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The live-action 'Lion King' prequel 'Mufasa' will star both Beyoncé and Blue Ivy — here's everything we know

Kirsten Acuna,Palmer Haasch   

The live-action 'Lion King' prequel 'Mufasa' will star both Beyoncé and Blue Ivy — here's everything we know
  • Disney's live-action "The Lion King" remake is getting a prequel in 2024 called "Mufasa: The Lion King."
  • The film, directed by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins, is a Mufasa origin story.

Disney's prequel to its "The Lion King" remake, "Mufasa: The Lion King," has finally gotten its first trailer — and as luck would have it, this film stars Beyoncé too.

News of a "Lion King" prequel, made in the same style as Jon Favreau's 2019 realistic reimagining, first broke in September 2020 with Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins attached to direct. Two years later, at the D23 Expo in September 2022, Disney confirmed the film's title and premise.

"Well before Simba took his place in the circle of life, another great king ruled over the Pride Lands. This is his story," Sean Bailey, then president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, told the crowd at D23 Expo in September 2022, where Business Insider was in attendance.

Here's everything we know about "Mufasa: The Lion King."

What's the plot of 'Mufasa?'

Jenkins said at D23 in 2022 that Mufasa wasn't born into royalty. The prequel to the 2019 movie, which grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide, will show how he came from a humble life to rise into power over Pride Rock.

At the conference, Jenkins described the film as an "origin story" that will shift between different timelines. He also confirmed that Rafiki, the sage mandrill, as well as Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog, will be the ones "relaying the story of Mufasa."

"Mufasa was actually an orphaned cub who had to navigate the world alone, by himself," Jenkins said of the prequel. "In telling this story, we get to experience the real journey of how Mufasa found his place in the Circle of Life. It is pretty awesome."

What happens in the trailer for 'Mufasa?'

Disney released the first teaser trailer for "Mufasa" in April 2024, showing Mufasa as an adorable cub. In the trailer, we see lots of other animals, and we also get some characteristic narration from Rafiki.

"This story begins far beyond the mountains and the shadows, on the other side of the light," Rafiki narrates in the trailer. "A lion was born without a drop of nobility in his blood. A lion who would change our lives forever."

So far, there hasn't been an explicit mention of Scar, Mufasa's duplicitous brother, whom Chiwetel Ejiofor voiced in the 2019 remake.

Who's in the 'Mufasa' cast?

Aaron Pierre will play Mufasa in the prequel after the character was previously voiced by James Earl Jones in both the original "Lion King" and the 2019 adaptation. Tiffany Boone will play Mufasa's mate, Sarabi.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. will also join the cast as Taka, who Disney describes as "a lion prince with a bright future who accepts Mufasa into his family as a brother." Mads Mikkelsen plays Kiros, "a formidable lion with big plans for his pride."

Beyoncé will lend her voice to Nala, Simba's mate, once again. This time, her daughter Blue Ivy will join the cast as Kiara, the daughter of Simba and Nala.

Others will reprise their roles from the 2019 movie: Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner will once again play Pumbaa and Timon, respectively, while Donald Glover will return as Simba and John Kani will play Rafiki.

Jenkins said he's always had a connection to 'The Lion King'

When asked in 2022 at D23 why he felt he had to make this movie, given his body of work which includes Oscar winner "Moonlight," Jenkins recounted his personal connection to 1994's "The Lion King": "When I was 14, I was helping raise two nephews and there was a VHS tape we watched maybe 95 times in a span of 20 days. So I really knew this character. I loved him."

"As I was reading this wonderful script, I was thinking about Mufasa and why he's great and how people become great," Jenkins said, adding, "What you'll learn in this story is that Mufasa is who he is, he is great, because of the family and friends he has with him, and so I saw myself in that."

What else has Disney teased about 'Mufasa?'

Jenkins debuted a teaser exclusive to Disney's D23 Expo in 2022 which showcased the young cub in peril, hanging onto a log in a body of water. The imagery instantly brought to mind Mufasa's iconic death scene in "The Lion King" where he saved his son Simba as he clung to a tree branch before being tossed from the side of a cliff by his brother, Scar.

Timon and Pumbaa, voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, were also seen at the end of the teaser footage speaking to Rafiki.

"Wait. Wait. Wait. So, just to be clear, we're not in this story?" Timon asks Rafiki.

Pumbaa added: "There's a lot of stories with all of us. Tell one of those."

"You know, I don't feel seen," Timon added to laughter from the crowd as the clip ended.

"Mufasa" will hit theaters on December 20, 2024.

Stream the "The Lion King" remake and the original animated film with a subscription to Disney+:

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