Get ready to meet a brand new Lion King.
Okay, technically it’s not exactly new; he was the first king of Disney Lions King. But the upcoming prequel to the classic animated film (and also the not-so-classic “live-action” remake from a few years ago) will focus not on young Simba, but Simba’s father, Mufasa. That’s why Disney announced today at D23 that the film is officially the title Mufasa: The Lion King.
The project has been under development for several years. Barry Jenkinsthe director of the Oscar winner Moonlight will lead the project, which is sort of an origin story for Mufasa and Scar. Disney also revealed the official logo for the project at D23:
The last we heard about the project was some casting news August 2021 for the characters of young Mufasa and Scar. Aaron Pierre, who appeared on Jenkins’ Underground Railroad, will play the young Mufasa. Kelvin Harrison Jr., recently seen in The trial against Chicago 7, will play Taka. In the book The Lion King: A Tale of Two Brothers, Taka and Mufasa are brothers and sons of another king of Pride Rock named Ahadi. Presumably this prequel will follow at least the same broad outlines of that story.
Lions King remains one of the most beloved Disney films in history. The original film grossed $1 billion and the remake grossed an additional $1.6 billion worldwide; The Broadway version debuted in 1997 and still plays eight shows a week in New York — and has reportedly grossed something like $1 billion in its history, the most of any Broadway show ever.
In the hands of another director, this would sound like a money grab to extend the life of a bank asset. But with Jenkins involved, you have to at least be curious to see what he’s going to do with it.
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