Lion King 2 nabs Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, may explore Mufasa's past

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CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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The photorealistic Lion King movie from 2019 is getting a sequel.

Walt Disney Studios

Get ready to return to the Pride Lands. A sequel to 2019's photorealistic version of The Lion King is on the way, and Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Barry Jenkins will direct. Representatives for Jenkins and Disney confirmed the news via email Tuesday after Deadline broke the news.

"Helping my sister raise two young boys during the '90s, I grew up with these characters," Jenkins told Deadline. "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 Lion King sequel will use the same photorealistic look of the 2019 hit, as opposed to the straightforward animation of the 1994 film that first made cub-turned-king Simba, and his father, Mufasa, household names. According to Deadline, the story may explore Mufasa's origin story, and like the other two films, will feature music. The first film was turned into a long-running musical.

Jenkins both directed and co-wrote the 2016 drama Moonlight, which won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. He also wrote and directed 2018's If Beale Street Could Talk, based on the 1974 James Baldwin novel.

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