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Similarities Between Black Panther and The Lion King

Let's Count All the Ways Black Panther and The Lion King Are Alike, Shall We?

Warning: Major spoilers for Black Panther and The Lion King if you haven't seen it after 20+ years ahead.

Before I even saw Black Panther, I already knew that it would share similarities with The Lion King. I had read a spoiler about who Sterling K. Brown plays in the movie and learned that his character, N'Jobu, was the late uncle of T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Early on in the film, N'Jobu is murdered by his own brother (and T'Challa's father), T'Chaka (Atandwa Kani), after being accused of betraying his country by providing vibranium — a rare and valuable metal — to an untrustworthy foe named Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis).

N'Jobu's son, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens, played by Michael B. Jordan, returns to Wakanda as an adult to challenge T'Challa for the throne following T'Chaka's recent passing. Sound familiar? It's because this storyline is remarkably similar to the plot in Disney's The Lion King. In the 1994 animation, Mufasa is murdered at the hands of his own brother as well. The infamous scene where Mufasa was tossed off the cliff by Scar and into the oncoming stampede has been embedded into my memory forever. The tragic event causes Mufasa's son, Simba, to run away from Pride Rock.

In both movies, there's a bloody battle for the throne. In The Lion King, Simba returns years later to fight his uncle Scar for his rightful place as heir after some convincing from his childhood friend and love interest Nala. Black Panther follows the same script, except this time it's the villain who returns instead of the hero. Erik "Killmonger" wants a shot at the throne to avenge his father's death and fulfill N'Jobu's seemingly well-intentioned mission of liberating impoverished black people by using Wakanda's valuable resources.

The striking similarities don't just end there. As my perceptive friend Shannon pointed out on Twitter, the scene where T'Challa travels back to the ancestral plane after becoming the Black Panther for the first time looks aesthetically similar to another scene in The Lion King where we see a majestic, purple and blue-shaded animation of Rafiki's ancient tree.

The touching moment in Black Panther finds T'Challa reunited with his deceased father for just a moment, asking him for guidance on how to lead as king of Wakanda, and it's yet another plot that harkens back to The Lion King, this time when Simba reaches out to Mufasa for reassurance that he should be the king of Pride Rock.

My friend and I aren't the only ones who recognized the similarities between the two incredible films. In fact, there's an entire Reddit thread pointing out how Black Panther and The Lion King are alike. Check out what others had to say ahead, then find out if we can expect a Black Panther sequel in the near future.

Image Source: Everett Collection
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