The Lion King 2 is in development at Disney, serving as a follow-up to 2019's The Lion King remake - here's what you need to know about the movie. Serving as a live-action version of the beloved 1994 animated classic, The Lion King became Disney's biggest remake yet when it debuted in 2019, grossing $1.6 billion worldwide despite mixed reviews, so it perhaps shouldn't be too surprising that the Mouse House is looking to capitalize on that.
Disney's live-action remakes have been a huge hit for the studio over the past decade, at a time when several of their own original franchise attempts have struggled, so it makes sense to instead turn these lucrative properties into franchises themselves. Both Aladdin 2 and The Jungle Book 2 have previously been reported to be in the works, and now The Lion King 2 is set to follow in their footsteps. Here's what's known so far about the Disney movie.
The Lion King 2 Is In Development At Disney
As reported in September 2019, The Lion King 2 is in the works at Disney. It's still the early stages of development, but is expected to be among the priorities for the studio, and Disney has hired Barry Jenkins to direct the film. Jenkins is an unexpected choice for the blockbuster, though an inspired one, with his Moonlight winning Best Picture at the Oscars and his follow-up, If Beale Street Could Talk, earning rave reviews. It's also expected that The Lion King 2 will once again utilize the same groundbreaking photorealism technology that helped make the animals in the first look so realistic.
The Lion King 2 Release Date
As it stands, The Lion King 2 doesn't have a release date, but a possible timeframe can be estimated by looking at the production of the previous movie. That was announced in September 2016, and released just under three years later in July 2019. While it's possible that The Lion King 2 will need slightly less time, given much of the technology now exists, it's not unreasonable to assume something similar. Disney already has several release dates staked out in 2023 for untitled live-action films - include May 26, July 14, and August 11 - which could fit, with the July date there the most likely of those, putting it close to the same date that worked so well for the first movie.
The Lion King 2 Cast
The Lion King 2's cast has yet to be confirmed, but there's a good chance that several actors will reprise their roles from 2019's The Lion King. There's no confirmation yet on which characters will be involved, but Mufasa is reportedly central to the story, which means James Earl Jones could voice the character yet again. That would also open the door for the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Alfre Woodard to return as Scar and Sarabi respectively. John Oliver's Zazu is another likely returnee, and the same goes for John Kani's Rafiki.
The Lion King 2 Story Details
Understandably given the early stage of development, not a huge deal is known about The Lion King 2's story, but what the reports do claim is that it'll be, at least in part, a prequel focused on Mufasa's backstory. It's likely that any such story would include his early life at Pride Rock, including his relationship with Scar and how the two brothers became great rivals, as well as perhaps further fleshing out the story of how Scar gets his scar. It can also show Mufasa developing a relationship with Sarabi, and presumably him being crowned King. It's unclear whether Simba's own story will continue, as it did in The Lion King's animated sequels; Deadline notes that it may be a The Godfather Part II style movie that crosses timelines, which would allow Disney even greater flexibility of making future Lion King installments.