The Lion King Prequel Casts Young Mufasa And Young Scar

Disney's "live-action" prequel to "The Lion King" is moving steadily forward. We knew that Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight," "The Underground Railroad") was on board to direct. And we also knew that the film, a so-called live-action movie that includes realistic CGI depictions of the animal characters — would be a prequel rather than a sequel to Jon Favreau's 2019 remake of the original 1994 animated film. 

What we didn't know before today, however, was who would be voicing the younger versions of some of the well-known "Lion King" characters. There are now two actors officially attached to the project: Kelvin Harrison Jr. ("The Trial Of The Chicago 7") will play young Taka (the lion that will eventually take on the name Scar), and Aaron Pierre ("The Underground Railroad") will play a younger version of Mufasa.

The First Cast Announcements, But Not the Last

Deadline broke the news about Harrison Jr. and Pierre's casting, but said that "additional casting is in process." We know little about the storyline of the prequel other than it will give us Mufasa's origin story and "explore the mythology" of other characters. That's pretty vague, but given the fact that Jenkins decided to come on board the Disney project in part because he loved the script, that gives me confidence it will be a compelling story.

This also isn't the first time Jenkins has worked with Pierre — the two collaborated on "The Underground Railroad," where Jenkins directed and Pierre played the character, Caesar. Pierre's other credits include being a series regular on "Krypton" and the rapper "Mid-Sized Sedan" in M. Night Shyamalan's "Old."

In addition to "The Trial of the Chicago 7," Harrison Jr.'s major credits are playing Teddy Greene in the series, "Godfather of Harlem," and the movie, "The High Note." He also gave standout performances in acclaimed indie dramas "Luce" and "Waves," and is already on track to be one of today's most talented young stars. In "The Lion King" prequel, he's playing the young Scar who, before he became Scar, was named Taka. While what we know about the prequel promises Mufasa's origin story, I'm more interested in Scar's. I know nothing, but my bet is the film will spend a lot of time on the relationship between these two brothers, which I also hope will include Taka's transformation into the brother-killing Scar we meet in "The Lion King."

When we'll see this CGI "live-action" movie is still unknown. Given it looks like casting has just started and the time it takes to create live-action fake lions, it'll will likely be awhile.