5:00 pm EDT, April 12, 2016

Live-action ‘The Jungle Book 2’ already in the works at Disney

With only a few days to go until Disney’s live-action Jungle Book opens in theaters in the United States, the studio has already set in motion plans for Jungle Book 2.

The news follows stellar reviews of Jon Favreau’s Jungle Book from critics. The movie is currently cruising at a 100% average on Rotten Tomatoes, because it reportedly appeals to viewers of all generations. The CGI is simply gorgeous, too (but you already knew that).

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The Hollywood Reporter says that director Jon Favreau and producer Justin Marks are in negotiations to return to direct and produce the sequel. Presumably many of the cast including young Neel Sethi, who is the only actor physically appearing in the movie, will return as well.

It’ll be interesting to see what direction Disney takes their live-action Jungle Book story. We assume the movie is not going to based on the animated sequel The Jungle Book 2. According to a synopsis from Google for that movie (sorry, we had to share this one because we forget what happens), “Wild child Mowgli (Haley Joel Osment) has grown fidgety with his life in a rural village. So he sneaks back to the jungle to be with his animal friends, like lovable bear Baloo (John Goodman). Mowgli’s disappearance worries his family, so his stepsister, Shanti (Mae Whitman), journeys into the jungle to find him. But all is not well there. Mowgli’s old foe, the fierce tiger Shere Khan (Tony Jay), is out to get him, and he traps Mowgli, Shanti and Baloo in an ancient temple.”

Disney is also working on a sequel to their live-action Maleficent, and this summer they’ll be releasing their live-action Alice in Wonderland sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. “If [making sequels] ain’t broke, don’t [stop making them],” as they say.

The Jungle Book 2 may be bad news for Warner Brothers and Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins, which was pushed back to 2018 last week and then retitled Jungle Book this week. If the sequel to Disney’s Jungle Book opens within a year of WB’s Jungle Book, theatergoers will probably be very confused by all the Jungle Books. And I’m being generous — even a gap of two years would be confusing.

Serkis seems really passionate about Jungle Book: Origins, if his recent post on Facebook is any indication (“What we are attempting is an unprecedented level of psychological and emotional nuance,” he said), so it’d be a shame for WB to drop it. Then again, it’d be weird for two Jungle Book franchises to be going on simultaneously.

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