Director Jon Favreau explained why he decided to keep the live-action version of The Lion King's story similar to that of the 1994 animated classic.
"Everybody’s got their own formula. I’m not saying this is the way you do it, but it’s the way I’ve done it," he told Variety. "You don’t want to reinvent it completely. You want people to see it and be able to say, ‘I saw The Lion King.'"
Favreau then shared his experience of seeing The Lion King Broadway play and appreciating how it felt he was seeing the same story as the 1994 film. "Now the play is an hour longer and has different songs, different scenes but somehow it captured the essence of the film. You would casually say it’s the same exact story.”
Though similar story-wise, there are several noticeable differences between Favreau's Lion King and the animated film, aside from the obvious live-action elements. One noticeable change being the addition of a new song called "Spirit" by Beyonce, who plays Nala in the film.
Currently in theaters, director Jon Favreau's The Lion King features the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Florence Kasumba, Eric André, Keegan-Michael Key, JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and James Earl Jones.