The circle of life, indeed.
Disney is staying in The Lion King business, tapping Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk director Barry Jenkins to helm a follow-up to Jon Favreau’s 2019 photorealistic remake, ET can confirm.
The 1994 animated classic spawned its own franchise, including sequels The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and The Lion King 1½, while the “live-action” version has already birthed its own follow-up, of sorts, in Beyoncé’s Black Is King.
“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said in a statement. “Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”
Considering Favreau’s version made more than a billion dollars at the global box office, it’s no surprise that the studio wants a follow-up — and indeed, it is being billed as a “follow up” and not a sequel. Deadline, who broke the news, reports Jenkins’ take will “further explore the mythology of the characters” and may include an origin story for Mufasa.
No word yet on whether the voice cast — which included Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, as well as Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and more — will return. Jeff Nathanson, who scripted the 2019 version, is also writing the follow-up.
Perhaps the best part of the news was the response from Jenkins’ partner and fellow director, Lulu Wang, who celebrated by tweeting a video of the couple’s dog, Chauncey, being Simba-ed to the tune of “Circle of Life.”
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