Meet The Lion Who Would Be King In The First Mufasa: The Lion King Trailer


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a movie that makes more than $1.6 billion at the box office is probably going to get another franchise entry greenlit very, very quickly. Such is the case with the 2019 "live-action" remake of "The Lion King," which didn't leave much of a pop culture imprint, but certainly had an impact on Disney's quarterly earnings report. Thus, this year will see the release of the prequel movie "Mufasa: The Lion King," which just dropped its first trailer during "Good Morning America."

As the title suggests, "Mufasa" is the story of Simba's father becoming king of the lions, despite being born "without a drop of nobility in his blood." The film was directed by Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight," "If Beale Street Could Talk"), who joked at CinemaCon that this "eight-quadrant tentpole" is quite different from the types of films he's known for, but said that its story was "very personal" to him. Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen will reprise their roles as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively, from the 2019 movie, along with John Kani as the voice of Rafiki.

The young Mufasa will be voiced by Aaron Pierre ("Krypton"), with Kelvin Harrison Jr. ("Chevalier") voicing Scar — who, in his pre-scarred days, goes by the name Taka. The actors have the unenviable task of playing characters once voiced by James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons, but unlike the 2019 remake, "Mufasa" has an opportunity to get out from under the shadow of 1994's "The Lion King."

Mufasa is a new story in the Lion King saga

Technically the story of Mufasa and Scar's youth has been told before via tie-in novels and flashbacks in the Disney Channel animated series "The Lion Guard," which established Scar's original name. But other than that detail, it's safe to assume that "Mufasa: The Lion King" won't be beholden to the canon of those stories. Unlike "The Lion King" (2019) — whose appeal was largely "What would these scenes from 'The Lion King' look like with real lions?" — "Mufasa" can tell a new story that potentially makes the most of the CG animation, rather than simply replicating scenes originally animated in 2D.

The prequel approach is reminiscent of one of Disney's early live-action remake successes, "Maleficent," which took things one step further by flipping the story of "Sleeping Beauty" on its head and telling it from the perspective of the villain. A semi-original tale might be a harder sell than a straightforward remake, but it's also a chance for Jenkins' movie to stand on its own two feet. Or four paws.

"Mufasa: The Lion King" releases in theaters on December 20, 2024.

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