When Walt Disney Studios announced that they were developing a prequel to their live-action The Lion King movie with Moonlight director Barry Jenkins at the helm, no one knew what to expect. During Disney's D23 Expo last week, the studio revealed that the prequel will be titled Mufasa: the Lion King confirming that the film will focus on a young Mufasa. They also revealed a teaser that was only shown at the Expo, which shows Mufasa as a cub and Timon and alumna seem to be narrating the story. Disney didn't announce an exact release date for the project, but revealed that the film will release some time in 2023, and now we know when exactly it will hit theaters. Mufasa: the Lion King will officially be released on July 5th, 2024.
The film will be one of the numerous live-action adaptations of the studio's animated lineup. Mufasa: The Lion King will be directed by Jenkins with a script from Jeff Nathanson. Aaron Pierre will voice Mufasa in the new movie, with Kelvin Harrison Jr. voicing the villainous Scar. Not much is known about the film but it is expected to be an origin story for Simba's father.
"I grew up with this characters, they mean so much to me," Jenkins explained in an interview this past month. "I think the work that Jeff Nathanson, the writer, did and going back into really helping children and anyone who ever loved this property understand what it takes. Kings aren't just born, they aren't just made. They have to become who they are through a series of events that a lot of people can relate to. So, in that standpoint, it fits very well with everything else I've done. So I feel no pressure, I just want to do a good job."
"My agents send me a lot of scripts. When this one came, super top secret, I was very skeptical," Jenkins told Chloe Zhao during a filmed interview in 2020. "I read the script and about 40 pages in I turned to Lulu [Wang] and I said, 'Holy s**t, this is good.' And as I kept reading, I got further away from the side of my brain that said, 'Oh, a filmmaker like you doesn't make a film like this,' and allowed myself to get to the place where these characters, this story, is amazing. What really pushed me across the line was James, my DP, said, 'You know what? There's something really interesting in this mode of filmmaking that we haven't done and that not many people have done.' That was when I went back to the powers that be and said, 'I would love to do this, but I've got to be able to do what I do.'"
As we mentioned earlier Mufasa: the Lion King is expected to debut in theaters on July 5th, 2024.
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