The Lion King 2, following up 2019’s live-action film is set to be directed by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins.
Following last year’s blockbuster, the Walt Disney Studios film will be directed by Jenkins who won the Oscar for scripting the Best Picture winner Moonlight and was nominated for adapting If Beale Street Could Talk. Jeff Nathanson who scripted the first film will be back for this installment as well.
The film will continue to use the photo-realistic technology that director Jon Favreau used in the 2019 film and 2016’s The Jungle Book. It is expected that The Lion King 2 is not looking to directly adapt one of the animated movie’s follow-ups. No release has been set yet and the storyline is still under wraps. However, it has been reported that the story is a prequel that will further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.
One of this era’s most acclaimed directors, Jenkins’ involvement in the second installment of the classic is a surprise given that he is best known for smaller, character-driven dramas. This will be his first time working in big-budget fare and this makes The Lion King 2 a very intriguing prospect.
While the first film was a financial success noted for its technical aspects, it was critiqued for its superficial retelling of the iconic original; the hope is that Jenkins will bring more heart and emotion to the second film. This will be Jenkins’ second film project at Disney, as he is also planning to direct a biopic of famed choreographer Alvin Ailey for Searchlight. Further, he has completed an Amazon limited series adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s National Book Award and Pulitzer-winning The Underground Railroad, writing several of the episodes and directing all of them.
He has also scripted a drama based on the first American female Olympic boxing champ, Clarissa “T-Rex” Shields, and an adaptation of Netflix documentary Virunga, about the battle to save the Congo’s mountain gorilla population. The last installment’s voice cast included Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, Alfre Woodard, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Seth Rogen, and Chance the Rapper, among other notable names. There is no immediate word on the cast for this follow-up.
It remains to be seen how The Lion King 2 will turn out, but Jenkins’s involvement does inject some excitement into the project. What are your thoughts on The Lion King 2? How do you expect Jenkins’s involvement will freshen up the script without taking away the magic of the original? Comment below!