The Lion King Prequel Director Barry Jenkins Says Film Will Have 'Really Wonderful Musical Numbers'

·2 min read

Disney The Lion King (2019)

Director Barry Jenkins is sharing new details about his upcoming Lion King film with Disney.

The Oscar winner, 42, revealed the title at the recent D23 Expo earlier this month — Mufasa: The Lion King — and offered a first look at the movie, which is set for release in 2024.

He also spoke about the soundtrack, and told Entertainment Weekly, "Please expect musical numbers. Really wonderful musical numbers, I'd say."

EW previously reported that composer Hans Zimmer will be returning to the project and will be joined by producer Pharrell Williams, who produced several songs from the 2019 movie.

Also joining them will be one of Jenkins' closest collaborators, Nicholas Britell. The American composer and pianist scored Jenkins' highly acclaimed films Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk, and both films received nominations for Best Original Score at the Academy Awards.

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Barry Jenkins
Barry Jenkins

Momodu Mansaray/WireImage Barry Jenkins

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In the interview with EW, Jenkins also said fans of The Lion King can expect to see "a ton of familiar faces" in the CGI prequel.

"It is a prequel, but again, it's a prequel in the sense that these are all the same characters, but we're telling you how they came to be who they are. So we're literally going backward. We're going back in time with many of these characters. We're in the present, as well, but we're also going back to tell who these characters were," he added.

While onstage at D23 Expo, Jenkins explained the significance of having the Disney film centered around Mufasa, and said, according to IndieWire, "It's a story about how Mufasa rose to royalty."

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"We assume he was just born into his lineage, but Mufasa was actually an orphaned cub who had to navigate the world alone," he continued. "In telling this story, we get to experience the real journey of how Mufasa found his place in the circle of life."

Jenkins was announced as the director of the film in 2020, and in a statement to Deadline at the time, said, "Helping my sister raise two young boys during the '90s, I grew up with these characters."

He added, "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."