Disney Turns to Animated Sequels for Live-Action Remake Inspiration

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quotable disney movies Rafiki holds up Kiara on Pride Rock in front of Simba and Nala

Credit: Disney

Considering the success of The Lion King (2019), it should come as no surprise that Disney has more live-action adventures in the savannah lined up. What is surprising, however, is that it’s turning to its animated sequels for inspiration.

Disney recently released the synopsis for its upcoming film Mufasa: The Lion King (2024). Said to act as a prequel to the story audiences know and love, the studio has shared very little about the film until this point – but we now know what to expect from Disney’s return to Pride Rock.

Mufasa and Simba in 'The Lion King'
Credit: Disney

The Hollywood Handle recently revealed that Mufasa will follow “the rise of one of Pride Lands’ greatest kings” as “Rafiki tells Kiara – Simba and Nala’s daughter – the story of her grandfather, with some comments coming from Timon and Pumbaa.”

We may not know what exactly Mufasa’s backstory will entail (although considering Scar will also feature in the film, we’re sure it’s dramatic). However, one detail that stands out from the film’s premise is the inclusion of Kiara.

Simba, Nala, Kiara, and Kovu on Pride Rock
Credit: Disney

As the most-dedicated of Disney fans and 90s kids will know, Kiara is the name of Simba and Nala’s daughter in the direct-to-video sequelThe Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998). While Mufasa is a prequel, so obviously won’t adapt several elements of this film, it’s interesting to see that Disney is willing to borrow from one of its animated sequels. In fact, this is the first time it has done so in its live-action remake era.

The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride is often regarded as one of Disney’s better sequels. The film follows Kiara (Neve Campbell) as she falls in love with Kovu (Jason Marsden), a lion once chosen as the successor to the villainous Scar.

Kovu and Kiara get married in 'The Lion King II: Simba's Pride'
Credit: Disney

Even if we aren’t getting a live-action version of Simba’s Pride in 2024, the fact that Kiara exists in Disney’s live-action universe is a sign that it could happen in the future. If Mufasa: The Lion King performs as well as The Lion King – which made $1.656 billion at the box office – Disney has the perfect blueprint for a follow-up waiting in the wings.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Disney hopes to create an entire cinematic universe around The Lion King, à la Star Wars and Marvel. However, fans have proven reluctant to endorse the idea, with one simply stating: “The live-action Lion King movie was one of the most soulless adaptations I’ve ever seen. Please no.”

Would you like to see a live-action adaptation of The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride? Let us know in the comments!

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