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James Earl Jones returns as Mufasa in the photorealistic remake of "The Lion King."

SALT LAKE CITY — Even though most of “The Lion King’s” cast has changed in the upcoming photoreal remake, one role from the animated film remains: James Earl Jones as Mufasa.

In an interview with Empire, director Jon Favreau said bringing back Jones as the elder Lion King helps carry the original film’s legacy. The director also noted that Jones, who has also voiced Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” movies, has actually grown into the role over the last two decades.

“Just hearing him say the lines is really moving and surreal,” Favreau said.

“The timbre of his voice has changed,” Favreau notes. “That served the role well because he sounds like a king who’s ruled for a long time.”

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Jones can be heard for a few seconds in the film’s first official trailer, which was released on YouTube on April 10. In the trailer, Mufasa can be heard delivering a modified version of his iconic “Circle of Life” monologue.

According to Harper’s Bazaar, other cast members in the film include Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles as Nala and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. “The Lion King” releases in theaters on July 19 and is expected to do well — People reports the film is projected to debut to $180-$200 million at the box office.