Yeah, yeah … Beyoncé is going to voice Nala in the 2019 live action remake of The Lion King. But there are OTHER people in the cast, guys. Namely: Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones (reprising his role in the original), John Oliver, and Alfre Woodard. Oh, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa.
Yep, Timon is being played by a gay comedian again, following Nathan Lane’s turn in the 1994 animated original — a not so subtle reminder that Timon is super gay. But is Seth Rogen’s character also gay — and not just in an “occasional pansexual burst of affection” sort of way, like in the hard R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party? Or will Eichner’s Timon just end up pining after him in a groan-worthy demonstration of unrequited love, thus resigning himself to a not-very Hakuna Matata-filled lifetime of self-flagellation? And will either of them come out explicitly as gay — and not just in a “meaningful glance” sort of way, like with LeFou in the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast? Or will they just keep living together asexually while singing romantic ballads to any heterosexual lion couple that walks into the forest?
The Disney Channel just rolled out its first coming out storyline with Andi Mack, so it definitely seems time for a Disney movie to go there, too. Everyone made such a big deal about Beauty and the Beast‘s LeFou being gay, but the end result was still pretty disappointing. Outside of shooting a few longing glances at Gaston, Josh Gad’s LeFou didn’t do much to, uh … portray the gay experience. Like, we’re not asking for full-on warthog-meerkat intercourse, guys — just an occasional butterfly kiss or gentle touching of the hoof. Pls and thank you.
In any case, the casting of Billy Eichner is pretty great, considering Timon’s characteristic lapses into acerbic rage. But will Eichner be able to dial it back during those times when he’s supposed to be the super chill “It means no worries” guy? Or will he passively aggressively scream “IT MEANS NO WORRIES” after Simba asks what “Hakuna Matata” means for the fourth time in a row?