Mufasa is the overarching protagonist of Disney's The Lion King franchise, serving as the overarching protagonist of the Disney animated film The Lion King and the posthumous overarching protagonist of both its 1998 sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and its 2016-2019 spin-off series The Lion Guard. He is the father of Simba.
Why He's a Great King of the Past
- He is well known for his first scene during the "Circle of Life" sequence where Rafiki blesses the newborn Simba and presents the future king to his assembled subjects.
- He is a good father and mentor for Simba, as shown when he teaches him about being king.
- He was pretty stern towards Scar for disrespecting his son at the beginning and warned him not to turn his back on him.
- He took down Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, who threatened Simba and Nala. He even sternly warned them not to come near his son again.
- He selflessly sacrificed himself to save Simba from the stampede.
- Even though he can be stern and serious, he is shown to have a playful side to him as well, such as when he gives Simba a pouncing lesson.
- It is shown that he loves and cares about his kingdom.
- Even after his death, he continues to offer advice to other characters as a spirit, such as when he encouraged Simba to return to the Pride Lands and take his place as the rightful king, convinced Rafiki to unite the Pride Landers and the Outsiders in the second film, and whenever he gives advice to his grandson, Kion, in The Lion Guard.
- James Earl Jones does an absolutely perfect job voicing him. He also sounds like a watered-down Darth Vader.
- His voice performance by Gary Anthony Williams in The Lion Guard is also really good and even sounds extremely close to his voice by James Earl Jones.
- James Earl Jones also reprised his role in the 2019 remake, and it's great to see him back as Mufasa after twenty-five years despite having somewhat of a downgrade of his voice.
- His death is one of the most realistic and saddest ones in Disney history. He's one of the few main characters in a Disney movie to permanently die.
The Only Bad Quality
- While James Earl Jones reprises his role in the 2019 remake and it's great, it comes off as really hypocritical that James reprised his role, but not any of the other actors. It clearly also appears to nostalgic pander to fans of the original movie.
- On that topic, he gives a sub-par performance where he sounds phoned-in and tired, and his voice is much of a downgrade due to Jones' old age, which is understandable, but still.
- The way that Scar killed him is not only shockingly worse than the original but also one of the most unintentional shockingly laughable moments. It also looks like he slaps Mufasa on the face with his paw, leaving a gash on his eye, instead of brutally tossing him off the cliff.
- The scene of Simba going onto the cliff and talks to him like the original, but apart from brief flashes of lightning showing the outline of Mufasa's head, it's all you see of him and all Simba looks at otherwise is clouds. This was also apparently done for 'realism', but a lot of viewers felt it was far less visually impressive and didn't pack as much of an emotional punch as Mufasa's spirit dramatically appearing in the night sky, especially as it's one of the most iconic scenes from the original.
- Mufasa is the only character in the franchise whose voice actor reprised their role from the 1994 film for the 2019 remake.
- The role of Mufasa in the stage musical version of The Lion King was originated by Samuel E. Wright, who also voiced Sebastian.
- Some of the vocalizations for Mufasa were recycled from Beast, who appeared in Beauty and the Beast.
Mufasa in the original film
Mufasa in the 2019 remake