Barry Jenkins has been tapped to direct a second Lion King movie! The news was first reported by Deadline on Tuesday, and the outlet suggests that the follow-up to Disney's 2019 photorealistic film— which made over a billion dollars at the box office— won't be a direct sequel.
Jenkins may get to explore "Mufasa's" origins in new film
Jenkins will be continuing to tell the Lion King story, but chances are good he'll be helping to fill in the gaps of the existing world! As Deadline has shared, the director will have the opportunity to "further explore the mythology of the characters." The outlet has suggested the possibility of the new Lion King delving into the origins of "Simba's" father, "Mufasa"!
At this point in time, it's unknown if any of the voice cast from last year's Lion King movie will be returning for the follow-up, including James Earl Jones as "Mufasa," who he also voiced in the 1994 animated original. The Lion King remake boasted a cast of celebrity voice actors that included Beyoncé as "Nala," Donald Glover as "Simba," Chiwetel Ejiofor as "Scar," Billy Eichner as "Timon," and Seth Rogen as "Pumbaa".
Jenkins shares statement about joining Lion King franchise
Jenkins released a statement about being given the chance to helm the Lion King follow-up, sharing why the story is close to his heart! "Helping my sister raise two young boys during the '90s, I grew up with these characters," he explained.
The director went on to talk about how the themes of The Lion King resonate with him as well. "Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true," Jenkins said.
In honour of the news that Jenkins will be directing the Lion King follow-up, Jenkins' partner— Lulu Wang, who directed last year's The Farewell— tweeted out a sweet video! In it, the couple's dog, Chauncey, can be seen getting the "Simba" treatment, lifted up while "The Circle of Life" plays! We're excited to see Jenkins' take on the world of the Lion King, and find out more about the upcoming follow-up to last year's hit movie!