In an image from Disney’s Mufasa, a lion cub, sprung in the air, faces the camera with mouth half-open with a blue sky and large tree in the background.

Disney Unleashes First Look and Casting News for Mufasa: The Lion King

By Alison Stateman

Get ready to roar: Disney has unveiled the first teaser trailer for Mufasa: The Lion King! The new film, arriving in theaters on December 20, explores the unlikely rise of the beloved king of the Pride Lands.

Also announced is an all-star roster of talent bringing new and fan-favorite characters to life—including Beyoncé Knowles-Carter who will voice Nala, and introducing her daughter Blue Ivy Carter as Kiara, daughter of King Simba and Queen Nala.

What’s more, award-winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda is penning the film’s songs, which he’ll produce alongside Mark Mancina. The soundtrack will also feature additional music and performances by Lebo M.

Said Miranda: “Elton John. Tim Rice. Hans Zimmer. Lebo M. Mark Mancina. Beyoncé, Labrinth, Ilya Salmanzadeh. Beau Black, Ford Riley, the incredible music team on The Lion Guard,” referring to the animated series from Disney Junior, “and so many musical contributors over the years. The Lion King has an incredible musical legacy with music from some of the greatest songwriters around, and I’m humbled and proud to be a part of it. It’s been a joy working alongside [director] Barry Jenkins to bring Mufasa’s story to life, and we can’t wait for audiences to experience this film in theaters.”

The official poster for Mufasa: The Lion King shows a young lion cub at the edge of a watering hole, facing the camera. Reflected in the water is the countenance of an adult male lion with the words: “Disney Mufasa The Lion King” at center, and “In Theaters December 20” below.

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.

New and returning cast include Aaron Pierre as  Mufasa; Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Taka, a lion prince with a bright future who accepts Mufasa into his family as a brother; Tiffany Boone as Sarabi; Kagiso Lediga as Young Rafiki; Preston Nyman as Zazu; Mads Mikkelsen as Kiros, a formidable lion with big plans for his pride; Thandiwe Newton as Taka’s mother, Eshe; Lennie James as Taka’s father, Obasi; Anika Noni Rose as Mufasa’s mother, Afia; Keith David as Mufasa’s father, Masego; John Kani as Rafiki; Seth Rogen as Pumbaa; Billy Eichner as Timon; and Donald Glover as Simba.

Additional casting includes Braelyn Rankins, Theo Somolu, Folake Olowofoyeku, Joanna Jones, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, Abdul Salis, and Dominique Jennings.

Blending live-action filmmaking techniques with photoreal computer-generated imagery, Mufasa: The Lion Kingis directed by Barry Jenkins, produced by Adele Romanski & Mark Ceryak, and executive produced by Peter Tobyansen.