mufasa: the lion king simba
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“The earth will shake!” Rafiki says before the earth does exactly that in Disney’s first trailer of Mufasa: Lion King film which will be available in theaters from December 20, 2024.

mufasa: the lion king disney

Judging from the trailer, the movie looks like it’s worth the long wait. The cast includes Aaron Pierre as Mufasa, John Kani as Rafiki, Beyoncé as Nala, and Blue Ivy Carter as Nala’s daughter, Kiara.

Thandiwe Newton, Mads Mikkelsen, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and Donald Glover, among many other names credited as the cast.

The soundtrack features new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda with the iconic theme song from the original movie opening the trailer with a goosebump-raising effect.

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The story in Mufasa: The Lion King?

mufasa: the lion king simba

The film “enlists Rafiki to relay the legend of Mufasa to young lion cub Kiara, daughter of Simba and Nala, with Timon and Pumbaa lending their signature schtick. Told in flashbacks, Mufasa is introduced as an orphaned cub, lost and alone until he meets a sympathetic lion named Taka – the heir to a royal bloodline.

The meeting sets in motion an expansive journey of an extraordinary group of misfits searching for their destiny – their bonds are tested as they work together to evade a threatening and deadly foe.” And while Mufasa is the focus, we also get some backstory about his brother Scar, one of the finest of Disney’s many villains.

The film follows in the footsteps of 2019’s Lion King remake with photorealistic CGI rather than traditional animation.

The trailer opens with a pride of lions emerging from a cave atop an icy mountain, introducing a chilly new biome to the world of The Lion King. “It’s a ‘journey’ film,” Jenkins says. “We’re used to all these characters living together in this one place, and I think part of [the film’s] objective is to really show where all these people came from and how they ended up together.”

Part of that journey places Mufasa far beyond where the light shines, in lands that highlight the diversity of Africa. “I have this really off-color joke where I like to say that there are tons of people who go to high school literary programmes and read [Ernest Hemingway’s short story] The Snows of Kilimanjaro and still have no idea that it snows on the continent of Africa,” Jenkins adds.

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“It was just cool for me to have the opportunity to expand the scope of what the world of The Lion King was, and in doing so, get to experience some of these amazing environments.” Exciting new territories await.

A familiar voiceover returns in John Kane’s Rafiki, the mandrill who first lifted the newborn Simba for the animal kingdom to witness. Here, he speaks of “a lion who was born without a drop of nobility in his blood,” alluding to a young Mufasa who came into power by earning it, not from being born into it.

“I think the journey that Simba goes on is quite similar to the journey that Mufasa had to go on,” says Jenkins. “You ever meet somebody and then you meet their parents and be like, ‘Oh my God, you’ve come from the perfect family’ – so you just assume that the parents grew up in these perfect conditions?”

As Jenkins puts it, this prequel demonstrates that Mufasa’s life wasn’t as perfect as his noble nature might suggest. “Despite how great James Earl Jones is, Mufasa had to go through some things too,” the director explains. It’s not all smooth sailing for our young hero.

The Lion King would not have been the behemoth that it is if it weren’t for the incredible vocal talents of James Earl Jones. Unable to reprise his titular role for Mufasa, Jones’ “shadow is massive over this film,” as Jenkins puts it, with Aaron Pierre taking up the immense task of filling in for an icon.

Nevertheless, Jones will forever be inextricably linked with this world. “[James Earl Jones] is throughout Aaron [Pierre]’s performance, and throughout anything that has to do with The Lion King, so I think that’s where his presence lies,” says Jenkins. Joining Pierre is Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Taka, a prince who becomes a brother to Mufasa. Sounds suspiciously like a certain traitorous lion…

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