What to know about Mufasa: The Lion King as first trailer released

Disney’s live-action reboot gets the prequel treatment

Mufasa in Mufasa: The Lion King
The story of Mufasa will be explored in the prequel to The Lion King. (Disney)

Disney invites you to revisit its photo-realistic digital savannah one more time for Mufasa: The Lion King, a prequel story to director Jon Favreau’s 2019 live-action retooling of the studio’s 1994 animated classic.

As Head Honcho of Pride Rock and father to his reluctant future heir Simba, Mufasa ruled over the beasts of his land with a fair yet feared reign — but how did he arrive at this place of power? Using the latest computer-animated technology, Disney hopes to fill in the blanks of Mufasa’s youth, showing us the previously-unseen story of the cub who would be king.

Eager to find out more? Read on for all the key details surrounding Mufasa: The Lion King.

Rafiki and Mufasa in Mufasa: The Lion King
Rafiki and Mufasa in the Lion King prequel. (Disney)

Mufasa: The Lion King is due for release on Friday, 20 December, and will later be available to stream on Disney+. It was previously scheduled to hit cinemas on Friday, 5 July, but was delayed due to the Hollywood strikes.

The prequel will be directed by Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins, with composer Hans Zimmer returning to score the film. Hamilton and Moana’s Lin-Manuel Miranda is writing the film’s songs, Lebo M providing additional music and performances.

Yes. The first trailer for Mufasa: The Lion King was released in April 2024. It reveals more of the film's plot and confirmed the involvement of Lin-Manuel Miranda on songwriting duties, and Beyonce and her daughter Blue Ivy as Nala and Kiara respectively.

Watch it below.

Beyoncé and Blue Ivy Carter behind the scenes at The 66th Annual Grammy Awards
Beyoncé and daughter Blue Ivy Carter are part of the prequel cast. (CBS via Getty)

Several of the stars of Favreau’s 2019 live-action reboot of The Lion King are back for the prequel. Leading the way are Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa respectively.

Black Panther star John Kani will once again provide the voice of mystic baboon Rafiki.

English stage actor Aaron Pierre will voice a young Mufasa — taking over from legendary actor James Earl Jones, who played the character in Disney’s animated original and Favreau’s remake.

Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy Carter will make her acting debut as Kiara, daughter of King Simba and Queen Nala.

Elvis actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. will inherit the role of Simba’s evil younger brother Scar, while Fantastic Beats star Mads Mikkelsen will play Kiros, a formidable lion with big plans for his pride

Other new additions to the star-studded cast include Keith David as Mufasa’s father Masego, and Thandiwe Newton as Scar’s mother Eshe.

Also joining the voice cast are Tiffany Boone, Kagiso Lediga, Preston Nyman, Lennie James and Anika Noni Rose.

A young Mufasa leaps through the air in a scene from Mufasa: The Lion King
A young Mufasa leaps through the air. (Disney)

Like any good prequel, Mufasa: The Lion King promises to shed new light on the untold story of how a beloved and heroic character came to be.

To do this, Jenkins will bring us back to a time when Mufasa and Scar were young siblings, chronicling the events that helped to forge the characters they ultimately become.

As per the film’s synopsis, this may be told via Godfather Part II style flashbacks involving Mufasa’s son and current king of Pride Rock.

It reads: “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.”

As revealed in footage shared at D23 in 2022, the film will reveal that Mufasa was an orphaned cub and contain stories about his life shared by Timon and Pumba.

Mufasa: The Lion King will be released in cinemas on Friday, 20 December