The Lion King may have suffered from lukewarm reviews – to put it lightly – but the critical reception did nothing to harm the film’s box office takings, with Disney’s remake of the beloved classic reaching the billion-dollar mark in under three weeks. Of course, it ultimately went on to haul in a whopping $1.65 billion, ensuring that a sequel would soon be announced.
In fact, We Got This Covered told you last year that the studio was looking into doing another one and now, Deadline has confirmed our previous report, with the outlet revealing today that The Lion King 2 is officially in the works. The only thing is, Jon Favreau won’t be returning to direct. Which could be a good or a bad thing depending on how you felt about the first film.
Instead, Moonlight helmer Barry Jenkins will replace him behind the camera, with Jeff Nathanson – who penned the script for the 2019 remake – back on writing duties once more. No release date has been set, and it’s unclear who, exactly, from the cast will return, but we imagine that most of the major players will be back.
As far as plot details go, Deadline notes that “the story will further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.” While that’s certainly a bit vague, it’s not like the studio doesn’t have tons of material to draw from. The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, for instance, showed us what happened to Simba’s daughter Kiara, while The Lion King 1.5 followed Timon and Pumbaa’s solo adventures.
Whichever route they decide to head down, let’s just hope that Disney takes note of the criticisms that were directed at their remake of The Lion King back when it hit theaters. It wasn’t exactly a disaster and was certainly pretty to look at, but it lacked a lot of the heart and energy that made the original such a beloved classic.