Lion King 2 Live-Action Prequel Movie Coming From Disney & Moonlight Director

3 weeks ago

The Lion King 2 is in development at Disney, with Moonlight director Barry Jenkins attached to helm. Over the past decade, Disney's found tremendous success producing live-action adaptations of their classic animated films. One of the most successful titles to come out of this initiative is last year's The Lion King, which wasn't a critical darling but still broke box office records en route to grossing over $1 billion worldwide. It was one of 2019's biggest commercial hits.

The live-action Lion King came out the same year Aladdin, another Disney reimagining, brought in $1 billion itself. Disney was quick to capitalize on that success by moving forward with an Aladdin 2 that won't be based on any of the animated sequels. This was a sign Disney was interested in developing franchises out of their retellings, and it looks like they're going this route with The Lion King.

Per Deadline, The Lion King 2 is now in development, with Jenkins directing. The Lion King writer Jeff Nathanson is returning to pen the followup's script. THR reports it will be a prequel depicting Mufasa's origin story. Right now, it's unknown when The Lion King 2 will begin production or when it will premiere.

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Given the first Lion King's financial success, it isn't surprising Disney is keen on continuing the property in some capacity. What is a bit of a shock is Jenkins' involvement as director, as he's best known for smaller, character-driven dramas such as Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk. This will be his first time working in big-budget fare, but his attachment makes The Lion King 2 a very intriguing prospect. Jenkins is already one of this era's most acclaimed directors, so it will be interesting to see what he brings to The Lion King 2. While the first film was notable for its impressive technical achievements, it was written off as a hollow retelling of the iconic animated movie. Ideally, Jenkins will be able to inject plenty of heart and emotion into the story so it connects with audiences.

It's probably for the best The Lion King 2 is not looking to directly adapt one of the animated movie's followups. A common critique for all of Disney's live-action remakes is that they lack the magic of the source material and do little more than just hit the expected story beats. It remains to be seen how The Lion King 2 turns out, but starting with a relatively clean slate should be beneficial for Jenkins, since he'll be able to tell the story he wants without having to be beholden to a previous movie. It's certainly unexpected for Jenkins to sign on for The Lion King 2, so there must be something about this project that excites him.

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