Who Are the Characters in the New ‘The Lion King’?

The king has returned. With Disney’s The Lion King dominating box office sales, some fans are wondering what changes the company made to the original film. Who voices Simba in Disney’s The Lion King? Who are the characters in the re-imagined version of the animated movie? Learn more about them here.

The main hyenas in ‘The Lion King’ are Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi

We just can’t wait to meet these new characters. After some speculation regarding racial prejudice with the hyenas in The Lion King, Disney removed and revamped characters like Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed. Don’t worry, the hyenas are still around in this live-action adaptation, but their characterization is entirely different.

Comedian Eric Andre voices Azizi, a hyena with a disregard for personal space. Actor Keegan-Michael Key voices Kamari, another main character out of the hyenas. Actress Florence Kasumba voices the leader of the hyenas, Shenzi. Her character even has beef with Nala, portrayed by singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

Beyonce attends the Lion King premiere
Beyoncé | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

Nala, voiced by Beyoncé is more of a lead character in the re-imagined ‘The Lion King’

Can you feel our love for Beyoncé tonight? The Grammy-award winning artist returns to the silver screen as Nala in The Lion King. Well, kind of. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter voices the character and even sings songs like “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Sprit” on the original motion picture soundtrack. Previously, Beyoncé acted in movies like The Pink Panther, Dreamgirls, and Austin Powers in Goldmember.

The voice of young Nala is portrayed by Shahadi Wright Joseph, one of the youngest actresses to play young Nala in Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. You might know her as the track star from Jordan Peele’s movie Us, but she also starred in Hairspray Live as Little Inez. K. C. Undercover’s JD McCrary portrays young Simba.

Donald Glover, also known by his stage name, Childish Gambino, voices the lead role of adult Simba. Aside from The Lion King, Glover starred in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Atlanta, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and The Martian.

Other characters, like Timon, Pumbaa, and Zazu appear in the live-action adaptation of ‘The Lion King’

It’s not all about lions in this movie — other animals from the original return in their fury, photo-real version of the film. A few iconic characters include duo Timon and Pumbaa, who reappear as Simba’s closest friends in this rebooted adaptation.

Timon, the self-absorbed meerkat, initially voiced by Nathan Lane, is portrayed by comedian Billy Eichner. Pumbaa, the lovable warthog, initially voiced by Ernie Sabella, is portrayed by Seth Rogen. A few new animal friends join Timon and Pumbaa on their adventures, including Bush Baby, voiced by Chance The Rapper according to Refinery 29.

Talk show host, John Oliver, voices one of the member’s of the king’s court, a bird named Zazu. James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa, Simba’s father. Additionally, John Kani voices the wise Rafiki.

Disney’s rebooted version of The Lion King is currently playing in theaters. The Lion King soundtrack is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and other music platforms.