Lion King 2 is on its way. Disney has hired Barry Jenkins, whose 2016 film Moonlight won three Oscars, including the best picture to helm the sequel to the 2019 photorealistic computer-animated remake of the traditionally animated, beloved 1994 original.
The Lion King writer Jeff Nathanson has written an initial draft of the script for The Lion King 2, which will move the story forward while exploring the early years of Mufasa, Simba’s father.
There’s no word on the release date, and no new cast members have been announced, as no production date has been set.
Jenkins said in a prepared statement, “Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters.”
“Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love, and legacy while advancing my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”
Deadline first brought word of Jenkins’ hiring on The Lion King 2 which the Oscar winner shared on his Twitter account.
Even though there’s no release window for the sequel, it’s being labeled as a “top priority” for Disney, owing to the fact that the Jon Favreau remake made over $1.657 billion at the worldwide box office, the seventh biggest movie of all time despite lackluster reviews from most critics.
The Lion King holds a rotten 52 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and in our review, we called it a “visual upgrade lacking the Disney magic.”
Though there are no cast details one would expect many of the original voice actors to return, even those that died in the original since part of the sequel will technically be a prequel.
Jenkins has written and directed the 2018 Oscar-nominated If Beale Street Could Talk, and an Amazon Prime Video limited series adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s award-winning book The Underground Railroad, which is without a release window since the success of Moonlight,
He has also written a movie on American Olympic boxer Claressa Shields and another on the Netflix documentary Virunga.
Jenkins is also attached to The Knick season 3, a biopic of choreographer Alvin Ailey, for Disney’s Searchlight.