The “Live-Action” Lion King-prequel has an official title. AND, it’ll be directed by the same guy who did Moonlight!
Oscar and Emmy-winning writer and director Barry Jenkins was at D23 last night to officially announce the name of the prequel to 2019’s Long King. The prequel, depicting the rise of Mufasa as the king of Pride Rock, will be known as Mufasa: The Lion King.
D23 is a fan event where the Walt Disney Company, and its many studios, releases information and new footage from future projects. With that, an exclusive clip from Mufasa was also shown to the in-house audience.
Variety reports that the footage showed “Rafiki (John Kani) telling the story of Mufasa to young cubs, revealing that the lion was actually an orphaned cub who had to navigate the world alone until he rose to become the king of Pride Rock. As such, the film goes beyond the iconic Pride Lands to show him as a cub in a desert, where he is swept away by a flood and becomes an orphan.”
“In this place a lion was born without a drop of nobility in his blood,” Rafiki explains in the clip. “The lion who would change our lives forever.”
And who will voice the film’s main characters? Kevlin Harrison Jr. will voice a younger version of Mufasa’s brother Scar. Meanwhile, Aaron Pierre will voice the titular character. But who is Aaron Pierre? The British man is an athlete-turned-actor who initially wanted to be a sprinter. After discovering acting, he studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. The school has many notable alumni like Chiwetel Ejiofor, James D’Arcy, Ginnifer Goodwin, Ben Aldridge, John Lithgow, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kim Cattrall, and many more. Pierre then went on to do stage work in theatre before making it to the screen.
While his very handsome face won’t be in the film, this voice acting role is a big break for Aaron Pierre. Before this, the rising actor mostly worked in television for shows like Krypton and Britannia. Plus, he appeared in the critically acclaimed Amazon Prime series The Underground Railroad. Working on that show is clearly what helped Pierre get this Disney role, as Barry Jenkins directed that series and won an Emmy for it. Though, Mufasa isn’t Pierre’s only film project in the works. The actor was cast in the MCU’s 2023 film Blade earlier this year. And he’ll appear in Garth Davis’s 2023 sci-fi thriller Foe.
Things are looking up for Aaron Pierre. We can’t wait to see more from him… or of him!