Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Aaron Pierre have joined the cast of Disney‘s The Lion King prequel movie, according to Deadline. The prequel, which is set to be directed by Barry Jenkins, will focus on the origin story of the king of the Pride Lands — Mufasa, who will be voiced by Pierre.
Jenkins previously worked with Pierre on his award-nominated Amazon series The Underground Railroad. This marks the first time that Pierre has lent his voice to a project, though Disney does consider The Lion King prequel to be “live-action” in the same way that The Lion King utilized photorealistic animation technology to differentiate it from the 1994 animated film.
Harrison Jr. has been cast as Taka, who die-hard Lion King fans will recognize as the original name of the villainous Scar. With the inclusion of the name Taka, it is possible that the prequel will loosely follow the Disney children’s book A Tale of Two Brothers, which was written by Alex Simmons in 1994 as a tie-in to The Lion King.
In the children’s book, Rafiki tells Simba’s son, Kopa, a tale about Mufasa and Scar. Of course, Kopa no longer exists in The Lion King universe, but it will be interesting to see if they employ Rafiki in a similar fashion — using him to tell the story to the audience. It would also mean the return of John Kani. Rafiki’s tale is filled with fun new characters, like hyenas and cape buffalo, which would provide the perfect launchpad for whatever story they intend to tell with the prequel.
The live-action version of The Lion King was released in 2019 with a gorgeous score by Hans Zimmer. At Disney‘s Investor Day last year, it was announced that Zimmer would return for the prequel, alongside Pharrell and Nicholas Britell.
Additional castings have not been announced yet, but Deadline reported that it is likely other big names would join the cast.