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Mufasa Leaps Into Action In Prequel Trailer

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Whether you loved or hated Disney’s 2019 Lion King, the one thing that everyone can agree on is that its claims of being “live-action” were dubious. Photorealistic CG is still CG. It was technically an animated film, no matter how badly it wanted to pass off as something else.

But since it made infinity money for Disney, a sequel was immediately pursued. The 2D-animated (and in this reporter’s opinion, superior) original had sequels of its own: the direct-to-video Simba’s Pride and Lion King 1 1/2, which were some of the better DTV efforts thrown out there. There were also TV show spinoffs: Timon & Pumbaa and, more recently, Disney Junior’s The Lion Guard.

The 2019 movie was basically a carbon copy of the 1994 one beat for beat. But the sequel is a prequel, telling the story of Mufasa and how he rose to become king of the Pride Lands. There’s nothing here to lean on — none of the sequels or extra material ever pondered how Mufasa got to where he is. Director Barry Jenkins is going this one alone, with no safety net.

One unexpected element? Scar starts out as Mufasa’s buddy….well, actually, they were never truly enemies until Scar showed his claws during the stampede, so what does Mufasa know? Back in Mufasa’s cub days Scar’s name was Taka. That’s revealed here for the first time, and does away with the conversation I’ve always assumed Scar’s parents had:

“Let’s name him Scar.”
“Why?”
“I just figure he’ll get one someday.”

You’ll still get to see Simba and the gang again, just in limited roles: the framing device is that Rafiki is telling the story of Mufasa to the pride, a few years after the end of the first film. For those wondering, Simba has a daughter now and her name is Kiara, confirming that Simba’s Pride is canon.

Mufasa stars the voices of Aaron Pierre as the young king in training, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Taka. The cast also features the return of Donald Glover as Simba, John Kani as Rafiki, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Beyonce as Nala and Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy Carter as Kiara. The film opens in theaters December 20.

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