MUFASA: THE LION KING Prequel To 2019's Live-Action Film Announced For Release In 2024

Following 2019's blockbuster adaptation of Disney's animated classic The Lion King, Disney has now announced a prequel that will explore the origin story of Simba's father, Mufasa, and his rise to King.

Not content with simply adapting The Lion King, Disney has announced a prequel to the 2019 live-action film. Titled Mufasa: The Lion King, the upcoming movie will tell the story of Simba's father, Mufasa.

The origin story will focus on Mufasa's rise from humble beginnings to ruler of the Pridelands. While specifics remain scarce, Disney did share a brief teaser trailer. It's yet to be released, but recaps of what was shown have made their way online.

The trailer begins at Pride Rock with a voice over from Rafiki and a peek at Mufasa as a cub with "not a drop of royal blood." Soon after, we see Mufasa caught in a flood and washed away. The teaser ends with Timon and Pumbaa joking about how they aren't in the movie (obviously, they will be).

Mufasa: The Lion King will be directed by Barry Jenkins, who is best known for writing and directing the 2016 Oscar-winning film, Moonlight. The script will be written by Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the screenplay to 2019's The Lion King.

Talking about his inspiration for the film, Jenkins told the audience (via IGN):

"I had to make this movie. Because when I was 14 I was raising two nephews and there was a VHS tape that we watched about 95 times in the span of two days. I was thinking about Mufasa and how he becomes great… I am not a king, I am not a king… Mufasa is great because of the family and friends he has with him."

Unfortunately, James Earl Jones, who provided the voice of Mufasa in both the animated classic and the 2019 adaption, is not returning for the role in this prequel. Instead, Mufasa will be voiced by Aaron Pierre, who starred in Amazon's The Underground Railroad.

2019's The Lion King was a box office behemoth, grossing $543.638 domestically and $1.119 billion internationally for a worldwide total of $1.663 bilion.

Despite its box office success, not everyone was enamored by the adaptation, which was directed Jon Favreau and starred Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones. The film sits at 52% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics describing it as a "by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved." However, the consensus does acknowledge the film's visual achievements and it seems the general audience was impressed, as evidenced by the 88% audience score.

Check out the latest announcements from the D23 Expo 2022 here!

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