A new Lion King film is in the works at Disney, to be helmed by Barry Jenkins, the award-winning filmmaker behind Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk.
According to a report by Variety, the new movie will be a continuation of the 2019 photorealistic adaptation and not of the 1994 animated classic.
While there was a direct-to-video animated sequel released in 1998 entitled The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, this new project does not seem to be an adaptation of that story. Sources say that the new movie will focus on the early life of Mufasa, the father of Simba, whose heartbreaking death was a pivotal event in the movie.
Jenkins said that he is eagerly looking forward to expanding on the story of friendship, love, and legacy while also continuing his growing body of work focused on “the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora.”
This will be Jenkins’ second film project with Disney because he is also planning to direct a biopic of renowned choreographer Alvin Ailey.
Jeff Nathanson (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), who wrote the script for the 2019 film, will return for the sequel, having already completed a first draft, according to Deadline.
The all-star voice cast for the 2019 film included Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen and as Timon and Pumbaa and James Earl Jones as Mufasa. There is no confirmation yet if any of these stars will be returning for the sequel.
So far, Disney has not yet announced a release date for this sequel as the special-effects heavy production has yet to begin.
Jenkins’ partner, director Lulu Wang, shared the news on Twitter with a clip of the first notes of “Circle of Life” and a puppy being raised to the camera, as an homage to the opening scene of the film.