D23 Expo: Mufasa: The Lion King Prequel Finally Revealed

Mufasa: The Lion King

When Barry Jenkins announced he was doing a film about Mufasa, entertainment journalists, cynics, and film aficionados were confused as to why Jenkins would work on a prequel to the Lion King. Although he has spoken fondly of genre films (especially superhero movies like Avengers: Endgame), directing mainstream stuff is different than directing films for a niche audience. However, at D23 Expo, Jenkins discussed why he chose to direct a movie about Mufasa.

“I was on stage at the Oscars with Moonlight, and I was there, and five of my best friends from college were also there. And what you’ll learn from the story is that Mufasa is who he is, is great, because of the family and the friends that he has. And so I saw myself in that. I thought: ‘This is a really beautiful story to tell.'”

In addition, Jenkins also talked about what the story would be about. “It’s a story about how Mufasa rose to royalty,” he said. “We assume he was just born into his lineage, but Mufasa was actually an orphaned cub who had to navigate the world alone. In telling this story, we get to experience the real journey of how Mufasa found his place in the circle of life.”

Finally, the Mufasa: The Lion King footage revealed that the film would be a direct prequel to Jon Favreau’s 2019 live-action adaptation of The Lion King with Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Kani returning as Timon, Pumbaa, and Rafiki, respectively. No word on whether or not Jenkins will give the animals facial expressions, but the realistic look of the 2019 flick will be the same in Jenkins’ version.

Told in flashbacks—Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa tell the story of Mufasa to a young lion cub—“Mufasa” reveals the rise of one of the greatest kings of the Pride Lands.

Mufasa: The Lion King hits theaters in 2024.

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