“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the Nineties, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said in a statement. “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.”
Variety first reported the follow-up film, which will be a continuation of the 2019 photorealistic remake rather than the 1994 animated original. (The Nineties animated film has already received two sequels, 1998’s The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and 2004’s The Lion King 1 1/2, both of which were released direct-to-video.) Jon Favreau directed the 2019 reboot, which earned over $1.5 billion at the global box office despite mixed reviews.
The new sequel will reportedly focus on the early years of Mufasa, Simba’s father. Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the screenplay for the 2019 Lion King, will also pen the new film. Disney has yet to announce which, if any, of the 2019 film’s cast members — including Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Billy Eichner, Seth Rogan and James Earl Jones — will return for the sequel.
In recent years, Disney has produced several financially successful reboots of its classic animated films, including Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Dumbo. Earlier this year, the company announced that its 2019 Aladdin reboot would also receive a sequel.
Jenkins recently wrapped production on The Underground Railroad, an Amazon limited series adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s novel of the same name. The director has also announced plans for a biopic of cinematographer Alvin Ailey.