Mufasa: The Lion King Announced at D23

Mufasa: The Lion King has just been announced by Disney.

A prequel to the 2019 live-action adaptation of The Lion King, the next film will be directed by Barry Jenkins and tells the story of how Simba’s father, Mufasa, rose from humble beginnings to become the ruler of all the Pridelands.

“I had to do this movie,” Jenkins said. “Because when I was 14 I was raising two nephews and there was a VHS tape that we watched about 95 times in the span of two days. I was thinking about Mufasa and how big he is growing up… I’m not a king, I’m not a king… Mufasa is great because of the family and friends he has with him.”

Jenkins is perhaps best known for writing and directing the 2016 Oscar-winning film, Moonlight, starring Trevante Rhodes, Janelle Monáe and Mahershala Ali. He recently directed If Beale Street Could Talk, the 2018 romantic drama starring KiKi Layne, Stephan James and Regina King.

Alongside the announcement, a brand new trailer was shown at Disney’s D23 Expo, giving us a glimpse of what to expect from the Lion King prequel.

And it features the return of some fan favorites.

The trailer begins at Pride Rock with a voiceover by Rafiki and a melody taken from the famous Lion King soundtrack. Flying over the Pridelands, we see baby Mufasa caught in a flood and swept away… so it looks like this little orphan will be left to navigate this harsh world alone.

Unfortunately, it looks like he will without the help of our favorite meerkat and warthog.

“I don’t feel seen,” says Timon, who sounds pretty angry that he wasn’t in the movie.

Mufasa: The Lion King will debut in 2024.

Want to know what else was announced at Disney’s D23? Check out the new trailer for Hocus Pocus 2 as well as Pixar’s all-new original TV show, Win or Lose. And you can find everything else in our comprehensive Disney and Pixar Studio showcase roundup.

Ryan Leston is an entertainment reporter and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

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