Get to know The Jungle Book characters before the new movie hits theaters next month!
On April 15, it’s time to forget about your worries and your strife, as Disney’s The Jungle Book gets a brand new remake, courtesy of director Jon Favreau. While this live-action film is primarily based upon Disney’s 1967 animated Jungle Book movie, Favreau also incorporated more elements from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book into his take.
But everything you loved about the classic Jungle Book is in this movie, even King Louie, who was invented for the Disney film. While previous live-action Jungle Book adaptations had to deal with the limitations of real animals and puppetry, Favreau’s film is using a blend of live-action, CGI animation, and motion capture to bring the movie to life.
For the benefit of anyone who is seeing The Jungle Book for the first time… or for the first time in years, ComingSoon.net has put together a concise rundown of the major characters of the film. Only the bare necessities are here!
The Jungle Book Characters Guide: Mowgli
Newcomer Neel Sethi is breaking into Hollywood in a big way as Mowgli, the human child who was raised in the jungle by wolves. Mowgli is so thoroughly unrestrained that he’s completely at home in the wild and he has no desire to be reunited with other humans. Although Mowgli lacks the physical gifts of his adoptive wolf family, he has adapted remarkably well to his circumstances.
The Jungle Book Characters Guide: Baloo
The Jungle Book really hit the casting of Baloo out of the park. Bill Murray is providing Baloo’s voice as the brown jungle bear who educates Mowgli about the law of the jungle and the less serious side of life. Despite Baloo’s apparent laziness, he truly cares for Mowgli and he’s willing to risk his life to protect him.
In Kipling’s novel, Baloo was a more serious character, but the Disney version is informing his portrayal in this movie.
The Jungle Book Characters Guide: Bagheera
Sir Ben Kingsley provides the voice of the great black panther, Bagheera; who personally takes it upon himself to act as Mowgli’s protector. In the backstory of the original Jungle Book, Bagheera was once in captivity, which accounted for his insight into the hearts of men. Bagheera also helped the wolfpack raise Mowgli.
In his newest incarnation, Bagheera feels very fatherly towards Mowgli, and he treats him like a son.
The Jungle Book Characters Guide: Shere Khan
The fearsome Shere Khan hates all men, and he has transferred that hatred to Mowgli, whom he has also vowed to kill. It’s because of Shere Khan’s very real threat to Mowgli’s life that Bagheera and Baloo attempt to stay with the man cub at all times until he can be escorted out of the jungle.
Idris Elba is providing Shere Khan’s voice in this film, and he’s definitely got the tiger’s ferocity down.
The Jungle Book Characters Guide: Kaa
Scarlett Johansson is voicing a female version of the serpent Kaa in the new Jungle Book. In the original stories, Kaa was a male, and one of Mowgli’s mentors and allies. In the first Disney film, Kaa was reimagined as a comic relief villain who mesmerized Mowgli and tried to eat him. Apparently, that characterization will be used in this film as well.
The Jungle Book Characters Guide: King Louie
King Louie was created for Disney’s The Jungle Book, and thus had no counterpart in the original story. As conceived by the Disney creative team, King Louie was obsessed with being more like a man… and he particularly wanted to control fire just like a man.
For the new live-action film, King Louie has been reimagined as a Gigantopithecus (an extinct giant ape) as is voiced by Christopher Walken.
The Jungle Book Characters Guide: Raksha & Akela
In the original stories, Raksha and Akela were the wolf mother and father of Mowgli, who brought him up with the aid of Bagheera. Lupita Nyong’o is voicing Raksha, while Giancarlo Esposito is portraying Akela.
Neither Raksha nor Akela have been featured prominently in The Jungle Book trailers, which may indicate that their roles in the film may not be very big.