The lion cub named Mufasa who would be king came from more humble origins. This is his story.

Mufasa: The Lion King 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, the story introduces Mufasa as an orphaned cub, lost and alone until he meets a sympathetic lion named Taka—the heir to a royal bloodline. The chance meeting sets in motion an expansive journey of an extraordinary group of misfits searching for their destiny—their bonds will be tested as they work together to evade a threatening and deadly foe.

New and returning cast members were called on to lend their voices to the film:

  • Aaron Pierre as Mufasa
  • Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Taka, a lion prince with a bright future who accepts Mufasa into his family as a brother
  • Tiffany Boone as Sarabi
  • Kagiso Lediga as Young Rafiki
  • Preston Nyman as Zazu
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Kiros, a formidable lion with big plans for his pride
  • Thandiwe Newton as Taka’s mother, Eshe
  • Lennie James as Taka’s father, Obasi
  • Anika Noni Rose as Mufasa’s mother, Afia
  • Keith David as Mufasa’s father, Masego
  • John Kani as Rafiki
  • Seth Rogen as Pumbaa
  • Billy Eichner as Timon
  • Donald Glover as Simba
  • Introducing Blue Ivy Carter as Kiara, daughter of King Simba and Queen Nala
  • And Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala

Additional casting includes Braelyn Rankins, Theo Somolu, Folake Olowofoyeku, Joanna Jones, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, Abdul Salis and Dominique Jennings.

Mufasa: The Lion King, the new film coming to theaters Dec. 20 explores the unlikely rise of the beloved king of the Pride Lands. The film has an all-star roster of talent bringing new and fan-favorite characters to life—plus, celebrated award-winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda is writing the film’s songs produced by Mark Mancina and Miranda, with additional music and performances by Lebo M.

Said Miranda, “Elton John. Tim Rice. Hans Zimmer. Lebo M. Mark Mancina. Beyoncé, Labrinth, Ilya Salmanzadeh. Beau Black, Ford Riley, the incredible music team on ‘The Lion Guard,’ and so many musical contributors over the years. ‘The Lion King’ has an incredible musical legacy with music from some of the greatest songwriters around, and I’m humbled and proud to be a part of it. It’s been a joy working alongside Barry Jenkins to bring Mufasa’s story to life, and we can’t wait for audiences to experience this film in theaters.”

Blending live-action filmmaking techniques with photoreal computer-generated imagery, Mufasa: The Lion King is directed by Barry Jenkins, produced by Adele Romanski & Mark Ceryak, and executive produced by Peter Tobyansen.

I’m going to break with our standard teaser/trailer article format here a moment to interject a personal opinion: what could Disney possibly have been thinking? What made the Lion King work was that it was a fully animated feature film, where they could use the art of hand drawn animation to reshape reality to enhance the storyline, the characters, the scenery, and give the entire story a lyrical quality you can only get from pure art.

Going with a live action format is disingenuous at best. Every artistic advantage, every scrap of magical storytelling for which Disney is known, goes straight out the window with live action It’s a spin-off. They’re trying to leverage the love the audience had for the original 1994 film, and build on the success of their live action remake of 2019, in the mistaken belief that people just loved the live action remake for what it was and that they should make more like that. Nostalgia drove the ticket sales for the 2019 film, but nobody is going to in turn be nostalgic for that.

With the original animated film, every frame was a work of art. You could post a single frame from it, and everybody immediately knew what it was and what film it had come from. When you see stills from this new movie, what do you have? Just animal stock shots. They could be anything. Disney has a real marketing problem here.

Of course I could be radically off base, Disney could have done their homework and separated the nostalgia factor from the interest generated by the 2019 Lion King live action remake. Somehow, though, I don’t know how one could effectively do that, and I suspect Disney has lost their way on this live action remake agenda they have. It’s about making new magic, guys, not sticking old magic into the juicer to see how much it has left in it.


Gene Turnbow
Gene Turnbow

President of Krypton Media Group, Inc., radio personality and station manager of Part writer, part animator, part musician, part illustrator, part programmer, part entrepreneur – all geek.