‘The Lion King’ Cast Photo: Was Beyoncé Photoshopped in?

The Lion King‘ cast photo instructions are as follows: everyone must wear black. Women: look fierce – imitate Beyoncé’s general disposition. Men: play it cool and casual, but not too casual; look at Donald Glover! He’s got what we’re going for here.

The Lion King World Premiere
‘The Lion King’ World Premiere | Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

The Lion King cast photo has hit the internet and fans – anxiously anticipating the “live-action” reimagining (misnomer and all) have taken to the internet to express their excitement. With only a matter of days until we hear “Circle of Life” and “Be Prepared” one more time – catalyzing a surge of nostalgia – the epic cast photo is here to make all millennials even antsier.

With so many cast members comprising this talented ensemble – from the comedic Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner to the incomparable Beyoncé and the Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor, the photo was bound to look a little bit staged; however, Beyoncé’s hand placement and overall presence in the photo has led many to wonder if she has been photoshopped in. 

Seth Rogen responds to post implying that Beyoncé was not present for ‘The Lion King’ cast photo 

One fan took to Twitter to write an amusing post concerning Beyoncé and received a like from Seth Rogen. She wrote:

“How much you wanna bet Beyonce was photoshopped in? Like no way she came in for a full cast photo and like…hung out with Seth Rogen on set.”

Twitter User

Though Seth Rogen liked the post, when asked to confirm or deny the allegations, he remained silent. Seth Rogen is a comedic actor, so he could have merely found amusement in The Lion King enthusiast’s post. However, other fans chimed in to comment, and many feel Beyoncé’s presence in the photo is out of place – as if she was a stamp placed in the center of a postcard, she belongs but doesn’t quite “fit” naturally. 

One fan responded, claiming that the actress who voices young Nala – Shahada Wright Joseph – admitted to never meeting Beyoncé. Considering Joseph is in this photo, signs continue pointing towards a photoshopped Beyoncé. Confirmation would be nice, but do we really need it? Silence tends to speak volume; we’re looking at you, Mr. Rogen.

Refinery29, in response to Beyoncé “actual” presence in the photo, claimed:

“No. No, she’s not. But all good photographers will have a cardboard cut-out of Beyoncé at the 2015 Met Gala lurking around the studio somewhere. All it needs is a digital outfit change in post-production and sign-off from the Queen herself because, obviously, she had a million other things to do that day.” 

If Beyoncé did not show up for the cast photo, was she too busy, or…?

Any diehard Beyoncé fan will come to the Queen’s defense no matter what she does; this artist boasts fans who would let her get away with murder and espionage. 

If giving Beyoncé the benefit of the doubt, it’s easy to assume that she merely had other plans or previous commitments. Not only is Beyoncé one of the busiest women in entertainment, but she also has an entire family back at home.

On the other hand, if Beyoncé simply “did not want to go,” as some fans seem to suggest, such a move would be a different story. One person commented on Twitter; it “would speak volumes as to who she is as a person.”

Beyoncé – from what we’ve been able to glean throughout her career – seems to be a very genuine and hardworking individual. While we may not know what the Queen’s MO is, it seems unlikely that she wouldn’t show up, deliberately choosing to avoid the “headache.”