Forget Mufasa, The Lion King peaked with this underrated sequel

Kayla Harrington
The cast from The Lion King 2

The Lion King prequel Mufasa is set to hit theaters this year, but the franchise truly peaked with its direct-to-video sequel.

Disney recently released their first trailer for Mufasa, a prequel to 2018’s The Lion King, but the franchise truly peaked when it released The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride.

Both movies follow Simba’s young daughter, Kiara, but Simba’s Pride moves the original’s lore forward by allowing her to go on her own unique adventure rather than rehashing the past.

The Lion King famously retold the Shakespearean story of Hamlet, with The Lion King 2 following suit with Romeo & Juliet, but it’s unclear whether Mufasa will follow in these footsteps.

While growing up under her father’s watchful eye, the free-spirited Kiara ends up meeting Kovu, the adopted son of Scar, Simba’s evil uncle.

Though the Pride Landers and the Outsiders try to keep the young kids apart, they end up meeting as adults. This isn’t some chance meeting, though. It’s part of a scheme by Kovu’s mother, Zira, who wants her son to get close to Kiara in order to kill  Simba.

However, things don’t go to plan as Kovu and Kiara end up falling in love for real and Simba accepts Kovu into their pride after some warranted hesitancy. 

Simba’s Pride did a fantastic job at expanding the world of The Lion King without feeling forced or rehashing events audiences saw in the first movie.

By allowing us to see the world through the eyes of children torn apart by their parents’ dispute, we were able to see how much both sides were wrong in the end. Simba’s mistrust of Kovu just because of where he came from wasn’t fair, and Zira using Kovu as a tool to complete the goal of an evil man was also cruel and unusual.

Honestly, I wish Disney would focus on original follow-up stories like Simba’s Pride instead of reusing characters we know very well by now, and ones we know aren’t going to be around for a long time.

I’m sure Mufasa will expand The Lion King in its own ways. It’s rumored that in the new movie, he’s going to be revealed as Scar’s adoptive brother, which would have fueled Scar’s hatred shown in the original film. It could be the catalyst for Scar’s thinking that he should be king and driving him to murder his brother.

The Lion King 2, with its complex character arcs, allowed the franchise to grow organically while also delivering a ton of banger songs like the original did (I still sing “deception, disgrace” to this day).

Simba’s Pride was the perfect continuation for the Lion King franchise as it wasn’t afraid to do something unique while also keeping the spirit, joy, and music fans loved about the original.

While we can hope Mufasa will be as entertaining as the sequel, no one will ever touch the straight-to-DVD masterpiece that was Simba’s Pride.

As you wait for Mufasa, check out our guide to all the movies coming out this month.

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About The Author

Kayla is a TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's huge fan of Marvel (especially if Wanda Maximoff is involved), shows that make you laugh then cry, and any cooking show found on the Food Network. Before Dexerto, she wrote for Mashable, BuzzFeed, and The Mary Sue. You can contact her at kayla.harrington@dexerto.com