Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a recurring trend from Disney. As it continues to create live-action remakes of beloved animated films, from Cinderella to Aladdin to The Jungle Book, these remakes have raised varying opinions from audiences.
The live-action remake of the original The Lion King is no exception. There was undoubtedly great hype around the movie; it had a star-studded cast, CGI technology and a great soundtrack. Once it hit theaters, The Lion King became the second highest-grossing movie of 2019, according to CBS News. It raked in an incredible $543.6 million at the domestic box office. The remake received mixed reviews from critics and fans.
According to the well-known review website, Rotten Tomatoes, The Lion King received a 52% from movie critics and a 88% rating from audience reviews. However, The Lion King's popularity in the box office and general audience appraisal left fans wanting more. Hakuna Matata, no worries, Disney announced there will be a second live-action remake, The Lion King 2.
There is already a sequel to the animated version of The Lion King, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. However, the live-action sequel will carry an original plotline. The new narrative will focus on Simba's father, Mufasa and his origin story. The plot will also develop the mythology of the current characters instead of expanding many new ones.
There has been no confirmation of who will be returning from the cast. It is logical to assume Disney will bring back actors that fit like James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Billy Eichner as Timon and Seth Rogen as Pumba.
One known change will be the director of the movie. Director Jon Favreau won’t be returning and writer-director Barry Jenkins will be stepping in. Jenkins is well known for directing If Beale Street Could Talk and Academy Award-winning Moonlight.
The release date of The Lion King 2 has yet to be confirmed. Considering there is currently no trailer, it is safe to guess it won't be in 2021. Disney announced earlier this week it will be redirecting more focus toward its streaming services. While they will not be totally abandoning theatrical releases, it raises the question if this movie will be launched in theaters or through Disney+. It would not be surprising, as Disney decided to move their upcoming Pixar movie, Soul, from a theater release to a Disney+ release instead.
The CGI technology and photo-realistic portrayal bring a loved animated film to life. It is exciting to see how this new story involving favorite characters will unfold and introduce new music, hopefully, along the way. As we eagerly await an official release date and trailer, put on The Lion King soundtrack and dance around like you’re on top of Pride Rock.