Andy Serkis' Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is now available to stream on Netflix, and its success could ultimately greenlight a sequel. Warner Bros. originally announced plans to develop a live-action Jungle Book movie, based on Rudyard Kipling's iconic novel of the same name, though they wanted to produce a much more faithful adaptation of the story than audiences were perhaps used to.
For years, general audiences have associated The Jungle Book story with Disney's 1967 animated film and then Jon Favreau's live-action remake in 2016. Even though both of those movies were musicals that told their own versions of Kipling's story, they were still popular enough to convince viewers that they were the definitive versions of Mowgli's story.
Serkis aimed to change that notion by telling Mowgli's story in the dark way that it is. And while the movie spent years in development and then another few years in production and post-production, it finally released on Netflix. And now, its potential success could lead to a Mowgli sequel, because there are still plenty of more stories to tell.
There's More Jungle Book Story For Mowgli
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle does an admirable job of sticking to the source material wherever possible, and that's what makes it different compared to Disney's Jungle Book. However, there's still much more to do with Mowgli's story, seeing as Kipling's The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book also contain stories about when Mowgli is a teenager and his adventure with a jeweled object in the Cold Lairs. Plus, a lot of Mowgli's time in the jungle, as well as the individual stories with the Elephants and other animals, could become the foundation for a second Mowgli movie.
Mowgli's Netflix Release Makes A Sequel Tricky
Releasing Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle on Netflix makes a sequel a bit tricky, seeing as it's no longer just a WB production. Since Netflix holds distribution rights to Mowgli, it's unclear if they've also purchased distribution (and possible production) rights to the property as a whole. If so, then this makes a Mowgli sequel easy as Netflix can greenlight it if they choose.
But given that WB sold Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle to Netflix, it doesn't seem likely that they would want to push forward with a sequel on their own, let alone front the cost for making another movie. The most likely case is that Netflix just purchased the distribution rights to Mowgli itself, and so they would need to work with WB and trim the budget in order to move forward with a sequel. But if the film is popular enough, then they shouldn't be too concerned about its success.
When Would A Mowgli Sequel Release?
WB first announced plans to make a live-action Jungle Book movie in 2012, and it wasn't until 2014 that they hired Andy Serkis to direct, and then it took another year before the cast and crew were selected. And since then, it's taken another three years to see it finally release worldwide. So, even if a Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle sequel gets greenlit right away, it may take several years before it releases. If there's interest, though, it's certainly possible that it could happen, but Mowgli 2 doesn't appear to be on Netflix's radar just yet. If Mowgli 2 does happen, though, Netflix should try to release it before Favreau's Jungle Book 2 hits theaters.