2. Lupita Nyong’o voices Raksha, who cares for Mowgli like her own cub.
“She is the protector, the eternal mother,” Nyong’o said in a Disney press release. “The word ‘Raksha’ actually means protection in Hindi. I felt really connected to that, wanting to protect a son that isn’t originally hers but one she’s taken for her own.”
3. Giancarlo Esposito voices Akela, the alpha-male wolf who accepts Mowgli but also fears he’ll endanger the pack.
“Akela is a fierce patriarch of the wolf pack,” said Esposito. “He believes the strength of the pack lies in what each and every wolf offers. He’s a great leader, a wise teacher.”
4. Idris Elba voices Shere Khan, who was wronged by mankind and thinks Mowgli must be destroyed for the good of the jungle.
“Shere Khan reigns with fear,” said Elba. “He terrorizes everyone he encounters because he comes from a place of fear.”
5. Sir Ben Kingsley voices Bagheera, Mowgli’s teacher and protector.
“Bagheera is Mowgli’s adoptive parent,” said Kingsley. “His role in Mowgli’s life is to educate, to protect and to guide. My Bagheera was military — he’s probably a colonel. He is instantly recognizable by the way he talks, how he acts and what his ethical code is.”
6. Scarlett Johansson voices the treacherous, hypnotic python Kaa.
“Kaa seduces and entraps Mowgli with her storytelling,” Johansson said. “She’s the mirror into Mowgli’s past. The way she moves is very alluring, almost coquettish.”
7. And Christopher Walken voices King Louie, the ape desperate to learn the secret of how to make fire.
“King Louie is huge — 12 feet tall,” Walken said. “But he’s as charming as he is intimidating when he wants to be.”
8. But where are Bill Murray and Baloo?!
9. Guess we won’t see them until The Jungle Book opens in theaters April 15.
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