Mufasa appears in the stories Friends in Need and A Tale of Two Brothers as a young adult and both are depicted very differently.
In A Tale of Two Brothers, Mufasa is a responsible and understanding individual who is ready to take on the duties of his father or mother as the ruler of Pride Rock. Ahadi breaks his promise to take the two hunting when chaos emerges at the waterhole. Mufasa is understanding but Taka is not, and plots to get back at them both.
He suggests they go hunting together while Ahadi takes care of the waterhole problem. Mufasa agrees, unknowingly walking into a trap set up by Taka himself. A younger Rafiki spends the night at Pride Rock and Mufasa tells him Taka doesn't like them much, Ahadi or Mufasa.
Later, Mufasa walks into Taka's trap, running for his life away from a water-hogging buffalo named Boma. Mufasa gets away with help from Rafiki, but Taka gets scarred, which ultimately leads to him changing his name to Scar.
Mufasa is constantly annoyed by Zazu throughout the majority of the book, but when the hornbill saves his life twice, one from fire ants and again from a water snake (as well as Sarabi), he comes to like his majordomo a lot more.
Mufasa and his mate, Sarabi, are Simba's parents. As ready to play as he is to instruct, Mufasa guides young Simba with a voice as golden as his magnificent mane. Strong, brave and wise, Mufasa is a true leader whose courage comes from a great, calm certainty about who he is and how he fits into the great Circle of Life.
That said Mufasa has something of a temper, but it is mostly a blue flame - only flaring up with fed enough to do so.
Mufasa is a large, powerful male lion with distinctive golden-brown fur shared only by Ahadi, which he passes on to his son, Simba. He was given broad shoulders and a pronounced jaw to make him seem king-like and the most powerful lion, according to his animators. He is extremely muscular and has a thick red mane, and has reddish-brown eyes. As the alpha lion, he is very powerful physically and skilled in fighting. He also has a brown nose, tan whiskers, and is a true leader amongst the pride.
In The Lion King, Mufasa is first seen during the opening Circle of Life sequence, where all the animals cometo the presentation of his son. He stands regally atop Pride Rock as its king and regards Zazu's respect with a warm smile. Soon, Rafiki appears and the two embrace before going to check with Sarabi. He nuzzles her as they watch the mandrill anoint their baby Simba and trust Rafiki with their newborn cub. The two smile at each other as Simba is presented. Later, Mufasa catches his brother who has caught Zazu in his mouth, and demands him to release the hornbill. He then confronts Scar about being absent for the presentation of Simba. Scar is disrespectful, something the King responds in hostility to. After dominating Scar, Mufasa ponders what to do with the younger lion at which Zazu suggest turning him into a throw rug. The King laughs and they take their leave.
Once Simba grows into a young, rambunctious cub, he rouses his father, and Mufasa takes his son to Pride Rock's summit to show him the kingdom. Which is everything the light touches, and all of it will be passed onto Simba when he becomes king. Simba asks about the Shadowy Place, and Mufasa warns him not to go there, since it is beyond their borders. Simba replies he though a king could do whatever he wants, and Mufasa explains there's more to being king than having his way all the time. As the father and son go for a walk on the Pride Lands, Mufasa lectures to his son about the Great Circle of Life, in which every living creature exists together in a delicate balance that the king needs to understand by respecting all the creatures from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope. Mufasa further explains that the antelope may be food for lions, but when lions die, their bodies become the grass, and essentially food for the antelope.
Zazu appears and gives Mufasa The Morning Report. Mufasa notices, Simba's attempts at pouncing, and uses the majordomo as target practice for his son. He laughs when Simba succeeds, but reports from the underground, via a mole, that hyenas have trespassed in the Pride Lands turns his carefree demeanor serious and he leaps over Simba to fix the problem. He orders Zazu to take Simba home, and forbids Simba to go with him.
When Simba,and Nala venture into the Elephant Graveyard. They encounter three hyenas,Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed. Mufasa appears in the nick of time to save the cubs, by wrestling the hyenas until they are cringing under his paw. After the hyenas run away in fear, Mufasa angerily sears at Zazu,and briefly scolds his son for deliberately disobeying him before demanding that they go home. After ordering Zazu to take Nala home, Mufasa expresses disappointment in Simba for getting himself nearly killed.
As Simba tells his father that he was attempting to show bravery, Mufasa lectures him that being brave doesn't mean looking for trouble, and that he got scared because he almost lost Simba. When Simba asks his father if they'll always be together, Mufasa tells him about The Great Kings of the Past who look down on them from the stars in the sky to give guidance, something he once learned from his father. Mufasa is last seen alive during the stampede, intentionally caused by the hyenas who are working for Scar.
Zazu reports to Mufasa about the herd being on the move, making the king think something is strange, but then, Scar reports that Simba is trapped in a stampede in the gorge. Frightened for his son's safety, Mufasa, along with Scar and Zazu, rushes to the gorge. After locating Simba—who is clinging to a weak branch—with help from Zazu, Mufasa jumps into the mess of hooves without hesitation. He gets knocked down by one of the wildebeest, but then another rams into the branch, sending Simba flying into the air. Mufasa leaps and catches Simba in mid air, but he bumps into another wildebeest, dropping Simba on impact. Mufasa quickly grabs his son and takes him to safety before a wildebeest drags him back into the chaos, but with a powerful leap
Mufasa clings to and scales the slope of the gorge only to meet Scar at its top. He begs Scar to help him, but after drinking into the helpless form of the powerful lion, Scar kills Mufasa by piercing Mufasa's paws hard with his claws causing the powerful alpha male to roar due to the pain and then letting go after taunting him with the words "long live the king".
Mufasa's dead body is found by Simba who is convinced by his father's killer that he is responsible for Mufasa's death and so must run away. When Simba is an adult, Rafiki tells him Mufasa is still alive. Eager to see his father again, Simba follows the mandrill and is disappointed to see only his reflection, but when instructed to look harder, he stares into the very eyes of his father. Mufasa's voice hovers above him, and he curiously looks up to meet his father's ghost. The ghost accuses Simba of forgetting him, something Simba vehemently denies, but the ghost counters that Simba has forgotten who he is and in turn has forgotten his father. He demands Simba go back, to which Simba asks "How can I go back? I'm not who I used to be." Mufasa reminds Simba to remember that he is Mufasa's son and one true king before disappearing into the clouds, repeating "Remember."
After Simba defeats Scar, he ascends up Pride Rock to take his rightful place as king, and as he reaches the promontory of Pride Rock, he looks up to the sky to see a patch of stars through a hole in the rain clouds, with one of them shining brightly as Mufasa's voice is heard telling his son to "Remember."
Mufasa only makes two visual appearances in Simba's Pride. First, his spirit is seen watching over Kiara's presentation with the song, "He Lives in You", attributing to him. Second, Mufasa is seen in Simba's nightmare which is a re-imagining of his own death scene. Mufasa is crying for his son's help so he won't fall into the wildebeest stampede below. However, Simba is stopped by Scar who pierces his paw with his claws while his other paw is unable to reach his father's paw. Unable to hang on any later, Mufasa falls.
In the film, he tells his old friend Rafiki through the wind about his plan to make Kiara and Kovu fall in love with each other. He is also mentioned during the exile of Kovu, where Kiara yells at Simba "You will never be Mufasa!," possibly referring to the fact, in Kiara's eyes, Mufasa may have forgiven Kovu, and seen the ambush was not his fault. Simba is taken aback and, most likely, hurt by the statement for a moment, suggesting he had been trying to live up to the "greatness" Mufasa had achieved in his time as ruler of the Pride Lands. At the end of Simba's Pride, he says to Simba, "Well done, my son. We are one."
In The Lion King 1½, Mufasa makes a few non-speaking appearances to which he is present in the original film. First, he is seen during Simba's presentation and grins when Zazu tells him how the animals are kneeling before his newborn son. Second, his roar frightens Timon and Pumbaa while he is racing with Zazu to save Simba and Nala from the hyenas. Finally, he forms as a ghost from clouds to which Timon mistakens as bad weather.
TV Show Appearances
Timon and Pumbaa
In the TV series, a lion that looked like Mufasa came out of Zazu's clock.
He is one of the guests in House of Mouse. In Ask Von Drake, he can be seen sitting alongside Simba during the Ludwig Von Drake song.
The Lion Guard
Mufasa appears in the animated series, as well as its pilot film The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar. The series centers around Simba's son, and Mufasa's grandchild, Kion, who is tasked with protecting the Pride Lands through a team known as the "Lion Guard". In the form of a spirit, Mufasa serves as a source of guidance for young Kion when he's having a crisis or needs advice for something.
After Kion demonstrated the "Roar of the Elders", Simba and Rafiki show him and Bunga the lair of the Lion Guard beneath Pride Rock. According to the paintings on the wall, during Mufasa's reign, Scar was the leader of the Lion Guard and was gifted with the roar. But Scar let the power go to his head, making him believe he'd be a worthier king than Mufasa and attempted to rally the Lion Guard to help him usurp his brother. When they refused, Scar destroyed them with the roar, but his crime caused him to lose the roar forever.
When Kion starts having doubts about leading the Lion Guard after Simba tells him that the Guard should be an all-lion group, Mufasa appears before his grandson. He counsels Kion, stating that leadership is never easy. When Kion asked why he could not use the roar on command and confided his worries about becoming corrupted like Scar. Mufasa assured him that the roar and himself will be there for him when he needs them most, before vanishing.
Mufasa later appears in the episode "The Rise of Makuu" where he encourages Kion to stand his ground when Makuu, the new leader of the crocodiles, takes over Big Springs.
In "Bunga the Wise", Mufasa appears when Kion asks for his advice with a storm threatening the Pride Lands and whether he should use the Roar to blow the clouds away. Mufasa gently reminds that the Pride Lands need the water and stated that the easy way is not always the best way.
In "Can't Wait to be Queen", as a result of Kiara becoming interim queen while her parents were away, leading to a falling out with her and Kion over her decisions, Mufasa reminded Kion that Kiara was his sister and he should always support her, even when she's wrong. This led Kion and the Lion Guard to rescue Kiara from an ambush set by Janja and the hyenas.
In "The Mbali Fields Migration", Mufasa gently encourages Kion to have confidence in himself and not rely on others opinions when the gazelles and zebras doubt Kion's leadership in bringing them to Mbali Fields.
- The Lion King Video Game
He appears as a background character.
- Kingdom of Hearts 2
Mufasa can be seen in The Pride Lands world in the Kingdom Hearts game. By the time Sora and co. get there, Mufasa has long been dead as Simba is already an adult. Much like in the original film and in the musical, Mufasa tells Simba to return to the Pride Lands and become the rightful king. James Earl Jones does not provide any new dialogue for Mufasa, but instead archives of Jones's pre-recorded lines from the movie were used.
- Mufasa was scripted to sing a song titled "To Be King" during the film's early production, but it didn't suit James Earl Jones's singing voice.
- Mufasa's mane is described as golden, even though it's obviously not. Likely, they were comparing Mufasa's "Magnificent Voice" with his "Magnificent Mane," by using the word "golden" in a non-literal sense.
- When at a Lion King Tenth Anniversary Reunion discussion panel, The Lion King directors Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers were asked about who Nala's father is. Minkoff joked that Roger was the father, but the two directors stated Mufasa or Scar could be Nala's father.
- Despite this "canon" claim, Nala and Simba would be related and neither Scar nor Mufasa acknowledge Nala as their daughter in the film.
- Mufasa's name originates from the name of the last king of the Bagada people, and means "King" in the Manazoto language.
- Interestingly, in the Proud of Simba's Pride documentary, James Earl Jones is seen recording a line, "You have let your family break apart, and in doing so, you have broken the Circle of Life" for Mufasa. According to the Simba's Pride page found on lionking.org, it is assumed this line was to be used for when "Kiara is visited by the spirit of Mufasa, who reminds Kiara of her obligation to her pride and her role in the circle of life."
- In the comedy film, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, Mufasa was spoofed as a character named Moshu-Fasa. In the film, he calls the Chosen One "Simba," to which the Chosen One replies, "I am not Simba." He looks very similar to Mufasa. There is also an Easter egg at the end poking fun at James Earl Jones himself, the voice actor of Mufasa, with the last words of Moshu-Fasa being "This is CNN." Doing a voice-over for a CNN promo was one of James Earl Jones' previous jobs.
- Mufasa's death is considered by many to be the most graphic and horrific in all of Disney history, as his dead body is shown and is killed on-screen.
Some of the vocalizations for Mufasa were recycled from that of the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
- Mufasa is based on King Hamlet from Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, on which The Lion King is based. Like King Hamlet, Mufasa is remembered as a strong, wise and just ruler and was killed by his younger brother for the sake of his throne, only to visit their son as an apparition and urge him to take back the throne. However, unlike King Hamlet, Mufasa is a kind and humorous individual who urges his son to take his inheritance for the sake of the Circle of Life, whereas King Hamlet only wanted his death to be avenged. Both also have queens whom they adore, in the case of King Hamlet, Gertrude, in the case of Mufasa, Sarabi, the difference being that Sarabi loved Mufasa whereas Gertrude loves Claudius who inspired the character of Scar.
- Mufasa makes a cameo appearance in Fantasia 2000. A figurine of him is behind his voice actor, James Earl Jones, before the "Carnival of the Animals" segment.
- Mufasa's voice actor, James Earl Jones, and Sarabi's late voice actress, Madge Sinclair, have also played African King Jaffe and Queen Aeoleon in the 1988 live-action film Coming to America, which was released six years prior to The Lion King. In both films, Jones and Sinclair's characters were not only an African King and Queen but also the parents of the protagonists of their respective films (Simba for Mufasa and Sarabi, Akeem for Jaffe and Aeoleon).
- If one looks closely when Scar slams his claws into Mufasa's paws, blood can be seen. This is the only point in the film where blood is seen.
- Sean Connery was originally considered for the role of Mufasa.
- Mufasa's character design would go on to influence the final design of Mayor Lionheart; a character from Zootopia.
- In "Never Roar Again", Mufasa understood that Scar didn't have Kion's genuine ability to love and care for others and gently reminded Kion of this fact. He also suggested that Kion seeks the one he loves so much.
- Japanese : Shinya Owada
- English : James Earl Jones (1994 – 2015/2019 Live Action Film), Gary Anthony Williams (The Lion Guard)
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