Though Jon Favreau’s The Lion King may have been a visual wonder, it didn’t do anything to differentiate itself from its animated predecessor. As such it was a poor telling of an animated classic. That being said, the photo-realistic technology what characters and world visual artists can create. And now, we will get to see that all over again as the D23 Expo teased Barry Jenkins‘ Mufasa: The Lion King, a prequel that will be told in two different time frames.
It’s a story told in two different timeframes tells us the story about the titular character that we all know and love but taking us to a time when he was an orphan boy who not only would eventually be king but a father to Simba. “It’s a story about how Mufasa rose to royalty and we assumed that he was just born into his lineage but Mufasa was actually an orphan who had to navigate the world alone by himself,” Jenkins said. “And in telling the story we get to experience a real journey of how Mufasa found his place in the circle of life. It is pretty awesome.”
Sounds like the bold retelling of a story that we should have gotten in the first place. But it’s how Jenkins fell into this telling that’s the more interesting part.
“I was thinking about why he’s great and how people will become great. And it’s crazy. I am not a Lion King, but what you’ll learn from the story is that Mufasa is who he is because of the family and the friends that he has. And so I saw myself in that. I thought: ‘This is a really beautiful story to tell.’”
In the footage, we see a young Mufasa standing proud on a rock in a barren desert. Though he is not of noble blood, his journey to kinghood starts when a flashflood washes him away from his home. Hanging on for dear life on a log, Mufasa ends up in a marshland, where another lion cub — who we assume is Scar — asks what his name is. And before he could answer, the Mufasa: The Lion King title card appears.
And as a little nod, we hear Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumba (Seth Rogen) say “So wait, you’re telling the story without us?”
No word yet on when we will see Mufasa: The Lion King. But if we are already seeing footage, it can’t be that far along. Of course, we will keep you posted.