Jon Favreau wanted James Earl Jones to reprise his role as Mufasa for the The Lion King remake to "carry on the legacy".
The director recruited an all-star cast of actors for his upcoming live-action version of the Disney classic, including Donald Glover, Beyonce and Seth Rogen.
Jones was the voice of Mufasa in the 1994 animated movie, and Favreau was in no doubt that he wanted the 88-year-old onboard his remake in an effort to connect the two movies, despite being released 25 years apart.
"I see it as carrying the legacy across. Just hearing him say the lines is really moving and surreal," he told Empire magazine.
While Glover has replaced Matthew Broderick as the grown-up Simba in the new movie, and Nathan Lane has been substituted for Billy Eichner as the charismatic meerkat Timon, it would've been difficult for Favreau to find another actor to voice Mufasa.
However, he was quick to explain that Jones' voice won't be exactly the same this time around.
"The timbre of his voice has changed. That served the role well because he sounds like a king who's ruled for a long time," the Iron Man star and director shared.
He previously revealed that most of the Mufasa's dialogue - and the iconic songs from the 1994 animated classic - haven't been changed for the new film.
"I want to highlight, really, what's in there from the original," Favreau told multiple outlets. "It's the whole circle of life and bad things happen, good things happen. Not every scene in the movie is fun to watch... There's tragedy in it, but ultimately what I like about it is that somehow, after that whole experience, you walk away feeling inspired and hopeful. Which is how I like my stories."