Disney's The Jungle Book 2 will use abandoned ideas from their original animated movie, as well as Rudyard Kipling's writing. The Mouse House has no shortage of profitable franchises and IPs. The MCU and Star Wars may get most of the attention, but their recent live-action retellings have consistently proven to be worthwhile ventures. They've already done Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Maleficent, Beauty and the Beast, and The Jungle Book, but that is only the beginning. The studio has plans to remake most of their animated tales, but also expand upon them.
Because these movies make so much money, Disney has proven to be very interested in making more movies in each of these universes. Jungle Book is no exception, with Disney having announced Jungle Book 2 as a project that's officially in development now. It may still be a few years before the sequel manifests since returning director Jon Favreau is currently focused on The Lion King, but preparations are being made all the same. Writer Justin Marks is also coming back to pen the second live-action Jungle Book, and he's provided a tease of where the story will go.
Slashfilm spoke to Justin Marks at the TCA press tour and asked him about the status of The Jungle Book 2. The sequel is currently in the screenwriting stage, with Marks confirming that he has already finished an early script draft. The live-action Jungle Book did not end the same way as its animated predecessor, so a sequel could wind up going in an unexpected direction. That said, the 1967 animated Jungle Book is providing inspiration in other respects, according to Marks:
In the second film, the idea is to go further through the Kipling but also go into some of the Disney resources from the ’67 film that maybe didn’t get to see the light of day in the first film. If you look back to Bill Peet’s work on the original film, some of which was thrown out by Walt Disney, Jon [Favreau] and I really dove deep into the Disney archives to see some of the ideas. We were like, ‘Wait, that’s a great idea. We really need that in the film.’ So we’ve built it out like that.
What exactly they are pulling into the sequel isn't clear yet, and Marks doesn't appear to be interested in teasing how the story progresses at this point. It is still nice to see Marks and Favreau showing so much interest in pulling as much from the animated film and Kipling's work as possible. They won't be beholden to adapting any single storyline either, thanks to the changes they made in the first live-action Jungle Book. The 1967 animated film ends with Mowgli leaving to live with other humans, but the live-action tale ends on a much happier note, with Mowgli finding his place within the jungle.
Additional details on Jungle Book 2 may have to wait, however. With Lion King not coming out till next summer, Favreau will be completely wrapped up in that world for the time being. That should give Marks plenty of time to hammer out his script. Once Favreau can turn his attention to Jungle Book 2, the filming and creation of the sequel will still take plenty of time, given the prominence of CGI. Neel Sethi is hoping to return, but the longer the wait, the more it may have to change the story as Sethi ages. If he does return, hopefully the impressive voice cast of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, and others will reprise their roles too.