The first trailer for Mufasa doesn't give much hope for this Lion King prequel

Disney has released the first trailer for Mufasa: The Lion King but it may not soothe worries on this Lion King prequel!
MUFASA: THE LION KING - © 2024 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
MUFASA: THE LION KING - © 2024 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Disney has just dropped the first teaser trailer for Mufasa: The Lion King so like it or not, the prequel to the live-action version of the animated classic is coming!

It's been almost 30 years since The Lion King transformed Disney animation. A surprise smash mega-hit, the musical adventure of young Simba rising to become king of his Pride Rock clan took off thanks to the Oscar-winning songs of Elton John and it's great humor. 

Its legacy has remained one of the strongest in Disney history with multiple theme park attractions, some direct-to-video sequels, and, of course, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical that's become one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. In 2019, it joined the ranks of Disney's live-action remakes, directed by Jon Favreau.

While the film was a huge box office success, it wasn't a critical favorite. Viewers were jarred as the photorealistic animals looked frankly strange compared to the animated original. But despite that, Disney has decided to put together a prequel film, Mufasa: The Lion King.

The story has Rafiki telling Kiara, Simba's daughter, about Mufasa's history. It will explore how Mufasa was actually an orphaned cub brought into the royal bloodline. Also, it appears Timon and Pumba are around to insert their commentary, much like The Lion King 1 and ½ movie. 

""Mufasa: The Lion King" enlists Rafiki to relay the legend of Mufasa to young lion cub Kiara, daughter of Simba and Nala, with Timon and Pumbaa lending their signature schtick. Told in flashbacks, the story introduces Mufasa as an orphaned cub, lost and alone until he meets a sympathetic lion named Taka—the heir to a royal bloodline. The chance meeting sets in motion an expansive journey of an extraordinary group of misfits searching for their destiny—their bonds will be tested as they work together to evade a threatening and deadly foe. "

The film seems to retcon some of the Lion King mythos with Mufasa's background and introduces new threats, such as Mads Mikkelsen as Kiros, "a formidable lion with big plans for his pride." Also, Blue Ivy Carter voices Kiara, a fitting role for the daughter of Jay-Z and Beyonce. Lin-Manuel Miranda will provide the songs alongside Lebo M, whose work made the original and Broadway musical successful. 

The movie was in production before Disney's movie slate was affected by the 2023 Hollywood strikes and the shake-up at Disney Studios. There have been declining returns for these live-action remakes and a prequel is an even bigger risk. While the potential is there for a Lion King prequel, having it be to the divisive 2019 version rather than the original may not win back viewers.

The movie is still set to be Disney's big holiday release, yet the trailer's emphasis on the elements that threw people off in the 2019 version may harm its overall box office. 

Mufasa: The Lion King premieres December 20.