Mufasa: The Lion King Confirms Surprising Characters Returning for Prequel

Disney's Lion King prequel is set to include Timon, Rafiki, and other beloved characters.

In one of the most Madlib film combinations in recent memory, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has made a prequel to Disney's "live-action" The Lion King, focusing on the origins of Mufasa. As wild as it sounds, no part of that sentence is made up. Mufasa: The Lion King will hit theaters in December, utilizing the same CG technology as Jon Favreau's 2019 take on The Lion King. The film is set to show how Mufasa rose to become the king of the Pridelands, as well as how his relationship with Scar became so complicated.

During Disney's Thursday presentation at CinemaCon 2024 in Las Vegas, Barry Jenkins took the stage to show off the first footage from Mufasa. In addition to featuring a younger version of the titular lion, this look at the prequel film also showed off younger versions of supporting characters like Rafiki, Zazu, Timon, and Pumbaa.

While the footage hasn't been released online just yet,'s Brandon Davis was in attendance for the panel. You can check out a full description of the Mufasa CinemaCon footage below.

"The Lion King footage starts 'on the other side of the light.' 'A lion was born without a drop of nobility in his blood,' the narrator says. Mufasa is a child, ultimately being shown as a cub, trotting across the backs of hippos and growing into a bigger lion that can be a predator in the wild. Many animals flash across the screen and younger versions of familiar characters, like Timon and Pumbaa and Zazu and Rafiki. The classic Lion King musical numbers accompany it."

These classic characters will appear in Mufasa, but it's unclear how their stories will tie into the king's. Rafiki and Zazu make more sense, considering they worked for Mufasa in the original film. Timon and Pumbaa's involvement is a much bigger mystery.

Mufasa: The Lion King will feature all-new songs for the franchise, as well as some new vocal performers for the lead characters. Aaron Pierre is set to voice Mufasa, while Kelvin Harrison Jr. lends his voice to the villainous Scar. 

2019's The Lion King was a retread of the original animated film and debuted to mixed reviews from critics and fans. Nevertheless, the movie went on to make over a billion dollars at the box office.

Mufasa: The Lion King is set to hit theaters on December 20th.