Disney has set its sights on expanding “The Lion King” franchise into a massive universe akin to “Star Wars.” Following the tremendous success of the 2019 live-action adaptation of “The Lion King,” which earned over $1.6 billion worldwide, a sequel is already in the works. However, Disney’s CEO has now hinted at the studio’s plans to explore a broader Lion King universe, similar to the expansive Star Wars saga.
In an interview with The New York Times, Sean Bailey, the president of Walt Disney Pictures, mentioned the potential for the Lion King franchise to evolve into “a big, epic saga” like Star Wars. Bailey expressed the belief that there’s ample storytelling potential within the Lion King universe. While specific details are still under wraps, this development suggests that Lion King may branch out into various mediums, including film and television. This strategy mirrors Disney’s approach with the Star Wars franchise, which has continuously expanded since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. Currently, there are three new Star Wars films in development, accompanied by an extensive lineup of TV shows.
While the full extent of this Lion King expansion remains uncertain, one project is already confirmed. “Mufasa: The Lion King,” a live-action prequel delving into the origins of Simba’s father, is in development, with acclaimed director Barry Jenkins at the helm. Aaron Pierre will portray a younger Mufasa, while Kelvin Harrison Jr. takes on the role of Scar, Mufasa’s brother. Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Kani are set to reprise their roles as Pumbaa, Timon, and Rafiki, respectively, from the 2019 adaptation.
It’s no surprise that Disney is eager to explore further live-action adaptations of The Lion King, given the success of the 2019 film and the upcoming Mufasa prequel. In recent years, Disney has prioritized live-action remakes of its beloved animated classics. This trend began with Jon Favreau’s 2016 adaptation of “The Jungle Book” and continued with films like “Aladdin” (2019), “Mulan” (2020), and “Cruella” (2021). The studio’s latest release, “The Little Mermaid,” directed by Rob Marshall and starring Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy, has already proven profitable, grossing $326 million globally.
Disney’s commitment to live-action remakes shows no signs of slowing down, with several projects in the pipeline. Upcoming adaptations include “Snow White,” featuring Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot, as well as potential retellings of more recent animated films such as “Lilo & Stitch” and “Moana.”
“Mufasa: The Lion King” is scheduled for release on July 5, 2024.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lion King franchise expansion
What is the Lion King franchise expansion?
The Lion King franchise expansion refers to Disney’s plans to broaden the Lion King universe into a larger, interconnected saga, similar to the expansive Star Wars franchise. Disney aims to explore new stories and potentially create additional films and television adaptations set within the Lion King universe.
Are there any upcoming Lion King projects?
Yes, there is a live-action prequel in development called “Mufasa: The Lion King.” Directed by Barry Jenkins, this prequel will delve into the origins of Simba’s father, Mufasa, and feature a new cast of actors portraying younger versions of the beloved characters. The film is set to be released on July 5, 2024.
How successful was the 2019 live-action adaptation of The Lion King?
The 2019 live-action adaptation of The Lion King was incredibly successful, generating over $1.6 billion at the global box office. The film’s commercial success has played a significant role in Disney’s decision to explore further expansion of the Lion King franchise.
Has Disney been focusing on live-action remakes of its animated films?
Yes, in recent years, Disney has placed a significant emphasis on producing live-action remakes of its classic animated films. This trend began with films like “The Jungle Book” (2016) and has continued with releases such as “Aladdin” (2019), “Mulan” (2020), and “Cruella” (2021). The studio has seen considerable success with these adaptations, leading to their continued exploration of the live-action format.
Are there any other live-action adaptations in the works from Disney?
Yes, Disney has several live-action adaptations in various stages of development. Some of the upcoming projects include “Snow White,” featuring Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot, and potential retellings of more recent animated films like “Lilo & Stitch” and “Moana.” Disney is actively expanding its live-action portfolio to cater to a diverse range of audiences.