Elton John Replaced by New Disney Darling for ‘Lion King’ Project

in Uncategorized

Photo montage featuring Elton John on the left in a black suit with medals and dark sunglasses, and Lin-Manuel Miranda on the right in a black suit, both against a vibrant orange sunset background.

Credit: Inside the Magic

The Lion King series is perhaps one of the biggest jewels in Disney’s crown, having maintained a consistent following since 1994. With gorgeous animation, phenomenal performances, and music by the legendary Elton John, it was a perfect storm of Disney magic.

Adult Simba and Nala with Rafiki holding their baby in 'The Lion King'
Credit: Disney

Although the film has left a legacy of sequels and spinoffs in its wake, its newest entry is about to make a tremendous change. As Disney prepares to give Mufasa his origin story in a new live-action adaptation, the studio removes one of the most significant elements that made the original Lion King (1994) such a smash hit.

Related: Would Simba Have Been the Next Scar If Mufasa Survived?

This week, the official trailer for Mufasa: The Lion King (2024) dropped on YouTube and other social media platforms. While the footage shown in the video below feels like a triumphant return to the world seen in the live-action remake by Jon Favreau, it was also revealed that while members of the previous film would return, Lion King’s composer Elton John has been replaced by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Stampedes Over Elton John

The official trailer above teases a new look at the Pridelands coming this December, and it looks like Disney is taking a page or two from films like Cruella (2021) or even Maleficent (2014) by giving a familiar character an origin story to explore a side not shown in their debut movie. However, one little detail seen in the video above might give some die-hard Disney buffs pause.

Related: Disney Removes ‘The Lion King’ From Park, Closure Confirmed Days Away

“With original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda” might be a phrase that sends many into absolute hysterics, as the sensational songsmith behind Hamilton and In the Heights has won countless fans over with his contributions to Disney projects like Moana (2016), Mary Poppins Returns (2018), and the Ducktales reboot. However, can he really take the place of a musical icon and Disney Legend?

Given that The Lion King took home two Academy Awards for its music, it’s no secret that Sir Elton John was one of the film’s most significant assets. While the new movie is a prequel to the 2019 adaptation, it’s not unusual to take its music in a different direction. On the other hand, it also feels like Disney is removing one of the essential elements from something connected to The Lion King franchise.

Couldn’t Feel the Love Tonight

Elton John Farewell
Credit: Esquire

That being said, the Rocket Man retired in July of 2023. However, his distaste for the remake might also be a factor in his absence from the new film. Per VarietyJohn cited his disappointment in 2019 by stating,

“The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up. Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact…The magic and joy were lost.”

Additionally, John went on to say how the response in 2019 truly saddened his experience contributing to the film.

“I wish I’d been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around, and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect. That makes me extremely sad. I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.”

lin-manuel miranda in hamilton
Credit: Disney+

It should be stated that the film shouldn’t be doomed just because Elton John won’t be involved. Lin-Manuel Miranda has done more than enough to secure his seat at Disney’s table, and has won the studio several awards thanks to his contributions. Even so, his stylings and specific flavor have become something of a stereotype for many Disney films.

Related: How “Word of Mouth” Could Save Disney Animation

Truthfully, a proper analysis of the film won’t be possible until Mufasa hits theaters on December 20, 2024. Until then, all fans can do is look to the stars and hope the Kings of the Past will be kind to this new chapter in The Lion King story.

Are you team Elton John or team Lin-Manuel Miranda? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!

in Uncategorized

View Comments (2)