Rewriting the Lion King so Beyonce’s Nala gets every single song

A charitable project by me.

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Last night the cast of Disney’s live action remake of The Lion King was formally announced. The all-star cast includes James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Donald Glover as Simba, and, most importantly, actual Beyoncé as Nala.

The only problem is that Nala is a small role, with minimal dialogue and even less singing. This makes me think the script could do with a little reworking. I have decided to take on that enormous burden. Presenting: The Lion King feat. Beyoncé. Hit me up, Disney. You can thank me later.

FADE IN:

Dawn. The sun rises slowly over an African plain.

CLOSE ON PRIDE ROCK

NALA, a one-hour old lion baby, sings with the sweet dulcet tones of an internationally successful 36-year-old human woman from Houston, Texas:

FROM THE DAY WE ARRIVE ON THE PLANET
AND BLINKING, STEP INTO THE SUN
THERE’S MORE TO SEE THAN CAN EVER BE SEEN
MORE TO DO, THAN CAN EVER BE DONE

ELEPHANTS, GAZELLES, A MOTHER GIRAFFE AND HER CHILD, all crowd around the baby NALA, who sings:

IT’S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
AND IT MOVES US ALL
THROUGH DESPAIR AND HOPE
THROUGH FAITH AND LOVE
TILL WE FIND OUR PLACE
ON THE PATH UNWINDING
IN THE CIRCLE
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE

In the background, a tall monkey holds up a nameless boy lion that no one gives a shit about, because it’s not even singing at all, which is pretty embarrassing really.

MUSIC OUT

FADE OUT

TITLE CREDIT: “THE LION KING”

MUFASA:
Simba, look. Everything the light touches is our Kingdom.

SIMBA:
Everything? Really?

MUFUSA:
Yes, son. That means everything you can see, except anywhere in any sort of shadow. The boundaries of our kingdom shift with every hour as the sun moves in the sky, which seems dumb, but whatever.

SIMBA: 
Wow. But, Dad, what would you say to the thousands in the animal kingdom who would say “this is Nala’s world and we’re just living in it”?

MUFASA:
... Just look at your future kingdom and pipe down son.

 

EXT. A PLAIN – ZAZU, SIMBA, AND NALA, A SHORT TIME LATER

ZAZU:
Just look at you two! Little seeds of romance blossoming in the savannah! One day you two are going to be married!

SIMBA:
Yuck!

NALA:
Ew!

ZAZU:
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s a tradition going back generations.

SIMBA:
Well when I’m king, that’ll be the first thing to go. [sings] I’M GONNA BE A MIGHTY KING, SO ENEMIES BEWARE---

NALA:
--Woah, wait. Shouldn’t we go through lion puberty before we sing this song, so our adult voice actors can take over?

SIMBA:
What? That’s ridiculous; you can’t have some sort of ageing montage purely to move the plot along.

[AGEING MONTAGE]

NALA
sings with the sweet dulcet tones of an internationally successful 36-year-old human woman from Houston, Texas:
WELL I’VE NEVER SEEN A KING OF BEASTS WITH QUITE SO LITTLE FLAIR

EVERYBODY LOOK LEFT
EVERYBODY LOOK RIGHT
EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK I’M
STANDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT

ANIMAL KINGDOM:
THE BEST BIT OF THIS FILM’S WHEN SHE SIIIIINGS

 

EST SHOT. – UNDERGROUND ANIMAL RAVE –  NIGHT.

NALA is surrounded by her adoring fans.

A GAZELLE OR SOMETHING:
Wow, Nala, it sure does suck that our undemocratic patriarchal monarchist society means that Simba, who isn’t even a triple-threat, is the unquestionable ruler of Pride Rock when everybody loves you the most.

NALA: I disagree, Rolling Stone labelled Simba a triple-threat all the way back in 2011, and his talents in music, acting, writing and directing cannot be doubted.

GAZELLE:
Oh, my God, and you’re so humble.

NALA: But it’s true that this hierarchical masculine society is a total joke, and we must destroy it – through the power of song!

NALA:
LADIES, PREPARE FOR THE CHANGE OF OUR LIFETIME
BE PREPARED FOR SENSATIONAL NEWS
A SHINING NEW ERA
IS TIPTOEING NEARER

MATRIARCHAL WISDOM,
NO MORE OF THIS KINGDOM
THROUGH CO-ORDINATION
A BRAND NEW FORMATION
RESPECTED, SALUTED,
ALL POWER DILUTED
IT SEEMS LIKE A WONDERFUL PLAN

ALL:
YES, OUR TEETH AND AMBITIONS ARE BARED
BE PREPARED!

SOME KIND OF BIRD:
Wow, that was a great song, Nala. I am now ready to crush the state.

NALA:
Great. After that I will sing a seemingly contradictory song about burying your worries with an unhealthy coping mechanism known as HAKUNA MATATA, and everyone will go along with it, even though it makes no sense, because I get to sing again.

BIRD:
Truly, I cannot wait.

EXT. JUNGLE – DAY.

NALA:
Wow, it sure is nice to walk through the glorious jungle now our period of far-reaching social and political upheaval has resolved in a harmonious unity between all creatures and genders.

A RUSTLING IN THE BUSHES. SIMBA APPEARS.

NALA:
Simba?

SIMBA:
Nala?

NALA:
Oh, my God. I haven’t seen you since I destroyed the powerful grip you and your ancestors had on absolutely all of Pride Rock – well, all the parts that were in sunlight at any given time, at least.

SIMBA:
Yes, it seems unlikely that we can have a productive romantic relationship considering all the conflict that has passed between us.

NALA:
Clearly, you are not acquainted with the healing powers of my song. Let us duet!

THEY SING “CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TONIGHT” TOGETHER, BEFORE REPRISING EVERY SINGLE SONG FROM THE MOVIE THUS FAR.

FADE TO BLACK.

THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE.

Anna Leszkiewicz is culture editor of the New Statesman.