The Lion King 2: Mufasa's Origins & Backstory Explained

3 weeks ago

With The Lion King 2 confirmed as a prequel movie, how much is already known about Mufasa's backstory? Disney is currently busy remaking their animated classics into live-action, and 2019's The Lion King proved to be one of the most successful yet. Using cutting-edge, realistic CGI to render fan favorite characters such as Simba, Nala and Scar, The Lion King was directed by Jon Favreau and broke the $1 billion barrier at the box office, but released to mixed reviews. General consensus asserts that The Lion King failed to live up to its predecessor, but one common thread between both is the casting of James Earl Jones as Mufasa. The King of the Pride Lands and Simba's loving father, Mufasa is killed in The Lion King's infamous stampede scene, but leaves a memorable impression nonetheless.

Given the first film's success, it's no great surprise that Disney has announced a follow-up to their 2019 The Lion King remake - a prequel focusing on the younger years of Mufasa. With Barry Jenkins replacing Favreau in the director's chair, some reports have claimed that The Lion King 2 will be a split narrative - one part Mufasa-centric prequel, and one part adult Simba sequel. In either instance, The Lion King fans will be getting a lot more information on James Earl Jones' Mufasa in the forthcoming movie.

Disney's The Lion Guard TV series provides brief insight into the early years of Mufasa and his devious younger brother, Scar. As adolescent lions, Mufasa was the eldest son and heir of Pride Rock and Scar was appointed leader of the Lion Guard, protecting the animals from outside threats. Constantly fighting off enemies while Mufasa remained the beloved prince sparked Scar's jealousy, and he even took down a treasonous plot by another lion, receiving his famous eye injury in the process. When Scar returned to Pride Rock and told Mufasa of his deeds, Scar's brother merely patronized him, and this cemented Scar's villainy. In 2019's The Lion King, Mufasa is implied to be the one who caused Scar's eponymous wound, so this backstory is unlikely to remain intact. With that said, The Lion King 2 will almost certainly explore Scar's lingering resentment, and how Mufasa's youthful arrogance might've pushed his brother away.

https://i0.wp.com/storage.waploaded.com/images/6bf352434e817d00e558346bc0cbb3c6.jpgA very different account of Mufasa's backstory is given in the 1994 Disney A Tale of Two Brothers tie-in book. Here, a young Scar is already a cunning villain, constantly trying to get Mufasa into trouble or put him in harm's way. Ever the brave lion, Mufasa saves himself and Scar from a buffalo attack that the younger brother instigated, painting a more straightforward hero/villain dynamic between the pair. The book names Mufasa and Scar's father as Ahadi, who is accused of favoring his eldest son, creating tension between the two brothers.

Mufasa gives a small piece of his backstory in the original 1994 animated Lion King movie. Before showing Simba the great kings of the past within the starry sky (among other things if longstanding conspiracies are to be believed), Mufasa proudly declares "let me tell you something that my father told me." Precious little is known about Mufasa's parents, but it's clear that most of the lessons he passed down to Simba came from his own father. In The Lion King 2, it's likely that Mufasa will be playing the exuberant youngster, while his dad will be the wise ruler, offering some insight into how Mufasa grew to become the regal beast seen in The Lion King.

Mufasa's wife Sarabi will likely be a key character in The Lion King 2. In the fictional "Shakespeare meets the animal kingdom" world of The Lion King, princes are betrothed to their future mates from a young age, which means any prequel story starring Mufasa will almost certainly reveal how he met Simba's mother, and whether their connection was immediate, or whether these two lions resisted the arrangement before falling in love for real.

Between The Lion King's book and TV spinoffs, there is a strong foundation of backstory to build upon. Whether this material is canonical is debatable, however, and there are major contradictions between each telling - how Scar got his scar, for example. Consequently, The Lion King 2 will probably give its own interpretation of Mufasa's youth.

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