It’s the circle of life for The Lion King franchise because Disney not only greenlit a sequel, they also secured Moonlight director Barry Jenkins to direct the live-action film.
What’s known so far is that the flick will serve as a prequel into Mufasa’s backstory à la “The Godfather: Part II, set on the African plain with a continuation of the tradition of music that was a key part of the 1994 animated classic, the 2019 film and the blockbuster Broadway stage transfer,” according to Deadline. Currently, there’s no release date or actors confirmed this early in the development process.
The 2019 remake starring Beyoncé Knowles (Nala), Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), and James Earl Jones (Mufasa) earned $1.6 billion globally, giving way for the second installment to land a huge payday when it hits the big screen.
Tapping Jenkins and his impressive resume as the director is no accident. In addition to working on the blockbuster’s followup, he’s planning another project to direct a biopic for famed choreographer Alvin Ailey for Disney. The filmmaker’s earlier work includes the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, the highly acclaimed adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk and the limited series “Underground Railroad.”
And Jenkins seems excited about the opportunity, even as he’s been writing and directing a ton of projects elsewhere.
“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins told Deadline. “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.” I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.