As the second-highest grossing movie of 2019, it was only a matter of time until The Lion King roared again. And now, Walt Disney has announced that a new Hollywood king will be continuing the story started by Jon Favreau in the photorealistic remake of the 1994 cartoon favorite. Moonlight auteur, Barry Jenkins, is set to direct the second installment, and the director confirmed his involvement on Twitter.
Of course, the original cartoon Lion King also had its various sequels and spinoffs — including the direct-to-video continuation, The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and an animated series based around Simba’s pals, Timon and Pumbaa. But Deadline is reporting that Jenkins’s film will be a wholly original story, unlike the Favreau feature, which hewed closely (perhaps too closely) to its predecessor. The website suggests that Jenkins is planning a follow-up that’s closer in spirit to The Godfather Part II, incorporating flashback material that illustrates how Simba’s beloved father, Mufasa, came to power. “The story will further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story,” Deadline states.
Jenkins didn’t tease any additional plot details on Twitter, but the congratulations quickly came rolling in, even as some wondered whether he should have been aiming higher.
Holy cow, man. I’m excited for my kids to fall in love with this. Congratulations!— tom_quinn (@tom_quinn) September 29, 2020
There wasn’t a need for a sequel to that Lion king film but berry Jenkins directing so now I’m kinda interested pic.twitter.com/aGESTuOZu3— Kev 🌱 (@soultoself) September 29, 2020
Congratulations! This is incredibly well deserved, and I'm so excited to see what you make!— Josiahx (@Josiahx) September 29, 2020
Barry Jenkins directing Lion King 2 is much more disheartening and even more embarrassing than Ben Wheatley directing Tomb Raider 2. "But wait - maybe he'll make a great Lion King 2!" No he won't.— Will Sloan (@WillSloanEsq) September 29, 2020
no disrespect to selling out, but i simply cannot fathom choosing a *CGI lion king sequel* as your money project. barry jenkins could do anything! anything!— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) September 29, 2020
To that last point, those concerned about a Lion King sequel eating up all of Jenkins’s creative time should maybe adopt Timon and Pumbaa’s problem-free philosophy. The Oscar-nominated director still has a little bit of anything and everything on his plate, starting with a planned biopic of celebrated Black choreographer Alvin Ailey for Searchlight, which is owned by Disney. He also recently completed production on an Amazon series based on the Pulitzer-prize winning history The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, and Steven Soderbergh recently announced that Jenkins will be overseeing a revival of The Knick, re-teaming him with his Moonlight collaborator André Holland. With all those projects in the works, you might say he’s no passing craze.
The Lion King is currently streaming on Disney+.
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