Black, gold, red, and tan
|Also known as|
• Great King of the Past
After the birth of his son, Simba, Mufasa trained him to respect the Circle of Life and to take responsibility for his kingdom and subjects. While Simba was still a cub, Scar plotted against Mufasa and used a stampede to endanger Simba's life. After saving Simba from the stampede, Mufasa climbed up the side of a gorge, only to be thrown to his death by Scar. Simba found Mufasa's body after the stampede, and Scar convinced him that he was to blame for his father's death, which prompted him to flee the Pride Lands.
For years, Simba grew up in self-exile in the jungle until he encountered the spirit of Mufasa, who urged him to return to the Pride Lands and reclaim his birthright. During his confrontation with Scar, Simba learned that Scar was to blame for Mufasa's death and so exiled Scar from the Pride Lands. After Scar's defeat and death, Simba ascended Pride Rock, with Mufasa's spirit watching from the stars. In the years afterward, Mufasa's spirit continued to watch over the Pride Lands, as he frequently offered advice to Simba's son, Kion, and encouraged the reunification of the Outsiders and Pride Landers.
Mufasa was born to the reigning monarch of Pride Rock. He had a younger brother. While Mufasa grew up as the heir to the throne of Pride Rock, his brother served as the leader of the Lion Guard.
When the two were young adults, Mufasa's brother returned to Pride Rock after a solo patrol in the Outlands. He informed Mufasa of his victory over a rogue lion who had attempted to take over the kingdom. In response, Mufasa playfully nicknamed him "Scar" after the facial wound he had received from the incident, which embittered him and made him believe that Mufasa did not deserve to be king.
Presumably, Mufasa was betrothed to Sarabi, as per the law of the Pride Lands monarchy. The two were married and had a son, whom they named Simba.
Before Simba's presentation, Mufasa stood atop Pride Rock, overlooking the arrival of his subjects. His majordomo, Zazu, alighted in front of him and bowed, which prompted Mufasa to smile. The kingdom's Royal Mjuzi, Rafiki, climbed up Pride Rock and embraced Mufasa. Afterward, Mufasa walked to Sarabi's side and nuzzled her. With the parents watching warmly, Rafiki anointed Simba and took the cub into his arms. The mandrill then carried Simba to the peak of Pride Rock, where he lifted him into the air for the animals to see.
After the ceremony, Mufasa went to confront his younger brother, Scar, who had been strangely absent from the ceremony. The king caught Scar with Zazu in his mouth and ordered the younger lion to release his prey. Scar did so, albeit reluctantly. Though Scar spoke sarcastically to Mufasa, the king firmly asked why he had been absent from the ceremony. Scar feigned forgetfulness and called Simba a "little hairball," to which Mufasa reminded Scar that Simba was his son and the future king. Scar quipped that he would practice his curtsy, then turned his back on his brother. Antagonized, Mufasa ordered Scar to never turn his back on him, but Scar shot back that it was Mufasa who should never turn his back on him. This enraged Mufasa, who jumped in front of Scar and asked if that was a challenge. Scar denied this, commenting that he was intelligent but could not rival Mufasa in physical strength. He then strode off into the savanna.
Mufasa watched Scar go and lamented their estranged relationship. Zazu teasingly suggested that Mufasa turn his brother into a throw rug, which made the king laugh.
One morning, when Simba was a cub, he aroused his father to take him to the summit of Pride Rock. Once there, Mufasa showed Simba the kingdom and informed him that the land would be passed on to him when he became the new king. Simba asked about the "shadowy place," and Mufasa warned him to never venture there, as it was beyond their borders. Simba replied that he thought a king could do whatever he wanted, but Mufasa explained that there was more to being king than getting one's way all the time.
As Mufasa and Simba walked around the Pride Lands, Mufasa taught his son about the Circle of Life, explaining that all living creatures existed together in a delicate balance. In response to Simba's confusion, Mufasa explained that, though the antelope was food for the lion, the lion's body would become the grass after his death. This would in turn feed the antelope. Thus, predator and prey were connected in the Circle of Life.
In the midst of the lesson, Zazu appeared and gave Mufasa his morning report. While Zazu was talking, Mufasa noticed Simba's attempts at pouncing and decided to teach the cub how to pounce properly. Mufasa used Zazu as target practice for his son and laughed when Simba successfully knocked Zazu to the ground.
Just then, a mole reported that hyenas had trespassed into the Pride Lands. Suddenly serious, Mufasa leaped over Simba and ordered Zazu to take the cub home. Though Simba protested and begged to accompany his father on the mission, Mufasa was firm in his rejection and took off to deal with the problem alone.
Later, when Simba and his friend, Nala, ventured into the Elephant Graveyard, Mufasa was fetched by Zazu for help. He arrived in the nick of time to save the cubs from the hyenas, whom he warned to never come near his son again. After the hyenas ran away in fear, Mufasa briefly scolded Simba for deliberately disobeying him, then demanded that they return home.
After ordering Zazu to take Nala home, Mufasa expressed disappointment in Simba for having almost gotten himself and Nala killed. Simba told his father that he had been attempting to be brave, but Mufasa reminded him that being brave did not mean that one should go looking for trouble. He then admitted that he had been scared because he had almost lost Simba. This surprised the cub, who joked that the hyenas had been even more scared. The two briefly wrestled, and Simba climbed onto his father's head. He then asked Mufasa if they would always be together. Mufasa told Simba to listen to something his own father had told him. He went on to talk about the Great Kings of the Past, who looked down on them from the stars and would always be there to guide Simba if he needed them, as would Mufasa.
Stampede and death
Unbeknownst to Mufasa, Scar plotted to assassinate him and Simba with the help of his hyena minions. One day, while roaming the Pride Lands with Mufasa, Zazu reported that a wildebeest herd was on the move, which Mufasa found odd. Just then, Scar reported that Simba was trapped in a stampede in the gorge. Terrified for his son's safety, Mufasa rushed to the gorge. After locating Simba, who was clinging to a dead tree in the midst of the stampede, Mufasa jumped into the fray without hesitation. After some struggles, Mufasa retrieved his son and bore him to safety. However, before Mufasa himself could climb out of the gorge, a wildebeest dragged him back into the chaos, and Simba yelled after him in fear. With a powerful leap, Mufasa caught on to and began to scale the side of the gorge.
At the top of the gorge, Mufasa begged Scar to help him, but Scar pierced Mufasa's paws with his claws. He then leaned in and said, "Long live the king." As Mufasa looked on in horror, Scar let go of his brother's paws, and Mufasa fell to his death. The king's broken body was soon found by Simba. Scar arrived and convinced the cub that he was responsible for Mufasa's death and so must flee the Pride Lands. Leaving Mufasa's body behind, Simba fled the kingdom and took up residence in a jungle.
Communion with Simba
Years later, when Simba was a young adult, Rafiki told him that Mufasa was still alive. Eager to see his father again, Simba followed the mandrill to a pool but was disappointed to see only his reflection. However, when instructed to look harder, he stared down into the water, which rippled and turned his reflection into Mufasa's. Just then, Mufasa's voice called to Simba, who looked up in wonder to see his father's spirit in the clouds.
The ghost accused Simba of having forgotten him, but Simba denied this. Mufasa countered that Simba had forgotten who he was and thus forgotten his father. He then instructed Simba to return to the Pride Lands, but Simba protested that he was not who he had once been. Mufasa reminded Simba that he was his son and the one true king. He then disappeared into the night, repeating the word "remember" as Simba gave chase, begging his father to stay.
After Simba took his father's advice to return to the Pride Lands, he was tricked by Scar into revealing to the pride that he had been the cause of Mufasa's death. However, when Scar confessed that he had killed Mufasa, Simba experienced a brief flashback of Mufasa's death and, enraged, forced Scar to admit his role in the murder. In a vicious fight, Simba defeated Scar and proceeded to take back the throne. Following Scar's defeat and death, Simba ascended Pride Rock to take his rightful place as king. As he reached the peak of Pride Rock, he heard Mufasa's voice telling him to "remember." Mufasa's words gave Simba courage, and he roared over his new kingdom.
Communion with Kion
Dawn of the Lion Guard
When Simba refused to accept his son Kion's choice of Lion Guard members, Kion isolated himself from his friends and encountered the ghost of Mufasa. The spirit told Kion that he was about to embark on a great journey as the leader of the Lion Guard. Kion replied that he did not think that Simba would let him be a leader, but Mufasa gently reminded Kion that Simba was worried because he loved Kion.
Kion admitted that he was not ready to lead the Lion Guard or use the Roar of the Elders. He said that he did not want to end up like Scar, the previous leader of the Lion Guard. Mufasa implored Kion to trust his instincts, then promised that the Roar would be there for him when he needed it, as would Mufasa.
Kion came to Mufasa for advice regarding Makuu, the new crocodile leader. Mufasa encouraged him to stand his ground, even in the face of a fight, and pointed out that standing up to someone was not the same as fighting them.
Wet season storms
After the Lion Guard saved a family of baboons from falling over a cliff, Kion sought counsel with Mufasa. The cub asked if he should use the Roar of the Elders to blow the big storms away, but Mufasa explained that rain was part of the Circle of Life and that the Pride Lands needed water to survive. Kion begrudgingly accepted his grandfather's words.
Mufasa appeared to Kion when he was squabbling with his sister, Kiara. Mufasa gently reminded his grandson that Kiara would always need his support, especially when she was wrong, and Kion decided to go back for her.
Gazelle and zebra migration
After Kion overheard the animals complaining about his leadership, Mufasa appeared to him and commented that he knew his grandson was feeling troubled. Kion explained the situation, and Mufasa told him to not let the animals' lack of faith affect him. Mufasa then assured Kion that he would be trusted so long as he himself had confidence.
Kion's doubts about the Roar of the Elders
After nearly hurting his mother, Nala, with the Roar of the Elders, Kion sought advice from Mufasa. He explained what had happened when he had used the Roar in anger and confessed that he was afraid of becoming like Scar. In answer, Mufasa pointed out that Scar had only ever cared for himself. He then asked Kion why he had used the Roar, and Kion explained that his mother had been in danger. Mufasa reminded Kion that Scar had never cared for anyone the way Kion cared for Nala, then encouraged Kion to speak to her about the incident.
After Simba accused Kion of having ruined the Savannah Summit, Kion sought advice from Mufasa. Kion admitted that Simba was upset with him because of his distrust of Makuu, and Mufasa gently asked him what Makuu had done to deserve Kion's ill feelings. This gave Kion pause, and he admitted that it was just a feeling he had. Mufasa then quoted Rafiki, who frequently said, "Leap to conclusions, and you leap to confusions." Kion understood his grandfather's train of thought and resolved to save the Summit without drawing his own conclusions.
Dry season troubles
Concerned at how quickly the start of the dry season had caused matters to get out of hand, Kion consulted with Mufasa. Mufasa told his grandson that the dry season was difficult because there was less food and water, which caused animals to make poor decisions. He also warned Kion to be careful to not lose control of the Roar of the Elders.
Later, Mufasa overlooked Simba and Kion as they spent time together.
Simba and Kion consulted Mufasa's spirit about the troubling return of Scar. Though Mufasa had never experienced the return of an evil spirit, he assured his family that the strength to defeat Scar dwelled in themselves and the rest of the Pride Lands.
Kilio Valley fire
After Ma Tembo's herd was ousted from Kilio Valley by a fire, Kion sought advice from the spirit of Mufasa, who encouraged him to not doubt himself. Mufasa added that how one dealt with defeat was just as important as how one dealt with victory.
Battle for the Pride Lands
As the Lion Guard prepared to lead the Pride Landers in an invasion of the Outlands, Kion consulted his grandfather for advice. Mufasa asserted that any evil could be conquered but warned Kion to not "fight fire with fire."
Later, Scar recounted his history to his minion, Ushari. He explained how Mufasa had given him the nickname "Scar" and undercut Scar's victory over a hostile rogue lion, which had turned the younger lion against his brother.
In the final confrontation with Scar, Kion was inspired by Mufasa's words and called upon the Great Kings of the Past to judge Scar. This defeated the evil spirit.
After Kion received a scar from Ushari, he felt too ashamed to talk to Mufasa. While on his journey to the Tree of Life, he considered talking to his grandfather in order to ease his doubts. However, he decided against it after seeing his own reflection in a puddle and feeling ashamed at how similar he looked to Mufasa's brother and murderer, Scar.
Later, after receiving encouragement from Rani, Kion communicated with Mufasa for the first time since receiving his scar. Mufasa expressed happiness at speaking with his grandson again and assured him that the injury had not changed Mufasa's feelings for him, nor would it ever.
Kion's decision about the Roar of the Elders
Having decided it might be best to give up the Roar, Kion declared his intentions to Mufasa. Mufasa was supportive of Kion but noted that, as he had never led the Lion Guard, Kion could not surrender the Roar to him. Based on Mufasa's advice, Kion went to Cikha Escarpment and communicated with the spirit of Askari, the leader of the first Lion Guard.
Reunification of the Outsiders and Pride Landers
Mufasa told his old friend, Rafiki, through the wind about his plan to influence Kiara and Kovu, Scar's protégé, to fall in love with each other. Though Rafiki doubted the plan, he eventually gave in.
After Simba accepted Kovu into his pride, he had a nightmare. In the dream, Mufasa cried out for his son's help so that he would not fall into the wildebeest stampede below. However, as Simba reached out to help Mufasa, he was stopped by Scar, who pierced him with his claws. Unable to hang on any longer, Mufasa fell to his death. Scar then morphed into Kovu and threw Simba to his death after Mufasa.
Following Kovu's exile, Kiara yelled that Simba would never be Mufasa, and Simba was taken aback.
Later, when the Outsiders and Pride Landers were reunified, Mufasa's spirit said to Simba, "Well done, my son. We are one."
Having mastered the Roar, Kion sought Mufasa's advice on whether he should return to the Pride Lands or remain at the Tree of Life. Mufasa informed Kion that the decision was his to make and that he should follow his own heart.
When Kion returned to the Pride Lands, Mufasa appeared to him and his family at Pride Rock.
Mufasa was a large, lean, and powerfully built lion, with broad shoulders and a muscular frame. His features were more pronounced and blocklike, such as his square muzzle, his abnormally large nostrils, and his thick black eyebrows. His main pelt was golden, while his muzzle, paws, and underbelly were paler in color. He had a full red mane that extended to the middle of his chest. His eyes were red.
Mufasa bore a striking resemblance to his son, Simba, to the point that both Sarabi and Scar believed that a young adult Simba was Mufasa returned from the dead.
Personality and traits
As a young adult, Mufasa was carefree and playful, as he did not take his brother's triumph over a hostile rogue seriously. Additionally, he joked rather flippantly with his brother, which caused the younger lion to become embittered and develop the belief that Mufasa was not worthy of his throne.
Once a father and king, Mufasa demonstrated a sense of responsibility that he frequently impressed upon his son, Simba. He revered the Circle of Life and believed that all animals, prey and predator alike, were worthy of respect. Though more serious by nature, he still knew how to have fun, as he enjoyed teaching Simba to pounce and found amusement in his majordomo Zazu's humor.
Mufasa was known for his ferocity and power. Even his enemies, the hyenas, were afraid of him and shuddered at the sound of his name. Especially when his son was threatened, Mufasa proved to have a nasty temper and did not tolerate threats of any kind. His own brother, Scar, was loath to challenge him because of his physical strength and had to resort to an alliance with the hyenas to defeat him.
Unlike his son, Simba, Mufasa was far more tolerant of his enemies and strove to forgive. He encouraged Rafiki to forge a bond between Kiara and Kovu, and later praised his son for reuniting the Outsiders and Pride Landers.
- Mufasa was voiced by the following:
- In The Lion King, he was voiced by James Earl Jones.
- In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, he was voiced by James Earl Jones.
- In Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable, he was voiced by James Earl Jones.
- In The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, he was voiced by James Earl Jones.
- In The Lion Guard, he was voiced by Gary Anthony Williams.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, he was voiced by James Earl Jones.
- In Simba's Mighty Adventure, he was voiced by James Earl Jones.
- In Disney's Animated Storybook: The Lion King, he was voiced by James Earl Jones.
- The role of Mufasa in the stage musical version of The Lion King was originated by Samuel E. Wright.
- Mufasa is the only character in the franchise whose voice actor reprised their role from the 1994 film for the 2019 remake.
- Although Mufasa does not sing in the 1994 film, he sings "They Live In You" in the stage musical version of The Lion King.
- During a Tenth Anniversary Reunion discussion panel, directors Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers were asked who Nala's father was. Minkoff joked that Allers was the father. The two directors then stated that Mufasa or Scar could be Nala's father. However, the Lion Guard episode "Paintings and Predictions" revealed that Nala's father was a different lion, not Mufasa or Scar.
- Rob Minkoff believes that Mufasa gave Scar his scar when they were cubs. However, the Lion Guard episode "Battle for the Pride Lands" revealed that Scar got his scar from a cobra.
- In The Lion King: Six New Adventures, Mufasa's parents are named Ahadi and Uru, and he has a grandson named Kopa.
- In Disney's Fantasia 2000, a figurine of Mufasa is seen behind James Earl Jones before the "Carnival of the Animals" segment.
- Mufasa's voice actor, James Earl Jones, and Sarabi's voice actress, Madge Sinclair, 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 the January 1990 and May 1990 drafts of The Lion King, Mufasa had no relation to Scar. Additionally, Scar did not kill Mufasa by throwing him into a stampede. Rather, he fought Mufasa to the death with the help of his hyena minions.
- Originally, Mufasa may have been the father of two, as a concept by Mel Shaw depicts a "Papa Lion" sitting with two playful cubs.
- In an early storyboard of The Lion King, Mufasa told a joke shortly after his confrontation with Scar. Following Mufasa's question as to what he should do with Scar, Zazu suggested that he introduce Scar to a charging rhinoceros. Mufasa then joked, "What are the rhinos charging these days?" According to Roger Allers, the joke fell flat and was thus deleted.
- During early production of The Lion King, Mufasa sang a song titled "To Be King". However, it was scrapped because the filmmakers believed that Mufasa was too regal to be "singing and dancing in the woods."