Disney Announces 10 Returning Lion King Characters for 2024 Mufasa Movie

By Klein Felt Posted:
Scar from The Lion King, Mufasa from Mufasa: The Lion King, Pumbaa

In anticipation of 2024's Mufasa film, Disney confirmed 10 returning characters from the live-action Lion King film. 

Come December, Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins will deliver his take on Disney's iconic animated world, releasing the Lion King prequel centered on the rise of King Mufasa. 

The movie - while featuring characters from the beloved 1994 film - is a follow-up to Jon Favreau's 2019 The Lion King film, telling a wholly original story set in the world of the fan-favorite Disney property. 

Mufasa Movie: Every Lion King Character Who Will Appear

Coming as a part of a new synopsis for Barry Jenkins' Mufasa: The Lion King, Disney confirmed 10 characters coming back for the prequel following their appearance in The Lion King.

The press brief reveals story details about the film, telling fans they can expect to see "the unlikely rise of the beloved king of the Pride Lands" in the film.

Centered on a story being told to young lion cub Kiara about her grandfather, the film "introduces Mufasa as an orphaned cub, lost and alone until he meets a sympathetic lion named Taka—the heir to a royal bloodline:"

"Exploring the unlikely rise of the beloved king of the Pride Lands, '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."

Several returning characters from across the Lion King universe were confirmed to appear in the movie:

Mufasa - Aaron Pierre/Braelyn Rankins

Aaron Pierre and Braelyn Rankins as Mufasa in Mufasa: The Lion King

Both Aaron Pierre and Braelyn Rankins play Mufasa's titular Lion King, with Pierre voicing an older version of the character while Rankins provides the voice to the younger version. Following his death in The Lion King, this prequel will recount the rise of the once-great king of the Pride Lands. 

Taka - Kelvin Harrison Jr./Theo Somolu

Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Theo Somolu as Taka in Mufasa: The Lion King

The name Taka may not be too familiar to fans of The Lion King; however, they may know him better by his nickname Scar. Played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Theo Somolu in the film (in two different eras of the character), Taka is a member of the royal bloodline who takes in the orphaned Mufasa, only for the adopted lion cub to usurp his claim to the throne.

Sarabi - Tiffany Boone

Tiffany Boone as Sarabi in Mufasa: The Lion King

Tiffany Boone takes on the role of Sarabi, a younger version of the eventual queen of Pride Rock and the romantic interest of Mufasa. She was seen as an older lion in The Lion King, mothering the film's main character Simba, and raising him to become a king in his own right. 

Zazu - Preston Nyman

Preston Nyman as Zazu in Mufasa; The Lion King

Serving as a major character in almost every Lion King movie, Zazu the red-billed hornbill will be back in Mufasa. Played by Preston Nyman in the prequel, the upcoming film will likely recount how Mufasa came to meet the Pride Lands majordomo and one of his most trusted royal advisors. 

Rafiki - John Kani/Kagiso Lediga

John Kani and Kagiso Lediga as Rafiki in Mufasa: The Lion King

While Zazu is the logistical and bureaucratic anchor of the Pride Lands royal family, Rafiki (played by John Kani and Kagiso Lediga) is the spiritual core. The mandrill shaman will be key in the upcoming blockbuster, with Kani's version of the character telling the story of her grandfather to young Kiara and Lediga playing a young take on the character meeting Mufasa for the first time. 

Pumbaa - Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen as Pumbaa in Mufasa: The Lion King

Providing commentary to Rafiki's regaling of the rise of Mufasa will be Seth Rogen's Pumbaa. The gluttonous warthog taught Simba in The Lion King not to dwell on things with the introduction of the now-iconic mantra, "Hakuna Matata." Pumbaa befriends Simba in the first movie, becoming a close advisor to the eventual king. 

Timon - Billy Eichner

Billy Eichner as Timon in Mufasa: The Lion King

A fellow practitioner of the problem-free philosophy is the charismatic meerkat Timon. Played by Billy Eichner in the upcoming prequel, Timon becomes a close cohort of Simba's after saving him from his exile from the Pride Lands along with the warthog, Pumbaa.

Simba - Donald Glover

Donald Glover as Simba in Mufasa: The Lion King

Donald Glover returns to play a grown-up Simba in Mufasa. Now the king of the Pride Lands, Simba, and his queen Nala have a young cub together named Kiara. When their daughter comes asking questions about her grandfather, Simba turns to Rafiki to recount the tale of Mufasa as the movie's central framing device. 

Kiara - Blue Ivy Carter

Kiara from The Lion King 2

Joining the live-action Lion King universe properly - after a brief appearance at the end of the first film - is Kiara (played by Blue Ivy Carter). Kiara is the daughter of Simba and Nala, and the heir to the Pride Lands throne. The movie centers partly on her as she is told the story of her grandfather Mufasa and how her family came to rule over their African domain.

Nala - Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala in Mufasa: The Lion King

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter reprises her role from 2019's Lion King film as Nala. Nala was once a close friend of Simba's in the Pride Lands, but after he disappears following the death of Mufasa she mysteriously finds him years later living in the jungle with a meerkat and warthog. Simba and Nala eventually marry, retaking the throne, ruling over the Pride Lands, and having a daughter named Kiara.

Mufasa: The Lion King comes to theaters on December 20. 

- 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.