Barry Jenkins, the writer-director who recently came into prominence on the strength of 2016’s Oscar-winning Moonlight, has been selected by Disney to direct an upcoming, just announced, sequel to the photorealistic remake of The Lion King. The announcement was made in reports by entertainment trade publications like Deadline. Jenkins made a celebratory statement on Twitter.
The plot, cast, and release date for the upcoming The Lion King sequel are still yet to be revealed in even the haziest of details, but Deadline is reporting that Jeff Nathanson–who wrote the screenplay for the preceding 2019 film–has “completed an initial draft” of a script. The film might “further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.” The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the movie will be a prequel.
The voice cast for the 2019 reboot included Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa, and James Earl Jones as Mufasa. There are no indications yet of who might be returning for the sequel.
This is Jenkins’ second film project for Disney. He will also be directing a biopic of famed choreographer Alvin Ailey for Searchlight.
In a statement, Jenkins said of The Lion King: “Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters… 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.”
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