When Dr John Kani was notably missing from this week’s Lion King cast photoshoot, many South Africans were up in arms

But the actor has explained that there’s actually a logical explanation for it.

Just as South African Twitter was ready to grab the knives and pitchforks and march to Disney HQ (ala EFF marching to H&M after the ‘monkey’ saga), Dr John Kani has quickly moved to calm the waters.

His local fanbase was infuriated by what appeared to be a snub after a beautiful portrait of the upcoming Lion King cast was shared by the international and local Disney social media teams and it did not feature the South African actor who will be voicing the character of Rafiki.

It felt like a slap in the face for many South Africans who are used to receiving the short end of the stick from international counterparts but before our internet rage boiled over any further, Dr John explained why he was missing.

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In short, he was too busy to make it on the day of the shoot!

After being repeatedly quizzed about his absence from the picture, the Avengers and Black Panther star cleared the air on Wednesday when he explained, “Please understand that some of these pictures are taken while I am in production in England and could not be available.”

If there was any doubt that Dr John was receiving the A-list treatment from Disney and The Lion King teams, it was quickly wiped away when he revealed how he’s travelling these days. The veteran actor gloated about how he and his wife were whisked away from the normal passenger queues when they landed in New York City, suggesting that he was enjoying the life of a Hollywood star:

And for anybody who was still worried about the Dr’s absence from the cast photos, he more than made up for it when he attended the Lion King red carpet premiere and took pictures alongside his fellow cast members including Beyoncé, Donald Glover and several others.


And that should be the end of that particular saga.

Were you upset when you first noticed that John Kani was missing from the Lion King cast photos?