With a Lion King sequel on the way, there’s bound to be some speculation on which characters will return, or if some from other stories will appear.
With the recent news that Disney is moving forward with a sequel to the live action adaptation of The Lion King, there’s been a lot of speculation as to what direction the franchise could go in. The creative team has a lot of inspiration in the form of animated sequels and TV show spin-offs.
There’s been some reports that the follow up will be both a sequel and a prequel in many respects, tracking both the life of a young Mufasa in the past and an older Simba in the future. There’s plenty of characters that will therefore likely be returning in some capacity to the sequel and a few that Disney may use as inspiration from the wider animated shows and films.
Spin-Off Characters: Kion
Kion is the youngest child of Simba and Nala and the main character of the Disney show, The Lion Gaurd. He’s an incredibly important character in the wider Lion King universe and displays many of the same characteristics as the young Simba.
If the sequel is going to be looking at Simba’s new life as the King, then it only makes sense that one of the focuses is a brand new prince. This was teased at the end of the first Lion King with a child, although it’s unclear if this was Kion or perhaps his sister.
Returning Characters: Simba
It’s difficult to carry out any kind of Lion King project without the main protagonist of the franchise. Simba is now the King of Pride Rock and will be carrying out a number of regal duties. Any sequel has to include him in some capacity.
It’s likely going to be the case that his own life and journey is paralleled to that of his father’s. Both will be facing tough choices as part of their reigns and Simba must learn how to become an inspirational parent himself.
Spin-Off Characters: Kiara
Kiara is the older sister to Kion and in theory the heir to the rock. It’s possible that this was actually the child being held up at the start of the first film. She also holds a very special role in the sequel, if the film is to be inspired by the animated movies.
Kiara is actually the protagonist of Lion King 2. She goes on her own difficult path to discover her true place in this royal family and this is a narrative that can certainly be polished and adapted to a live action iteration, like Disney are developing.
Returning Characters: Nala
With Simba comes Nala, his life partner and the mother of his children. Nala is often the wisest voice and will perhaps be taking on her own journey to learn a thing or two from the lionesses that she had previously had in her life.
Being both a Queen and raising children is a difficult feat to marriage, so her partnership with Simba’s own mother may be strengthened as she seeks some kind of advice on how to be such a strong and fearless leader.
Spin-Off Characters: Fuli
While there have been lots of adaptations of The Lion King, from the stage to the small screen, Fuli only appears thus far in the new Disney show, The Lion Guard. As Kion’s right-hand woman, she’s one of the fastest and most intelligent characters in his group.
The Cheetah is one of the leading characters in the show and while fans will want the rest of the group to appear, Fuli may be a great way to expand the universe further and perhaps even give Kion a friend to help work through his problems.
Returning Characters: Mufasa
With part of the story seemingly focusing on a young Mufasa, it only makes sense that the character returns in quite a large capacity. While his tragic death is a huge part of the first film, Mufasa’s early life isn’t fleshed out too much.
Powerful, wise and full of life, Mufasa probably wasn’t always like this. It’s therefore an interesting concept to see the character develop, considering he is also one of the most popular animals in the whole of the franchise.
Spin-Off Characters: Zira
Zira is a character that has acted as an antagonist on a few occasions and is one of the scarier lions in the franchise. She’s the villain of the animated sequel film and has also appeared in the TV show as a fearsome character.
Loyal to Scar, she seeks revenge for what was done to him, not quite knowing the circumstances of his death. She’s certainly not trustworthy and could serve as an interesting addition to the cast of characters in the live action adaptation.
Returning Characters: Pumbaa And Timon
Timon and Pumbaa really come as a pair, with the two essentially having a huge focus in the spin-off film that served as a half sequel in many respects. Audiences have come to love the comedic duo, who were just as heroic in the live action version.
They joined Simba in his quest back to Pride Rock and are still around now. They’ve built up a brand new life and while they won’t be a focus of the sequel, it’s still possible that they have a sizeable and once again hilarious role.
Spin-Off Characters: Uncle Max
Uncle Max is Timon’s uncle and one of his key mentors in his life. The character is actually quite important to Timon, especially since it appears that his father has died. If the sequel wants to develop the meerkat further, this is the way to do it.
Uncle Max has quite a cynical would view, so it would be interesting to see him brought into the context of Pride Rock as Timon reconnects with his past. He isn’t the most well known character but he’s certainly a powerful one.
Returning Characters: Scar
Scar is of course the main villain of the original movie, but is killed in the final moments of the film. With prequel elements being a huge part of the sequel though, there’s every chance that Scar returns as a young rival to Mufasa.
From how he actually got that Scar, to the origins of their feud and his original fight for the throne, it makes sense to bring back Scar in a small role, in order for Mufasa’s own story to be told fully.