- “Simba, being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble.”
Mufasa, also known as King Mufasa, is one of the tritagonists in the 1994 animated feature film the Lion King. He is Simba's father, Sarabi's husband, and Scar's older brother. He is also the grandfather of Kiara and Kopa and the father-in-law of Nala. He is voiced by James Earl Jones, the same voice actor who voiced Darth Vader from the Star Wars saga.
Mufasa was the first son and heir of King Ahadi and Queen Uru, as evidenced in a set of prequel books released after the success of The Lion King.
In a Tale of 2 Brothers, Scar (then known as Taka) tried to make a fool out of Mufasa when he was young (see more at Scar's Backstory). The storybook Friends in Need reveals how he met Zazu, his trusted hornbill "majordomo": he saved the bird when he was caught by none other than the three hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed in the elephant graveyard. However, this conflicts with another book How True, Zazu?, in which Zazu becomes steward to the king after Zazu's mother, Zuzu, retires.
Being a king, Mufasa was very wise and powerful. He was beloved by all inhabitants of the Pride Lands, with the exception of Scar and his followers. Aside from being a great ruler, Mufasa was also a loving husband and father. He is shown to have a large sense of humor; he told Simba to pounce Zazu, and he and Simba played (underneath the stars).
A huge, powerful male lion, Mufasa was the King of the Pride Lands at the start of the The Lion King, father of Simba, and mate of Sarabi. He is shown to be a wise and fair ruler, who follows the "Circle of Life". However, his brother Scar is jealous of Mufasa's position as king and forms a plan to kill Mufasa and Simba, who is Mufasa's heir, so he can be king. Mufasa is ultimately portrayed as an "ideal king"; strong, powerful, and kind-hearted, which is contrasted to the deceitfulness and lust for power of Scar.
Later, Mufasa takes Simba through the kingdom, teaching Simba about the responsibilities that Simba will have as King. He notes that everything they see is part of the kingdom, with the exception of the Elephant Graveyard, which Mufasa strictly forbids Simba from going to. However, during their talk, Mufasa is called away to deal with hyenas in the Pride Lands.
Meanwhile, Simba travels to the Elephant Graveyard, after being manipulated by Scar, not knowing it's a plot by Scar to kill him. Scar's first attempt to kill Simba through the hyenas is foiled when Mufasa, who was summoned by Zazu, rescues him. Afterwards, Mufasa scolds his son for disobeying him, But then forgives and forgets. He then takes time to teach Simba about the Great Kings the of the Past, who will guide him. Meanwhile, Scar, angered by the failure of his plot, makes a plan to kill both Simba and Mufasa with the help of the hyenas.
Mufasa is seen the next day, as Zazu points out to him a migration of a wildebeest herd that is said to be unusual. Scar appears and reveals that Simba is trapped in a gorge with the wildebeest, and Mufasa rushes to rescue Simba, not knowing it's part of Scar's plot. Mufasa successfully saves Simba, but struggles to climb up a cliff to safety. Mufasa spots Scar nearby and begs his brother to help him. Scar, waiting for him at the top, pierces Mufasa's paws with his claws, he leans in and whispers "Long live the King!" then flung his brother off the cliff. Mufasa falls back into the gorge and gets trampled to death. Simba is manipulated by Scar into believing that he caused Mufasa's death, and runs away from the Pride Lands.
Several years later, Mufasa appears as a ghost. Rafiki, having discovered Simba's survival, finds Simba in an attempt to convince the now adult lion to return to the Pride Lands. Rafiki takes Simba to a small, magical pool which brings upon Mufasa's ghost, up in the sky. Mufasa tells Simba that as his son and rightful heir, Simba must remember who he is and return to the Pride Lands. This encourages Simba to return to his homeland, where he defeats Scar and takes his rightful place as king. In the final scene of the film, Mufasa (again in the clouds) says, "Remember" as Simba stands triumphantly on Pride Rock to claim the throne.
Mufasa has a few brief appearances like a spirit in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. He's also alluded to throughout the film, as many of Simba's actions through the film revolve around trying to live up to Mufasa's legacy.
Mufasa first appears as an image in the sky again overlooking the presentation ceremony of his granddaughter Kiara.
He later makes an indirect appearance, communicating with Rafiki. He inspires Rafiki to bring the Outsiders and Pridelanders back together through Kiara and Kovu, an Outsider who is Scar's chosen heir, by having them fall in love with each other.
His next appearance is in Simba's nightmare, where he is seen again clinging to the cliff right before his death. Simba tries to save him but is stopped by Scar, who morphs into Kovu.
Once this plan has been achieved, he congratulates Simba as he, Nala, Kovu, and Kiara stand on Pride Rock ("Well done, my son. We are one"!).
In the 2004 direct-to-video interquel The Lion King 1½, Mufasa is seen in three scenes: At the presentation of Simba, in the Elephant's graveyard on the way to save his son and Nala from the hyenas, and when his ghost is forming from the clouds above the grasslands at night. Unlike the first two films, he doesn't speak any lines, instead, he just roars.
In the TV series, a lion that looked like Mufasa came out of Zazu's clock.
Mufasa's role is somewhat expanded in the musical based on the movie. He sings They Live in You (He Lives in You with the lyrics slightly changed) to young Simba in the scene when the two of them are looking up at the stars and discussing the Great Kings of the Past.
There is also an added scene in which Mufasa tells Zazu of his concerns about Simba's daring behavior. Zazu then reminds Mufasa of his early years as a rambunctious cub.
The role of Mufasa on Broadway was originated by Tony award nominee Samuel E. Wright in 1997 and Cornell John in the original London cast.
A prototype sculpt of his headdress/mask was donated to the collection of the Puppetry Center for the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia alongside the mask for Scar, taking prominent display upon their initial appearance.
When Simba was a small cub, Mufasa came to Wildebeest Gorge to save him from being crushed by stampeding wildebeests. Although he saved Simba, he had to climb a cliff to exit the gorge. When he got to the top, he was tossed off the cliff by his own brother, Scar, and crushed by the stampede down below. After his death, Scar convinced Simba that it was his fault (Simba's) that Mufasa had died, and encouraged him to run away and never return. Scar then told the other lions that both Mufasa and Simba had died in the stampede, allowing him to take control of the Pride Lands as its new king.
Later, Mufasa appeared to Simba as a spirit to enlighten Simba's courage to take his role as the Pride Land's true king by usurping Scar's leadership. It is his spirit (in the form of a star) that gives Sora access to a new pathway.
At the Disney theme parks, Mufasa was also one of the main characters in "The Legend of the Lion King, a former Fantasyland attraction in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, which retold the story of the film using fully-articulated puppets. His face can also be seen in the Hong Kong Disneyland version of It's a Small World. In World of Color at Disney's California Adventure, Mufasa is seen during The Lion King' segment. Mufasa's likeness is also featured at Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
- The name "Mufasa" means "King" in the Manazoto language.
- Mufasa is similar to Bambi's mother in Bambi in the sense of teaching their son/the protagonist the lessons of life and death and getting killed by the main antagonist (Mufasa: Scar, Bambi's mother: Man) at his/her son's young age. Also like Bambi's mother they both appear in a dream by their children in the second film (Mufasa: sequel, Bambi's mother: midquel).
- On the original 1995 VHS cover to The Lion King, Mufasa is given a pink nose instead of a brown one like he should have.
- As a ghost, Mufasa's voice sounded much like Darth Vader in a eco-like tone.
- In an early script for The Lion King, Mufasa would sing a song called "Mighty King of the Wild", but it was cut due to the fact that it didn't match Mufasa's Character.
- Some of the vocalizations for Mufasa were recycled from that of the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
- Interestingly enough, the way Scar kills Mufasa (by pushing him into a rapidly-moving herd of animals to be trampled under) is reminiscent of the way Mowgli kills Shere Khan in the original Jungle Book novels.
- He is similar to The Great Prince of The Forest. They are both the head of their home and father of the protagonist and their sons (Mufasa: Simba, The Great Prince of the Forest: Bambi) are the heir to their leadership and are seen teaching their sons
- Mufasa is pretty much the animal version of Slim from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck as they are highly respected characters in their area (Mufasa, The Pride Lands and Slim, The Ranch) However unlike Mufasa Slim isn't related to George.
- The way Mufasa struggles up the cliff and gets thrown down by Scar is very similar to when Aladdin struggles up the cliff in the Cave of Wonders and then thrown down by Jafar. However, unlike Aladdin, Mufasa died while Aladdin survived because of the Magic Carpet.
- 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 wisdom in shown in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride as he is the first person to realise that Kiara and Kovu belong togheter, something his son Simba wouldn't understand 'till the end of the movie.
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