Disney Releases New Looks for “Moana 2” and “Mufasa: The Lion King”

Moana 2 movie November 2024
An older Moana in the upcoming Moana 2 animated movie (Image via The Walt Disney Company)

In case you might have missed it, Disney is getting ready to promote Moana 2 and Mufasa: The Lion King. The House of Mouse recently released fresh new looks for both projects that are currently scheduled to hit theatres near the end of this year.

Let’s begin by talking about Moana 2. For those of you who might not know, a musical series continuing the popular Moana IP was announced back in December 2020. A live-action adaptation of the 2016 Moana was also announced. However, in February 2024, Disney CEO Bob Iger shared that the series had been reworked into a theatrical sequel now retitled Moana 2.

Of course, fans were wondering if Auli‘i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson would return to reprise their roles respective roles as Moana and Maui from the first movie. And it has since been confirmed that they will.

While certain fans are excited, some are understandably worried. The way an animated sequel series has been reworked to become a movie sequel reminded me of 2003’s Atlantis: Milo’s Return. That’s why while I’m glad Cravalho and Johnson are back, I still don’t know how the overall narrative will come across and what I should expect from the quality of the animation.

According to the details that have been shared, Moana 2 will see the titular character receiving an unexpected call from her ancestors and needing to journey to the far seas of Oceania in search of people beyond the shores of Motunui. Of course, she will face a bunch of threats as she journeys into long-lost waters. Take note; the story picks up three years after the OG. So, we will be getting an older version of Moana.

I don’t know if I’m seeing things, but that sure looks like some kind of monster behind our heroine in the fresh new still that has been released by Disney.

Directed and written by David G. Derrick Jr., Moana 2 is ready to hit theaters come November 27, 2024. The first film was able to gross more than $687 million at the global box office against a reported production budget of approximately $175 million. Allegedly, the production budget for the upcoming sequel is $150 million. So, that kind of makes me feel a bit better about it. But let’s see.

And yes, as of now, the live-action remake is still happening (for some reason).

Mufasa The Lion King Disney December 2024
Mufasa: The Lion King (Image via Twitter @HollywoodHandle)

Talking about Mufasa: The Lion King, the initial first-look image released by Disney had a young Mufasa standing on Pride Rock. More images have been shared since then.

The prequel to 2019 The Lion King remake will have Rafiki telling Mufasa’s origin story to Kiara (Simba and Nala’s daughter who showed up in the animated The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride from 1998). Timon and Pumbaa will be there for commentary (reminding me of The Lion King 1.5 from 2004).

The cast includes Aaron Pierre as Mufasa, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, and John Kani as Rafiki.

Personally, I’m not that interested in getting to learn more about Mufasa. Also, it’s kind of funny that due to the remakes taking the photorealistic CGI approach, you have to clarify that the images feature Mufasa and not Simba or any other lion cub, something that’s not really necessary when talking about traditional cartoonish animation.

Anyway, having said that, I am kind of looking forward to seeing the interactions between the cub versions of Mufasa and Scar. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two used to be close and later grew apart due to jealousy or some other drama from Scar’s side.

Directed by Barry Jenkins and written by Jeff Nathanson, Mufasa: The Lion King will premiere on December 20, 2024.

The 2019 remake of the iconic animated film was able to gross more than $1.66 billion at the global box office against a reported production budget of approximately $260 million. It was directed by Jon Favreau from a screenplay by Nathanson.

Feel free to share your thoughts about Moana 2 and the prequel to The Lion King.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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