Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book doesn’t hit theaters until this weekend, but early reviews from critics have been overwhelmingly positive and suggest some good times to be had by all — including the box office. As such, Disney is looking to continue these good times by developing a sequel.
According to THR, the Mouse House is in talks with Favreau and his screenwriting partner Justin Marks to return for The Jungle Book 2 reprising their directing and writing duties, respectively. The plan is to dive deep into the various stories of Rudyard Kipling, of which there are many, to adapt the next chapter.
The Jungle Book, hitting theaters this Friday, sees a mixture of live action and CG. Neel Sethi takes the lead role of Mowgli, the man cub raised by wolves in the wilderness. The film features the A-list voice talents of Bill Murray as the bear Baloo, Scarlett Johansson as the snake Kaa, Ben Kingsley as the black panther Bagheera, Idris Elba as the tiger Shere Khan, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o as mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as alpha wolf Akela. With movement on a sequel in such early stages, there’s no word on who among the cast will return, though we can expect more Sethi.
Meanwhile, off in another part of Hollywood, master of mo-cap Andy Serkis filmed his directorial debut, which is a darker take on the source material called Jungle Book: Origins. Touting motion-capture performances from the likes of Christian Bale (Bagheera), Cate Blanchett (Kaa), Benedict Cumberbatch (Shere Khan), and Serkis himself (Baloo), the film was recently delayed a year, now set for release on October 19, 2018. Favreau was able to shoot the majority of his film on stages in L.A., so while perhaps it wouldn’t take too long to organize and shoot a sequel, it’s not the best news for the rival project. Pretty soon the only thing we’ll think about when we hear Jungle Book will be Disney.