The Lion King Prequel Director Barry Jenkins Drops Major Tease for New Movie

In 2019, Disney gave The Lion King the "live-action" treatment, as director Jon Favreau used photorealistic versions of the animal characters to make it feel like a real-life version of the animated classic. While the new take on The Lion King received mixed reviews from critics, it was an absolute monster at the box office, earning Disney more than $1 billion worldwide. Given that success, it should come as no surprise that the House of Mouse is making another one. What's strange, however, is that Moonlight Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins has signed on to direct it.

Jenkins is helming a new Lion King story that acts as a prequel to the tale we all know. It will feature younger versions of Scar and Mufasa on the way to the latter becoming king. Speaking to Variety this weekend, Jenkins offered some new details about the plot of his new Lion King prequel.

"I grew up with this characters, they mean so much to me," Jenkins explained. "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."

Aaron Pierre is set to voice Mufasa in the new movie, with Kelvin Harrison Jr. voicing Scar. As Jenkins mentioned, Jeff Nathanson wrote the film's script.

Jenkins and The Lion King may not be a pair that movie fans expected, the filmmaker fell in love with the script before deciding to take on the project.

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"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.'"

Are you looking forward to Barry Jenkins' take on The Lion King? Let us know in the comments!