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Disney's Lion King Prequel Has Cast Its First Stars

Mufasa in The Lion King 2019 remake
(Image credit: (Disney))
(Image credit: (Disney))

Back in 2019, Disney had its most financially lucrative reimagining of an animated classic with The Lion King. Filmmaker Jon Favreau pushed the limits of the incredible photorealistic animated style he introduced in The Jungle Book to retell one of the most beloved tales from the House of Mouse. As a followup to that success, the studio is exploring the origins of Mufasa and Scar with a prequel from Barry Jenkins, and the production has just cast its lead lions.

It’s been announced that the not-yet-titled The Lion King prequel is moving right along into production, now with its first two stars put in place. Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is helming the movie with a screenplay from Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the previous ‘live-action’ Lion King movie, along with Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal and Rush Hour 2. Here’s who will voice the two key roles, per Deadline.

Who Is Playing Mufasa?

The actor who will be behind a younger Mufasa is Aaron Pierre, who recently worked with Barry Jenkins on his Amazon Prime series Underground Railroad. The actor is just getting started with his movie career in Hollywood, recently also finding a standout role in M. Night Shyamalan’s Old as Mid-Sized Sedan. The 27-year-old has also been in TV shows including Krypton and Britannica.

Pierre definitely has the right voice for Mufasa that could most certainly do James Earl Jones proud following the legendary actor bringing his voice talents back for the 2019 version. We’d imagine the movie will explore the relationship between Mufasa and Scar prior to where their characters are in The Lion King, which has Mufasa as the king of the Pridelands with Sarabi and teaching his son Simba the ropes before taking the throne himself.

Kelvin Harrison Jr and The Lion King's Scar

Who Is Playing Scar?

The role of Scar has gone to Waves star Kelvin Harrison Jr, who is also 27 years old and really started to make a name for himself in recent years. While he’s not yet a household name, you might recognize the actor if you’ve paid attention to under-the-radar hits like It Comes At Night, Monsters and Men, The High Note, Monster and The Trail of the Chicago 7; he played Fred Hampton in that last one. Harrison Jr is about to portray B.B. King in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, which will also star Tom Hanks.

In the report, Harrison Jr was said to be playing “Taka,” which is in fact the original name for Scar before he receives the markings on his eye that earns him the villainous name. We’d imagine this Lion King prequel will delve into Scar’s origins and perhaps finally shed light on why he wants to kill his brother so badly.

The Lion King will not only be set in the past, it will apparently also return to the present with an adult Simba in between sharing these origins. The movie will feature music by Hans Zimmer, who composed the iconic original music, as well as collaborated with “Happy” singer Pharrell on the remake. The prequel does not yet have a release date, but this casting signals some exciting forward motion for the movie.

Sarah El-Mahmoud

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.