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It appears that The Lion King: Mufasa will feature a framing device in which Rafiki, Timon, and Pumbaa tell Kiara about the legend of their grandfather.
The source for this information appears to be a tweet unrelated to any official spokesperson, but it seems plausible enough as a premise.
The newly updated release date for Mufasa: The Lion King, previously set for July 5, 2024, has been pushed back to December 20, 2024, largely as a result of the recently resolved SAG-AFTRA strike.
This puts the movie on a release date that coincides with Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
A brief article that gives us a bit of insight into the structure of the upcoming prequel:
As confirmed on the D23 stage, Rafiki, Timon, and Pumbaa would use flashbacks to tell the story of the monarch of Pride Rock in Mufasa: The Lion King. Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Kani, respectively, provided the voices for these characters in the 2019 motion picture The Lion King. James Earl Jones first played Mufasa in the Disney movie in 1994, and he reprised the role for the 2019 remake.
Also announced for the upcoming prequel CGI movie is a release date of 2024.
"Then there’s the small matter of a certain Disney prequel. Last summer, the studio confirmed that Harrison will voice a younger version of Scar, Mufasa’s nefarious brother, in a new Lion King film, directed by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins. The secrecy surrounding the project is so tight that he can’t yet shed any light on Jenkins’ vision for the Pride Lands, but the original, which “came out the year I was born,” was a big part of his childhood, and he’s excited to become “a Disney villain - technically a prince… I’m not a fan of heroes. They’re cool but someone else can do that. I love the villains - Maleficent, Scar, Jafar - they’re so much more fun to play. I’m kind of stoked.”
That quote is from a linked article on Kelvin Harrison, slated to play the younger Scar. But the Reddit post linked above has a lot more bits and pieces cobbled together to summarize what we know so far.
Thanks to Mark Aanerud!
EXCLUSIVE: The Lion King prequel is roaring into life. We can reveal that Waves and The Trial of the Chicago 7 star Kelvin Harrison Jr. and The Underground Railroad star Aaron Pierre are set to lead voice cast.
Production is underway on the anticipated feature, which will see Moonlight director Barry Jenkins further explore the mythology of the iconic characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.
Pierre — who recently teamed up with Jenkins on Amazon series The Underground Railroad — will play Mufasa while Harrison Jr. is playing Taka. Additional casting is in process with plenty of big names likely.
The studio is currently casting for actors to play the roles of young Scar and Mufasa. For both of these characters, the studio is looking for young actors to play the characters between the ages of 8 and 13. The younger versions of these classic characters will lead the film that is said to be a sequel that will also explore the origin of Mufasa, which this casting breakdown only confirms.
Disney is also looking to cast actors for brand new characters not shown in the previous incarnations of the various Lion King films. The characters are as follows, Adah, Horatio, Elijah, Celia, Kaliban, Cardi (no, not B.), and Zola. The grid states they are looking for a mix of American and British accents for the role, but provide no additional information on the characters.
Zimmer's return, while not unexpected (as he co-scored the 2019 film as well), is a welcome announcement; and there is more encouraging news at this Collider article discussing some of the other collaborators who are expected to join the project:
Fortunately, Jenkins has enlisted a superstar trio for the soundtrack, as Oscar winner Hans Zimmer and two-time Oscar nominees Pharrell Williams and Nicholas Britell will provide the music for Disney's upcoming movie, which will double as both a prequel and a sequel to the 2019 blockbuster.
Zimmer is no stranger to Pride Rock, having previously scored the original 1994 animated movie, as well as last year’s remake -- for which Williams produced several songs. Britell is the new addition to the team, having composed the score for Jenkins' last two movies, Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk. Britell is also working on the music for Jenkins' upcoming Amazon series The Underground Railroad.
Charlie Quigg, who forwarded these news items, also spotted confirmation that The Moving Picture Company, the effects house that created the 2019 film, is staffing up for the new project as well, all but guaranteeing that the new sequel will have the same look and feel as its predecessor.
EXCLUSIVE: The Walt Disney Studios has set Oscar winner Barry Jenkins to direct the studio’s follow-up to the 2019 blockbuster The Lion King. Jeff Nathanson, who scripted the last installment, is back in the fold and has completed an initial draft of script. Jenkins won the Oscar for scripting the Best Picture winner Moonlight and was nominated for adapting If Beale Street Could Talk (he directed both).
The film will continue with the photo-realistic technology that director Jon Favreau used in the 2019 film and 2016’s The Jungle Book. There is no release date set for The Lion King follow-up or for the production start, but it is understandably a top priority for Sean Bailey’s division after the last film grossed $1.6 billion worldwide.
They are keeping the logline under wraps, but I’m told that the story will further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story. Moving the story forward while looking back conjures memories of [i]The Godfather: Part II[i], set on the African plain with a continuation of the tradition of music that was a key part of the 1994 animated classic, the 2019 film and the blockbuster Broadway stage transfer.
The big news here seems to be that this won't be a remake of Simba's Pride, but rather (perhaps) a prequel — involving the youth of Mufasa rather than the later generations.