Disney’s live-action remake of their classic animated movie The Jungle Book turned out to be a raging success when it hit theaters in 2016, skirting a $1 billion dollar box office gross and winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. It’s no surprise, then, that the House of Mouse is working on a sequel.
Luckily for the filmmakers, there’s some material to mine when it comes to finding a new story to fuel a second outing. The first movie was based on Rudyard Kipling’s classic of the same name and it just so happens that the author also wrote a follow-up, The Second Jungle Book, which has rarely been brought to the screen.
It also turns out that the sequel will look to deleted scenes and ideas from the 1967 animated movie for inspiration. Screenwriter Justin Marks spoke at the TCA press tour recently and explained how he and director Jon Favreau are putting together the story for the pic.
“In the second film, the idea is to go further through the Kipling but also go into some of the Disney resources from the ’67 film that maybe didn’t get to see the light of day in the first film. If you look back to Bill Peet’s work on the original film, some of which was thrown out by Walt Disney, Jon [Favreau] and I really dove deep into the Disney archives to see some of the ideas. We were like, ‘Wait, that’s a great idea. We really need that in the film.’ So we’ve built it out like that.”
It’s common knowledge for Disney buffs that Walt Disney didn’t like the darker tone of Kipling’s The Jungle Book and pushed for the toe-tapping, family-friendly musical that was ultimately made. However, the live-action film already instilled much of that more mature material back into the storyline, so we’re not sure what Marks and Favreau have up their sleeves.
In fact, much about The Jungle Book 2 is unknown right now. As Favreau is currently working on another live-action remake for Disney – this time, The Lion King – there’s no set release date for the sequel as yet. Seeing as Neel Sethi is expected to reprise his role as Mowgli, though, the studio may want to get their skates on before the young actor ages too much.
As always, we’ll keep you posted as further updates arise.