hakuna matata
September 29, 2020

Be prepared for another live-action Lion King.

A follow-up to Disney's 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King is in the works, and Moonlight filmmaker Barry Jenkins will direct it, Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter reported on Tuesday. The screenwriter behind the 2019 film, Jeff Nathanson, has reportedly already finished a draft of the script, per Deadline.

Jenkins confirmed the news on Twitter and in a statement, saying, "Helping my sister raise two young boys during the '90s, I grew up with these characters. 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 2019 remake of The Lion King was directed by Jon Favreau, and it grossed a whopping $1.6 billion, becoming the seventh highest-grossing movie of all time despite receiving middling reviews. The original animated Lion King was followed by the direct-to-video The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and The Lion King 1½.

Deadline says Jenkins' movie will be "moving the story forward while looking back," and Variety reports it will "partly focus on the early years of Mufasa." The Lion King is the latest remake from Disney to get another installment; a follow-up to 2019's Aladdin is also in the works, and the 2017 Beauty and the Beast remake is getting a Disney+ prequel series about LeFou and Gaston.

Jenkins' 2016 film Moonlight previously won the Academy Award for Best Picture — though famously, La La Land was first wrongly announced to have won — and he followed that up with another acclaimed film in 2018, If Beale Street Could Talk. Should his Lion King movie go on to win any Oscars, let's just hope they read the right winner the first time. Brendan Morrow

July 31, 2020

Beyoncé is feeling the love from fans after dropping her latest visual album.

Disney+ on Friday debuted Black Is King, a new film that Beyoncé wrote, directed, and produced based on music from her 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift. Hitting Disney+ about a year after the Lion King remake, Black Is King "reimagines the lessons of The Lion King for today's young kings and queens in search of their own crowns," and in it, "the voyages of Black families, throughout time, are honored in a tale about a young king's transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity," Disney said.

Beyoncé on Thursday explained that her hope with the project was "that it shifts the global perception of the word Black, which has always meant inspiration and love and strength and beauty to me." She added, "Black Is King means black is regal and rich, in history, in purpose, and in lineage." After the project was announced in June, Beyoncé wrote on Instagram that "the events of 2020 have made the film's vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey."

The visual album features a dedication to Beyoncé's son, Sir Carter, as well as to "all our sons and daughters," with text on screen reading, "The sun and the moon bow for you. You are the keys to the kingdom." Early reviews are as positive as you'd expect, with Deadline calling the "excellent" film a "poignant and ardent mixtape and a further evolution of an American artist." The film is now streaming on Disney+. Brendan Morrow

April 25, 2017

The Lion King's beloved warthog-meerkat duo of Pumbaa and Timon could be voiced by comedians Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner in the upcoming live-action remake. The Wrap revealed Tuesday that Rogen and Eichner are reportedly in "final negotiations" to sign onto the film that's being directed by Jon Favreau. Rogen would voice Pumbaa and Eichner would take the part of Timon.

Donald Glover has already agreed to voice Simba, and James Earl Jones will reprise his role from the 1994 animated film as Mufasa. Favreau is reportedly trying to convince Beyoncé to voice Nala.

Disney announced Tuesday that the film is slated to come out on July 19, 2019. Get ready to (hopefully) hear Rogen and Eichner belt out "Hakuna Matata." Becca Stanek

June 11, 2014

Frozen be damned. Just after being topped by Disney's wintry mega-hit for top-grossing animated film of all time, the Lion King crew is making a comeback — this time coming to TV screens near you.

Disney announced a new addition to the Lion King franchise, The Lion Guard, which will begin with a TV movie in the fall of 2015. After that, The Lion Guard will become a television series, premiering in early 2016 on both Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

While Pride Rock's old favorites (think Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, and Zazu) will all make appearances in the animated spinoff, The Lion Guard's main plot will follow Kion, Simba and Nala's second-born son, as he leads a group called the Lion Guard in protecting the Pride Lands. There will also be some new additions to the usual feline-centric crowd, such as a honey badger, a hippo, and an egret — a deliberate move, as Disney said The Lion Guard will address conservation as an overall theme of the show. Kimberly Alters

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