When can we expect the release of Mufasa: The Lion King?
Mufasa: The Lion King serves as the precursor to Disney's 2019 "live-action" rendition of the animated classic, The Lion King. Following the trend of recent Disney remakes, it transitions from vibrant hand-drawn animation to the stunning realism of CG animation. Despite receiving mixed reviews for closely mirroring its predecessor, critics noted a perceived absence of the original's charm and personality. Nevertheless, the film soared to financial success, surpassing $1.6 billion globally. Given this triumph, Disney's decision to venture into a prequel is hardly surprising. Slated for a July 2024 release, the cast features Aaron Pierre and Kelvin Harrison Jr., among other notable talents.
Who holds the directorial reins for Mufasa: The Lion King
Building on the triumph of Jon Favreau's 2019 live-action rendition of The Lion King, Academy Award-winning director Barry Jenkins is set to helm the Mufasa prequel. This cinematic journey delves into the untold chapters of Simba's father, offering a glimpse into Mufasa's life before ascending to the throne of Pride Rock and exploring the complex dynamics with his brother, Scar.
The return of John Kani, known for his role in Murder Mystery, as Rafiki adds a familiar touch to the live-action Lion King prequel. Director Barry Jenkins tantalizingly hints at the presence of other beloved characters from the iconic tale.
Far more than a conventional prequel, Jenkins envisions a narrative structure akin to The Godfather Part II, where parallel timelines unfold, weaving a rich tapestry of Mufasa's past and present. The Mufasa prequel promises not just a revisit but an immersive exploration of the Lion King universe, adding layers to the timeless story that captivated audiences worldwide.
Which actors form the cast of Mufasa: The Lion King?
Here is the confirmed lineup of actors and characters for Mufasa: The Lion King. It's worth noting that the movie is still in the early stages, so this might not represent the complete cast:
Aaron Pierre as Mufasa: Pierre lends his voice to the kind and noble lion prince of the African Pride Lands. In the original Lion King and its 2019 remake, Mufasa holds the title of the king of the Pride Lands and serves as the loving father to the future king, Simba. James Earl Jones previously voiced Mufasa in both versions, and fans hope Pierre will capture the powerful and resonant voice that Jones brought to the character. Notably, Pierre reunites with director Barry Jenkins after playing a recurring role in the director's Prime Video miniseries, The Underground Railroad. Additionally, he has appeared in the Superman prequel series Krypton and M. Night Shyamalan's film Old. Pierre is set to feature in the upcoming MCU film Blade, though details about his character remain undisclosed.
Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Taka (Scar): Harrison takes on the role of Taka, also known as Scar, Mufasa's cunning younger brother. In the original Lion King and its remake, Scar plots to overthrow Mufasa and Simba as the king of the Pride Lands. Harrison, known for his performances in critically acclaimed indie films like It Comes At Night, Luce, and Waves, has transitioned to high-profile projects, including The Trial of the Chicago 7, Cyrano, and Elvis. This marks a significant undertaking for Harrison, adding another notable project to his impressive repertoire.
John Kani lends his voice to Rafiki, the sagacious and eccentric baboon companion of Mufasa. In the D23 teaser for 'Mufasa: The Lion King,' Rafiki is said to be recounting Mufasa's backstory. Kani initially voiced Rafiki in the 2019 remake of The Lion King, marking this new film as a prequel. The South African actor and playwright is recognized for his portrayal of T'Chaka in MCU films Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther.
Billy Eichner breathes life into Timon, a sarcastic yet caring meerkat who forges a friendship with Simba. In the D23 teaser for 'Mufasa: The Lion King,' Timon is depicted attentively listening to Rafiki narrate Mufasa's origin. It's worth noting that Eichner previously voiced Timon in The Lion King remake. He is also renowned for his role as Craig Middlebrooks in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation and as the host of the comedic game show Billy on the Street. Additionally, Eichner co-wrote and stars in the rom-com 'Bros,' the first LGBTQ+ romantic comedy produced by a major studio.
Seth Rogen provides the voice for Pumbaa, the more childlike yet kindhearted warthog and best friend of Timon, who also forms a close bond with Simba. In the D23 teaser for 'Mufasa: The Lion King,' Pumbaa is portrayed alongside Timon, attentively absorbing Rafiki's retelling of Mufasa's origin. Similar to his co-stars, Rogen initially voiced Pumbaa in The Lion King remake. He is recognized for his appearances in not-so-family-friendly comedies such as 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin,' 'Pineapple Express,' and 'This is The End.
What Story Unfolds in Mufasa: The Lion King?
The details surrounding the narrative of Mufasa: The Lion King' remain shrouded in mystery. Initially announced in 2020, the project was described as a sequel that would seamlessly navigate between the past and present, drawing parallels to the structure of 'The Godfather Part II.' While recent publications have labeled the film as a prequel, the D23 teaser reveals Rafiki recounting Mufasa's backstory to Timon and Pumbaa, suggesting a potential narrative oscillation between past and present. This approach bears similarities to Timon and Pumbaa humorously narrating their initial meeting in the hand-drawn spinoff, 'The Lion King 1 1/2.
On the flip side, Mufasa: The Lion King' might draw inspiration from the original Lion King tie-in novel, 'The Lion King: A Tale of Two Brothers.' This novel delves into the younger versions of Mufasa and Scar. The film appears to incorporate an element from this source, considering Kelvin Harrison Jr.'s initial announcement to voice a character named Taka, aligning with the novel's portrayal of Mufasa's younger brother before his transformation into Scar. As the months unfold, more insights into the movie's plot are eagerly awaited.
Will Hans Zimmer and Elton John return to make Music for Mufasa: The Lion King?
Hans Zimmer, renowned for composing the musical score for the original Lion King and its remake, is set to collaborate on the musical score for 'Mufasa: The Lion King.' Joining him is Pharrell Williams, a highly popular music producer who previously worked with Zimmer on the remake.
On the other hand, Elton John, who contributed songs for the original Lion King and its remake, is unlikely to be involved in 'Mufasa: The Lion King.' Following the release of the remake, John expressed disappointment, stating that the creative vision for the film and its music differed, and he felt unwelcome. Despite this, director Barry Jenkins has confirmed that the movie will feature musical numbers, possibly aiming to capture the essence of John's previous work for the franchise, even without his direct involvement in the project.