Disney Teases Its Lion King Cinematic Universe Plans

By Klein Felt Updated:
Lion King Disney

As part of a recent interview, one Disney executive teased the potential for a Lion King cinematic universe. 

While only a middling critical success back in 2019, Jon Favreau's live-action Lion King remake proved to be a financial juggernaut for Disney, becoming the biggest box office draw of that year and the ninth highest-grossing movie of all time. 

It was such a win for the House of Mouse, that the studio was quick to greenlight a live-action followup, titled Mufasa: The Lion King from Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins

Jenkins' African epic is set to release in 2024 and will be a prequel following the reign of King Mufasa over the Pride Lands. 

Lion King Could Get the Star Wars Treatment

The Lion King live-Action

According to the president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, Sean Bailey, The Lion King could be the next franchise to get the cinematic universe treatment (à la the MCU). 

Bailey remarked in an interview with The New York Times that the live-action reinterpretation of Disney's animated classic could proliferate into "a big, epic saga," specifically pointing to "Star Wars" as an example of what the series could become.

He added, "There’s a lot of room to run if we can find the stories."

While Disney has proven it is very much in the business of these cinematic universes, never has it attempted to do something like taking a film like The Lion King and spinning it out into its own Marvel Studios-esque venture. 

The unprecedented nature of this kind of makes it hard to predict if it could work or not.

While it may seem like an odd proposal to some, The Lion King would not actually be the worst Disney IP to go in this direction. The original animated film spawned a sequel and an "in-betweenquel" (as dubbed by Timone and Pumba in the film). 

There are a lot of stories that could be explored in this world. Next year's Mufasa is a perfect example, going back in time and focusing on the father of Simba (aka the protagonist of the original film). 

The royal lineage at the center of these movies means Disney could very easily move up and down the family tree and tell interesting stories centered on the rulers of Pride Rock. 

And with Disney's seemingly greater reliance on known properties and sequels going forward (with the likes of Toy Story, Frozen, and Zootopia as examples), it would make sense the studio would want to squeeze more juice out of its other beloved IP. 

Mufasa: The Lion King comes to theaters on July 5, 2024.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.