Disney must be very, very happy with Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book right now. The live-action remake is currently rocking a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and early projections predict it’ll soon join the $1 billion club after it comes out this Friday. With all this excellent pre-release buzz, it should hardly come to any surprise that Disney is already setting up a sequel under their banner. After all, what would Disney be without a sequel to one of their successful films? And it looks like they want to keep a good thing going with Favreau is talks to return to the director’s chair.
TheWrap reported on the sequel news. In addition to Favreau returning to direct and produce the new film, screenwriter Justin Marks is also coming back to pen the continued adaptation of Rudyard Kupling’s beloved text of the same name. Lead child star Neel Sethi, additionally, is slated to come back on screen, and voice actors Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson and Lupita Nyong’o are also expected to lend their voices for a second round. It’s one big, wild reunion in the works here.
This, of course, isn’t the only live-action adaptation sequel in the works under Disney’s name, as they also have Alice Through the Looking Glass scheduled for May 27 and a Maleficent sequel rumored since the original’s release. And this is in addition to the countless other re-imaginings in the works at the moment, including a Pete’s Dragon remake on August 12 and a new Beauty and the Beast on March 17, 2017. And while I’ll had some problems with Favreau’s latest (I’ll talk more about them in my review later this week), I’ll admit that this and last year’s Cinderella are definitely a step in the right direction for this new sub-genre from the studio.
They certainly feel more inspired, heartfelt and far less cynically produced than 2010’s Alice in Wonderland or 2014’s ill-fated aforementioned Maleficent, and I can only hope they continue to get better as they go along. I feel like Pete’s Dragon, in particular, could truly be something special, and I wish nothing but the best for Favreau and his team moving forward with this sequel.