Continuing its trend of transforming popular animated features of the past to live-action blockbuster hits, Disney has several such films planned for release in the coming years. In 2015, The Mouse House will debut Cinderella as well as Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, with a sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland coming in the following year. Additionally, Disney is working on a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast and a movie based on the 101 Dalmatians villain, Cruella de Vil.
While Cinderella has begun its major promotional push ahead of the film’s early 2015 release date, Favreau’s The Jungle Book isn’t too far behind. Although the movie based on Rudyard Kipling’s original novel is still in production, an official logo and concept art have been released.
Coming Soon debuted The Jungle Book’s official logo (above) while the official Disney Twitter account released initial concept art for the film. The Jungle Book tells the story of Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the jungle, who is forced to abandon his home.
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Favreau's film features an all-star cast including Bill Murray (St. Vincent) as Baloo, Ben Kingsley (The Boxtrolls) as Bagheera, Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) as Kaa, Christopher Walken (Peter Pan Live!) as King Louie, Idris Elba (Luther) as Shere Khan, Lupita Nyong'o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Raksha, and newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli.
Of Disney’s recent live-action retellings of classic stories, The Jungle Book seems to be taking the same route as Cinderella, rather than following Maleficent or Alice in Wonderland. As hinted by the concept art and logo, Favreau’s film will stick closely to the original story instead of adding a new dynamic in order to create something entirely fresh.
While The Jungle Book is both a classic and beloved story, it has also been adapted many times since Kipling’s novel was first published in 1894. And though Favreau will undoubtedly tell a compelling and visually stunning story, will it be enough to differentiate itself from the films that came before it - or those that will come after?
Since The Jungle Book is being produced by Disney, directed by Favreau, and features an all-star cast, the film has little chance of being a financial failure. Whether it will stand up critically, though, remains to be seen. Truthfully, it’s still too early in production on the film to be making those judgements.
The Jungle Book hits theaters October 9th, 2015.