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'Mufasa: The Lion King' Gets A Teaser Trailer

2019's The Lion King is actually the highest grossing animated film of all time. But for some reason Disney insists otherwise, labelling the film as live-action. Most of the entertainment press has been happy to go along with it. That billion dollar plus box-office all but guaranteed a follow-up- and indeed a second film is due this year. Mufasa: The Lion King is directed by the acclaimed director of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins making his animation debut. The first teaser trailer has arrived online.

Rather than going the more obvious sequel route, and instead is a prequel/sequel. The framing device (which takes place after the events of Jon Faverau's film) sees Mystic Mandril Rafiki telling the story of OG Lion King Mufasa to Kiara, the cub of Simba and Nala. The story of Mufasa takes us back to his humble origins as an orphaned cub. Lost and alone until he encounters a sympathetic lion named Taka who is the heir to a royal bloodline. Their chance encounter sets them off on an adventure as they search for their destiny. Their bonds will be tested as they face a deadly foe.

The first movie had a very mixed reception. For everyone who loved it, there was someone who viewed it as a lifeless and creatively bankrupt exercise. Having Jenkins at the helm for the prequel has to intrigue would-be viewers. What attracted him to the project? We have to believe that as a much-respected filmmaker it was more than the pay-cheque.

Storywise we're in uncharted territory- we've never been told the story of young Mufasa. The first film very closely followed the 1994 Lion King, but this time we're getting a fully original story. This won't be adapting any of the original straight-to-video sequels such as The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. Whether you enjoyed the 2019 film or not, this film definitely has the potential to become more of its own thing and move out of the shadow of the original.

It also has an original soundtrack, featuring new songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Visually, this looks as stunning as the first film. The CG is fully realistic and you could be fooled into believing you were watching real lions,

The film will feature Aaron Pierre as the young Mufasa, Kelvin Harrison Jr as Taka, Tiffany Boone as Sarabi, Kagiso Lediga as Young Rafiki, Preston Nyman as Zazu, Mads Mikkelsen as Kiros, "a formidable lion with big plans for his pride", Thandiwe Newton as Taka’s mother, Eshe, Lennie James as Taka’s father, Obasi, Anika Noni Rose as Mufasa’s mother, Afia and Keith David as Mufasa’s father, Masego. Additionally, returning from the first film are John Kani, Donald Glover, BeyoncĂ©, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner. The most eyebrow-raising casting though has to be Blue Ivy Carter, daughter of BeyoncĂ© and Jay Z, making her big screen debut as Kiara.

Mufasa: The Lion King arrives is cinemas in the United States and United Kingdom on December 20, 2024.