In June 1994, Walt Disney Pictures released what would become the biggest movie of the year and one of the most beloved animated releases of all time with THE LION KING. The movie told the story of Simba as he goes from heir-apparent to outcast and eventually to rightful ruler of the Pride Lands. At the same time, the box office smash hit also introduced audiences to Mufasa, Simba’s powerful and wise father who continued to teach his son lessons from beyond the grave.
Although the character suffered a tragic death in the 1994 classic, and then again in Jon Favreau’s 2019 CGI remake of THE LION KING, the iconic character will return to the big screen once again when MUFASA: THE LION KING roars into theatres in the summer of 2024. Here is your AMC Theatres guide to the upcoming Disney animated feature film…
Roaring Into Theatres July 5, 2024
The next two years are going to be busy for Disney, as nearly a dozen feature film releases, both live-action and animated, from the legendary company will fill the screens of AMC Theatres nationwide. One of the most highly-anticipated releases is MUFASA: THE LION KING which will roar into theatres July 5, 2024. Talk about an exciting way to spend the long Fourth of July weekend in a packed movie house with hundreds of other LION KING fans.
A Lion King Origin Story
When MUFASA: THE LION KING roars into theatres in July 2024, it won’t be a continuation of the franchise told through the eyes of Simba, but instead an origin story exploring how Mufasa became the king of his domain. During Disney’s D23 event in September 2022, Barry Jenkins revealed (via The Hollywood Reporter) that the movie will follow the rise of Mufasa from a young cub to the ruler of the Pride Lands:
“Mufasa was actually an orphaned cub who had to navigate the world alone by himself, and in telling this story, we get to experience that real journey of how Mufasa found his place in the circle of life.”
The movie is also set to feature younger versions of Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, and Scar, who will be going by his original name, Taka.
Aaron Pierre Leads As Mufasa
Fans of THE LION KING, both the original and remake, are used to hearing James Earl Jones’ booming and powerful voice whenever Mufasa is on screen, but the character will be played by a different actor this time around. In August 2021, Deadline reported that Aaron Pierre will be taking over voice-acting duties for the titular character in MUFASA: THE LION KING as the film explores his rise to the top of the Pride Lands. Pierre previously appeared in movies like OLD and shows like “Krypton” and “The Underground Railroad.” He is also set to appear in the long-awaited BLADE movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
At the same time, it was reported that Kelvin Harrison Jr would be taking on the role of Taka, aka Scar, the character previously voiced by Jeremy Irons in 1994’s THE LION KING, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the 2019 remake. Harrison’s previous acting credits include ELVIS, THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, WAVES, and IT COMES AT NIGHT. Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, and John Kani are also set to reprise their roles of Timon, Pumbaa, and Rafiki, respectively.
Barry Jenkins Directs Mufasa: The Lion King
The 1994 version of THE LION KING was directed by the team of Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff while Jon Favreau handled the 2019 “live-action” remake. This time around, Barry Jenkins, the filmmaker behind movies like MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, MOONLIGHT and IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, will be the one sitting in the director’s chair for MUFASA: THE LION KING.
This was first reported by Deadline in September 2020, when the project was still in its infancy and details were few and far between. At the time, all that was known about the project was that it would explore the mythology of the characters with a specific focus being put on Mufasa’s origin story. In a statement announcing his involvement, Jenkins had this to say of the opportunity:
“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ‘90s, I grew up with these characters. Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”
Going off Jenkins’ previous directorial efforts, which also includes the 10-episode series “The Underground Railroad,” the Academy Award® winner will surely take the franchise to new and exciting places come July 2024.
The Lion King’s Jeff Nathanson Wrote The Script
When it comes to the MUFASA: THE LION KING screenplay, it will be handled by someone very familiar with the franchise. Back when the project was first officially announced in September 2022, Variety revealed that Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the 2019 version of THE LION KING, was once again tasked with penning the prequel’s script. Throughout his career, Nathanson has worked with Steven Spielberg on movies like CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and THE TERMINAL, while also writing scripts for multiple Brett Ratner movies like the second and third RUSH HOUR movies, NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU, and TOWER HEIST.
MUFASA: THE LION KING is set to open in AMC Theatres nationwide on July 5, 2024. In the meantime, there are a number of other exciting upcoming Disney movies on the way.