The Lion King 2 seems like a no-brainer. Disney’s 2019 remake of the 1994 animated film was a gargantuan success, raking in almost $1.7 billion in global box office returns. A sequel was almost guaranteed to get the green light, and now we have official confirmation of the follow-up as well as a new director that will take over for Jon Favreau.
Deadline reports that Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) has been tapped to helm The Lion King 2. Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson is returning for script duties and has reportedly turned in the first draft. Sources say that the new movie will dive deeper into the mythologies surrounding the characters with a specific focus on Mufasa. The comparison made was to The Godfather: Part II in which the new king of an empire has to struggle with his ability to lead while also reflecting on his father’s past.
The Lion King 2 will continue to push the photo-realistic animation that Jon Favreau and his team pioneered in films like The Lion King and The Jungle Book. there is no official announcement regarding the cast of the sequel, though it is assumed that lead actors such as Donald Glover and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter are expected to return.
As of now, it certainly sounds that The Lion King 2 will be taking a similar route as the upcoming Aladdin sequel as far as being a totally original follow-up. No material from any of the direct-to-video sequels is expected to be used as inspiration for this next installment. That will probably upset a few fans of The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, but it is always good for new iterations of properties to follow their own path and not feel burdened by past entries in the canon.
However, the idea of making The Lion King 2 a semi-prequel by delving into the backstory of Mufasa also sounds a little uninteresting. Exactly how much more we can learn about Mufasa as a character is worth debating. Is it possible that his inclusion could be an attempt to snag James Earl Jones for a returning part, or to cast an exciting new voice actor as a younger version of Mufasa? Whoever wants to try and step into those shoes is going to have their work cut out for them.
There is no release date set for The Lion King 2, but we imagine that it could be an easier production to get off the ground since there is no motion-capture acting to film. Ostensibly, the sequel could begin remote production soon since the majority of the work will be done by animators. This might be another reason why Disney wants to get the ball rolling on The Lion King 2 while other productions are still being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are you excited for The Lion King 2? What did you think of the 2019 remake? Are you on board with The Godfather: Part II but with cartoon animals? Let us know! In the meantime, we will be over here singing “Be Prepared” over and over again.