‘The Lion King’ Prequel Gets Official Title
Get ready to meet a totally new Lion King.
Okay, technically it’s not totally new; he was the first king of Disney’s The Lion King. But the upcoming prequel to the classic animated film (and also the not-really-that-classic “live-action” remake of a few years ago) will focus not on the young Simba, but Simba’s father, Mufasa. Accordingly, Disney announced today at D23 that the movie is officially titled Mufasa: The Lion King.
The project has been in development for several years. Barry Jenkins, the director of the Oscar winner Moonlight will helm the project, which is sort of an origin story for Mufasa and Scar. Disney also unveiled the official logo for the project at D23:
The last we heard about the project was some casting news in August 2021 for the characters of the 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 of the 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 contours of that story.
The Lion King remains one of the most beloved Disney movies in history. The original film grossed $1 billion and the remake grossed another $1.6 billion worldwide; the Broadway version debuted in 1997 and still plays eight shows a week in New York — and has supposedly grossed something like $1 billion in its history, the most of any Broadway show ever.
In another director’s hands, this would sound like a cashgrab to extend the life of a bankable property. But with Jenkins involved, you have to at least be curious to see what he’s going to do with it.