Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins has signed on for a live-action Disney movie.
According to Deadline, Barry Jenkins, who is best known for directing the Academy Award-winning Best Picture Moonlight, will be directing a follow-up to Jon Favreau’s 2019 The Lion King.
“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said after the announcement. “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.”
The film will continue the photo-realistic technology displayed in Favreau’s The Lion King and his 2016 film The Jungle Book. As for the movie’s plot, that has yet to be announced. What we do know is that this follow-up will explore the origins of Simba’s father Mufasa. That said, the story will move Simba’s story further while taking moments to expand on Mufasa’s mythology.
Jenkins’ name is the first one officially tied to the project. The casting for this film’s voice cast has yet to be announced, though it would make sense that some of the cast from the 2019 movie would return. That cast included famous names like Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, James Ear Jones (who originated the role of Mufasa), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Eric Andre, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Amy Sedaris, and Chance the Rapper.
In addition, Barry Jenkin’s production company Pastel Productions is expected to join the project. This would bring on Jenkin’s work partners Adele Romanski and Mark Ceryak as producers for the film.
There’s currently no word on when Walt Disney Studios will begin production for this movie. But seeing as the 2019 film earned $1.6 billion worldwide (despite receiving mixed reviews), this Lion King prequel/sequel will surely be a top priority for Disney.