Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has cast the two distinct voices of the Pride Lands for his photo-realistic The Lion King prequel. Kelvin Harrison Jr. will play the stoic and thoughtful leader Mufasa, with Aaron Pierre voicing his sly, disloyal brother Scar (whose government name is Taka).
Not too much about the prequel is known thus far, however it’s expected to focus on the brothers’ early years and their budding rivalry, tapping into a new story not yet explored in The Lion King (1994), The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, or even The Lion King 1 1/2, which tells the origin story of Timon and Pumbaa’s friendship. This is the first cast announcement for the pre-Simba era film, but it’s not unlikely that Jenkins will garner high profile names similar to those in the first film.
“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins has said of the prequel. “Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”
Pierre previously worked with Jenkins in his Emmy-nominated series The Underground Railroad, in which Pierre played runaway slave Caesar. The newcomer also starred in the Superman-based series Krypton, and was featured in M. Night Shyamalan’s newest film Old (about the beach that makes you old) as the character named Mid-Size Sedan. Harrison Jr. broke out following his role as Tyler in the Trey Edward Shults film Waves. He also appeared in The Trail Of The Chicago 7, and Monsters And Men.
Hans Zimmer (who scored the original and 2019 version) returns to write the film’s score with Pharrell and Succession’s Nicholas Britell, who composed the scores for Moonlight and The Underground Railroad. Jeff Nathanson, who scripted the last film, returns as screenwriter for the origin story.