minutes longer than the 1994 version - but that’s because it expands the story of the original and adds more emotional depth to the scenes. At 1 hour and 58 minutes, it’s one of Disney’s longest films - just shy of Fantasia’s 2 hour 6 minutes but longer than The Incredibles which is 1 hour 56 minutes.

5. New visual effects software was created just for the movie

The process of making The Lion King was a first for Hollywood, according to the LA Times. Disney started with an animated version of the movie, known as a pre-visualisation, before the camera crew, wearing Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, filmed the action just like they would shoot in the real world. The editors could then select from multiple shots to construct each scene. 

6. There’s only one non-animated shot in the whole film

Director Jon Favreau revealed in July 2019 that the first shot of the movie that begins The Circle of Life is in fact a real photograph that the team took in Africa: 

7. Timón and Pumbaa’s lines were actually recorded together

Seth Rogen, who voices warthog Pumbaa, revealed that he actually got to record his lines alongside Billy Eichner, who provides the voice of Timón, rather than recording separately, as is the norm in animated movies. Rogen told Variety: "We were actually together. That was really different [for voice roles], and you can tell when you watch the movie. Our rapport is incredibly naturalistic, and we really play off one another in a way that would have been impossible if we weren’t actually there in the room together."

timon and pumbaa

8. Did you spot a new character that was created for the film?

Comedian Amy Sedaris voices a new character for the film - a guinea fowl, which is a large, spotted bird. The animal is brand new to The Lion King kingdom.

9. Simba could have sounded very different

Chance The Rapper auditioned for the role of Simba, which eventually went to Donald Glover - who then recommended Chance The Rapper for another role in the film. He voiced the Bush Baby, and also worked as a consultant. 

10. There are links to The Lion King Broadway show throughout

Shahadi Wright Joseph, who voices young Nala in the film, played the same character on Broadway in 2014. The song He Lives in You is also from the Broadway adaptation's soundtrack (as well as featuring in the 1998 film The Lion King II: Simba's Pride).

11. Listen out for the hidden Beauty and the Beast easter egg

SPOILER ALERT: Fans of the original 1994 film will recognise the famous scene where Timón and Pumbaa try to distract the hyenas from Pride Rock. In the 2019 version, however, they start to sing 'Be Our Guest' from Beauty and the Beast in said scene.

> The Lion King is available to buy on BT TV and watch on your TV box now, and to rent from Monday, November 18

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Main image: © Disney 2019

All other images: Rex Features

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