Announced at D23, The Lion King (2019) is getting a prequel, Mufasa: The Lion King
Long Live Mufasa, The Lion King
In 1994, Disney released one of its most popular and acclaimed animated features, The Lion King. It told the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa as king of the Pride Lands. Simba’s paternal uncle, Scar, devises a coup d’état to seize the throne for himself—even if it means slaying his own kin.
The vast success of The Lion King (1994) spawned a franchise, further increasing its popularity. It had a Broadway adaptation, a direct-to-video sequel, a direct-to-video interquel, two television series, and even a 2019 photorealistic remake. To this day, The Lion King (1994) remains the highest-grossing traditionally animated feature, grossing over $960 million worldwide.
The Sun Rises Once More
Mufasa: The Lion King will focus on the title character and his life growing up alongside his younger brother. Initially announced as a sequel, this will be a prequel to the 2019 photorealistic remake of the 1994 classic. Although receiving mixed reviews, the remake earned over $1.5 billion at the global box office, making it the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
Exclusive preview footage of the upcoming prequel revealed that Mufasa was an orphan who would eventually rise to monarchy. With Mufasa being the central character and having his backstory told, this film breaks the trend of giving a Disney villain their own feature where they are portrayed in a different, sometimes sympathetic, light.
The Lion King has previously touched on the two Lion brothers’ backstory, though each telling of their younger days tends to be different. A set of spin-off books written and published before the 1994 feature finished production portrayed Mufasa and Scar in a royal family, with parental favoritism of the former bringing resentment and jealousy within the latter.
Rob Minkoff, one of the directors for the 1994 version, believes that Mufasa was responsible for Scar’s namesake injury; the 2019 remake follows a similar interpretation. In The Lion Guard, Mufasa is shown to be the one who gave Scar his nickname, conflicting with the book’s depiction.
Most of the emphasis in these accounts is placed on Scar, and how he became the villain we know him as today. With Mufasa: The Lion King primarily being about the title character and his rise to monarchy as an orphan, it implies that the context of his relationship with Scar might be different as well. There was a brief controversy on the idea of Mufasa and Scar being unrelated, according to the 1994 feature’s producer Don Hahn; this has since been rectified with Minkoff reconfirming the characters as brothers.
Aaron Pierre and Kelvin Harrison Jr. are confirmed to be the younger versions of Mufasa and Scar, respectively. In the feature films, Mufasa was previously voiced by James Earl Jones, and Scar by Jeremy Irons (1994) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (2019). Barry Jenkins, having previously directed Medicine for Melancholy and Moonlight, will be directing the feature. The release date is to be announced.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you prepared for the newest entry to The Lion King franchise, Mufasa: The Lion King? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow The Illuminerdi on social media to be notified of more movie news and updates like this in the future!