It’s been more than five years since author Rudyard Kipling’s timeless classic titled “The Jungle Book” came to theaters. The film, brought to life by director and producer Jon Favreau, clearly won everyone’s hearts, for the movie raked in nearly a billion dollars at the box office globally.
The movie beautifully portrays the story of a little boy, Mowgli, brought up by a loving, tightly-knit wolf pack in the lush, verdant, and diverse ecosystem of an Indian jungle. It tells the story of how Mowgli adapts to the nuances of being the only human in a jungle of hostile, speaking animals of many species.
Even today, The Jungle Book is revered as one of the best movie adaptations to come from Disney Studios. Since the movie is so popular, it’s not unusual to expect that the production giant will soon be releasing a highly-anticipated sequel. Let’s dive into everything we know so far about The Jungle Book 2.
Did Disney Confirm A Jungle Book 2 Release Date?
Unfortunately, there’s no specific release date, but it’s expected to be released in late 2022 to early 2023. However, production has been delayed earlier, so there’s no guarantee about the official release date.
Shortly after The Jungle Book was released in the summer of 2016, The Hollywood Reporter published an exclusive report. The report revealed the upcoming Disney blueprint for live-action adaptations of its biggest animated hits including Dumbo and Jungle Book 2, among others.
The anticipated release dates of Disney’s ambitious mission to reimagine classics as live-action adaptations, varied from mid-2017 to late-2019. The studio sources who spoke with THR had confirmed that the Jungle Book sequel would be released within that time frame.
Later that same year, Favreau announced that he would be directing the live-action adaptation of The Lion King, a 1994 animated classic from the House of Mouse. He told the publication Collider that he would make two movies one after the other.
He stated that he would commence production of The Jungle Book 2 project once The Lion King would be released. However, in March 2017, it was reported that Favreau had paused work on the sequel to devote his time and efforts toward ensuring The Lion King remake would be smooth-sailing.
Favreau then went on to concentrate on other projects, including The Mandalorian, a Disney+ original. So, while concrete dates haven’t been fixed, we could expect to see the sequel soon, considering the popularity and revenue amassed by the first movie.
Who Will Be In The Jungle Book 2 Cast?
Fans of the highly-anticipated sequel received fantastic news in October 2018, when Neel Sethi, the actor who played Mowgli in The Jungle Book, announced something big while speaking to Gulf News Tabloid! The actor said he would be open to renewing his contract as Mowgli for the sequel, no matter when it would officially begin production.
The talented Sethi was just ten years old when the first movie was filmed over five years ago. So, it will be interesting to see how his age will be worked into the character story and plot, as he’ll be a teenager when production eventually begins.
As for the rest of the computer-generated cast, it is rumored that most of the voice cast will be reprising their roles yet again. This includes Idris Elba as the villainous Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley as the velvety-voiced Bhageera, Bill Murray as the wholesome bear, Babloo, Lupita Nyong’o as Mowgli’s loving, adoptive mother Raksha, and several other big names. Scarlett Johanssen is also expected to return as the mysterious Kaa.
What Storyline Will Jungle Book 2 Follow?
Justin Marks, the brilliant screenwriter of Jungle Book, told the publication Slashfilm in 2018 that the production team would be turning to Rudyard Kipling’s original novel for the sequel. He added that they would look at original material that didn’t make it to the 1967 Disney animated movie.
According to Marks, Bill Peet’s original illustrations for the film, back in 1967, had some terrific ideas that would translate well into the sequel. Of course, he didn’t reveal a lot about the plot direction the sequel would take, but he referenced the fact that since the 2016 movie didn’t follow the book’s ending, the sequel would also be open for reinterpretation and twists.
At the end of The Jungle Book, Shere Khan falls into the fire after he attacks the pack of wolves and tries to kill Mowgli. He is presumed dead, and Mowgli once again regains the trust of his wolf family. They realize that he has their best interests at heart.
Once Mowgli puts out the fire he started, with a lit torch he had grabbed from the “man village,” his adoptive mother Raksha becomes the new leader of the wolf pack that raised him. While in Kipling’s book, Mowgli leaves the jungle to join the humans in the nearby Village, to lead a normal human life where he belongs. However, in the live-action version, Mowgli stays back in the jungle, deciding to use his human tricks and tactics for his use.
The sequel could further explore Mowgli’s life in the jungle with his true family – the wolves, Bagheera, and Babloo, or could divert back to the original ending, where he lives in the Village and transitions to a more normal life. It could also explore a premise where Shere Khan and Kaa come back for revenge.
The Bottom Line
While the official release dates are yet to be confirmed, we might see Disney beginning production soon. The sequel is slated to release later this year or in 2023 and will have an exciting new storyline that will include recreated scenes from the 1967 animated classic as well as Rudyard Kipling’s original book.
Like any other big-budget production, things including the plot, release date, and cast can change in the blink of an eye. So, only time will tell what the future holds for this box-office hit!