|Adolescent - Adult|
King of Pride Rock
Great King of the Past
The Lion King 1½
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
The Lion Guard
- "You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me."
- —Mufasa's ghost to Simba
- "In the drawing, I would exaggerate some certain anatomical things like the shoulders and the arms and the size of the head and things, more than you would see in nature, because that would help to sort of sell the difference between him and the other lions."
- —Tony Fucile about Mufasa
One of the largest known males to ever rule the Pride Lands, Mufasa is tall, broad, and almost outrageously muscular, bearing powerful shoulders and a compact build. When standing next to his younger brother Scar, Mufasa is noticeably taller and much more strongly built than him. Almost every feature he possesses is purposefully exaggerated, from his head and shoulders to his muzzle and nostrils.
Mufasa's physical power is evident throughout the film, as he proves himself to be a skilled fighter and almost unnaturally strong. He is able to take down three hyenas single-handedly, walking away with no injury, and later manages to haul himself up the side of a vertical cliff, hanging precariously by merely his claws. His deep voice reinforces his powerful image, combining physical prowess with verbal power.
Despite being so large, Mufasa is round-featured, lacking the sharp points and jagged edges that make up Scar's face and body. His fur is colored a brilliant orange, similar to the pigment of his son's coat, while his muzzle, paws, and underbelly are all tan in color. His upper eye shades are darker than his main pelt, though his lower eye shades are lighter, and his eyebrows are thick and dark. Regal by every means, Mufasa bears a thick mane of dark scarlet that extends down to his middle chest, the tip of his tail matching it in color.
Simba was purposefully designed to take after his father once he grew older. In Simba, many of Mufasa's features can be seen, from his compact build to his bright coloration. To Simba, Mufasa passed down his strong build, though in Simba, it is not quite as apparent, as well as his round features, rich golden coat, and red mane.
- "I'm only brave when I have to be. Simba, being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble."
- —Mufasa to Simba
Even as an adolescent, Mufasa displays characteristics of a king. Unlike his irresponsible younger brother, he is mature enough to put his kingdom's interests above his own, taking on responsibilities that are not expected of one so young. He is a strong support for his father, the king, and continuously proves himself to be firmly on his father's side, willing to better himself for his future role as king. His wisdom touches through on his understanding of responsibility and his willingness to set aside personal gain in order to better the Pride Lands.
As an adult, Mufasa grows in maturity and regality, becoming a symbol of power as king who instills respect in every creature, even his enemies, the hyenas. His physical strength is not his only symbol of power, for his very voice and manner is often enough to draw the attention of his subjects, most often his son and Zazu. In addition to physically playing the role of king, Mufasa has a manner which demands respect. The king does not stand for disrespect, as seen when he challenges his brother for not attending the presentation of Simba.
Despite his strong exterior, Mufasa is kind at heart and playful, showing respect for all the creatures, even those who are perceived as lower than himself. He is not strictly business, often playing games with his majordomo Zazu, and is unafraid of showing affection, as seen when he greets Rafiki with a hug prior to the presentation of Simba. In family life, Mufasa is just as soft-hearted, treating his mate with gentle respect and treating his son fairly, even when the cub deliberately disobeys his parents' instruction.As a king and a father, Mufasa is instructive and wise, borne down by years of experience and instruction. His rule over the Pride Lands results in a period of prosperity, reflecting his reasonable and responsible approach to kingship. His lessons leave a deep imprint on Simba, who learns from his father that every creature must be respected in order for balance to be maintained. In addition to understanding natural balance, Mufasa understands the workings of a family, keeping his mate and son as well as his pride in steady paws.
Mufasa's wisdom is reinforced by his eternal bravery, seen from his first tussle with the hyenas to his final stand against a stampede of wildebeests. To Simba, he explains that he is only brave when the situation demands it, showing Mufasa to be rational with courage and level-headed enough to know when interference is needed. If his family is endangered, Mufasa exposes his protective side, ready to throw himself into danger in order to keep those he loves safe. Ultimately, he is willing to sacrifice his life for his family, proving his love to be stronger for his family than for himself.
Since cubhood, Mufasa has been the favored cub, having been chosen over his younger brother Taka to be king. As an adolescent, Mufasa is shown going on patrol with his father and brother and meeting Rafiki, a traveling baboon. When the baboon is invited to Pride Rock, Mufasa remains by his father's side and converses with Rafiki come nightfall.
The following day, Mufasa sits loyally at his father's shoulder while Ahadi caters to the complaints of the Pridelanders. When Taka expresses frustration over his father's kingly duties, Ahadi reminds him that Mufasa understands responsibility, but his comment only angers Taka further. Despite this, Ahadi cuts the hunting trip short, and Taka begrudgingly agrees to hunt with Mufasa.
Following Ahadi's broken promise, Taka tricks Mufasa into angering a buffalo named Boma in the hopes that Ahadi will have second thoughts about making Mufasa king. However, the plan backfires when Mufasa escapes the buffalo and the other buffalo in Boma's herd injure Taka. Despite his brother's treachery, Mufasa comes to his aid and assists his father in bringing Taka back to Pride Rock. While the young lion heals, Mufasa watches as his father appoints the first adviser and majordomo of the Pride Lands.
As the newly-appointed king of the Pride Lands, Mufasa is often shown being called on false alarms by Zazu, his nosy majordomo who has made a habit of reporting nonsense to the king. One day, the story about an army ant attack proves true, and Mufasa leads a group of Pridelanders to stop the army ants from destroying the Pride Lands.
Mufasa is shown first meeting Zazu, who is being plagued by the hyenas in the Elephant Graveyard. When the young lion roars the hyenas away from Zazu, the hornbill promises to repay the debt and thus begins to follow Mufasa around the Pride Lands, much to the young prince's annoyance. One day, however, Zazu leads Mufasa to Sarabi, who is trapped in a ravine, and the young lion helps her to escape. Following this incident, Mufasa accepts Zazu to be his majordomo when he becomes king and begins to foster respect for the hornbill.
- "A king's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, Simba, the sun will set on my time here and will rise with you as the new king."
- —Mufasa teaches Simba
Mufasa is first seen during the opening sequence when the Pridelanders come to the presentation of his newborn son, Simba. Prior to the presentation, Mufasa stands regally atop Pride Rock as its king and regards Zazu's respect with a warm smile. Rafiki soon appears, and the two embrace before going to check on Sarabi. Mufasa nuzzles her as they watch the baboon anoint their cub. The two smile at each other as Simba is presented.
Mufasa later chastises his younger brother Scar, who has caught Zazu in his mouth. He then confronts Scar about being absent at the presentation of Simba. The younger lion is disrespectful to Mufasa, something which causes the king to respond with hostility. After dominating Scar, Mufasa ponders what to do with his brother, to which Zazu suggest they turn him into a throw rug. The king and his majordomo laugh as they take their leave.
Once Simba grows into a rambunctious cub, he arouses his father, and Mufasa takes his son to Pride Rock's summit to show him the kingdom. He informs Simba that the land will one day be passed on to Simba when he becomes king. Simba asks about the "shadowy place," and Mufasa warns him never to go there, since it is beyond their borders. Simba replies that he had thought that a king can 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 around the Pride Lands, Mufasa lectures his son about the circle of life, explaining that every living creature exists in a delicate balance. Mufasa further explains that the antelope may be food for the lion, but when a lion dies, his body becomes the grass and essentially food for the antelope.
In the midst of the lesson, 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 into the Pride Lands turn his carefree demeanor into seriousness. He leaps over Simba to fix the problem and orders Zazu to take Simba home, forbidding Simba to come with him.
When Simba and his friend Nala venture into the Elephant Graveyard, Mufasa appears in the nick of time to save the cubs from the hyenas. After the hyenas run away in fear, Mufasa briefly scolds his son for deliberately disobeying him before he demands 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 reminds him that being brave doesn't mean that one should go looking for trouble. He then admits that he was scared because he almost lost Simba. When Simba asks his father if they'll always be together, Mufasa tells Simba to let him tell him something his father told him which is about the great kings of the past, who look down on them from the stars.
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, prompting the king's suspicions. Just then, Scar reports that Simba is trapped in a stampede in the gorge. Frightened, Mufasa rushes to the gorge. After locating Simba, who is clinging to a weak branch, Mufasa jumps into the mess of hooves without hesitation. He gets knocked down by one of the wildebeests, but then another rams into the branch, sending Simba flying into the air. Mufasa leaps and catches Simba in midair, 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 in the helpless form of the powerful lion, Scar pierces Mufasa's paws and taunts him with the words "long live the king." Scar lets go of his brother's paws, and Mufasa falls to his death.
Mufasa's broken body is soon found by Simba, who is convinced by his father's killer that he is responsible for Mufasa's death and so must run away. Leaving Mufasa's corpse behind, Simba proceeds to turn his back on his past, shunning the memory of his father's teachings.
When Simba is a young adult, Rafiki tells him that Mufasa is still alive. Eager to see his father again, Simba follows the baboon and is disappointed to see only his reflection. However, when instructed to look harder, he stares into the very eyes of his father. Mufasa's voice then hovers above him, and he curiously looks up to meet his father's ghost. The ghost accuses Simba of forgetting him, something which Simba vehemently denies, but the ghost counters that Simba has forgotten who he is and has thus forgotten his father. He demands Simba return to the Pride Lands, to which his son protests that he isn't who he used to be. The ghost then reminds Simba that he is his son and the one true king. He then disappears into the clouds, repeating the word "remember" as Simba gives chase, begging his father to stay.
After Simba takes his father's advice to return, he is tricked by Scar into revealing that he is the cause of Mufasa's death. However, Scar soon whispers into Simba's ear that he is the one who killed Mufasa. Simba experiences a brief flashback and sees Mufasa fall to his death. Enraged, Simba forces Scar to admit his play in the murder. He then proceeds to take back the throne from his evil uncle. Following Scar's death, Simba ascends Pride Rock to take his rightful place as king. As he reaches the promontory of Pride Rock, he hears Mufasa's voice telling him to "remember." Mufasa's words give Simba courage, and he roars over his new kingdom.
- "You have a plan? What? Kovu...Kiara...together? This is the plan? Are you crazy? This will never work! Oh, Mufasa, you been up there too long. Your head is in the clouds! Okay, okay, okay! Okay! All right, okay! I don't think this is going to work...but I trust you. I just hope you know what you are doing!"
- —Rafiki in reaction to Mufasa's plan
Mufasa makes his first appearance in spirit, watching over his granddaughter's presentation. He later tells his old friend Rafiki through the wind about his plan to make Kiara and Kovu fall in love with each other. Mufasa makes another appearance in Simba's nightmare. Mufasa is seen crying out for his son's help so that he won't fall into the wildebeest stampede below. However, Simba is stopped by Scar, who pierces him with his claws. Unable to hang on any longer, Mufasa falls.
The king is later mentioned during the exile of Kovu, when Kiara yells that Simba will never be Mufasa. Simba is taken aback and hurt by the statement, suggesting he had been trying to live up to the greatness which Mufasa had achieved in his time as the ruler of the Pride Lands. At the end of the film, Mufasa's spirit says to Simba, "Well done, my son. We are one."
In the prequel, Mufasa makes a few non-speaking appearances for which he is present in the original film. First, he is seen during Simba's presentation, grinning when Zazu tells him that the animals are kneeling before his newborn son. His roar later frightens Timon and Pumbaa as he races with Zazu to save Simba and Nala from the hyenas. Finally, he forms as a ghost in the clouds, telling Simba to return to the Pride Lands. Timon mistakes his ghost for bad weather.
Other RolesThe Morning Report" and "They Live in You," during which he tells young Simba about the great kings of the past, who are watching over them from the stars. There is also an additional scene in which Mufasa tells Zazu about Simba's daring behavior. Zazu then reminds him about his early years as a young cub. Later, after his tragic death, he lies onstage as the lionesses circle him and mourn his passing. In the song "He Lives in You," Mufasa appears as a ghost and tells Simba to go back to the Pride Lands and claim his rightful throne. Finally, Mufasa says, "Remember," before Simba roars as the new king of his kingdom.
Kopa recounts stories he'd heard about his grandfather, recalling how Zazu and the other Pridelanders had spoken of him with reverence. Rafiki later mentions Mufasa in a story he tells Simba. In this story, Mufasa is roaming the Pride Lands with his father, Ahadi, and brother, Taka, and stumbles upon Rafiki, a traveling baboon who is in search of knowledge. While Ahadi and Mufasa are quick to welcome the newcomer, Scar (then named Taka) is antagonistic and hostile.
Later that night, while sitting under the stars with Rafiki, Mufasa admits that his father harbors a strained relationship with Taka.
The next morning, Ahadi promises to take his sons hunting, but a crowd of disgruntled Pridelanders stalls him before the three can depart. Throughout the ordeal, Mufasa sits loyally at his father's shoulder, and when Ahadi is forced to cut the hunting trip short, he does not protest. Ahadi is grateful to him for this and praises his son for his good sense of responsibility, a comment which sparks animosity from Taka. Despite this, Ahadi is forced to leave his sons to attend to the more pressing issue of the hyenas.
Not long after this, Taka tricks Mufasa into talking to Boma, a selfish buffalo who is hogging a source of water, in order to help his father. When the plan goes wrong and Taka is hurt, Ahadi and Mufasa rush to help their kin. The two later leave Taka to rest, and Mufasa joins his father as he appoints the first adviser and majordomo of the Pride Lands.
Mufasa is mentioned when Kopa recounts that the king's death had prompted Simba to run away from the Pride Lands, even though Scar had been the true murderer.
When Zazu is fed lies by the Pridelanders, Mufasa begins to lose faith in him. The king's trust is restored when Zazu alerts him to an army ant attack, saving countless lives. At the end of the story, Mufasa praises his majordomo for his eyes and ears, letting Zazu keep his position as the king's assistant.
Due to his death in the original film, Mufasa does not appear in the television series, although in "Zazu's Off Day Off," a lion that resembles Mufasa comes out of Zazu's clock.
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.
Much like his brother Scar, Mufasa was supposed to have a bi-colored mane. His red mane also featured some white or cream colors, but most of his conceptual art retained his reddish mane and golden fur as well as his thick mane and frame.
- During a Tenth Anniversary Reunion discussion panel, 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 that 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.
- In 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, 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.
- The roar that Mufasa roars offscreen before saving Simba and Nala from the hyenas isn't actually a real lion's roar, but the combination of a grizzly's roar, a tiger's roar and F-16 Flyby Falcon.
- Mufasa could have been the father of two, as Mel Shaw's concepts show him with two cubs fiddling with his tail. Mufasa is referred to as "Papa Lion."
- 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, so it was scrapped.
- 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.
- In King of the Kalahari, a character named King Brond appears. He is most likely an early version of Mufasa.
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|Preceded by||Succession Right||Succeeded by|
|Ahadi||Son of Ahadi and Uru||Scar|
|Characters from The Lion King|