Despite much skepticism that 2014 release Paddington would remain true to the good-natured character, the film surprised moviegoers and critics alike with its wit and heart (read our review), to the tune of $259 million at the worldwide box office. Of course, talk of a sequel soon followed.
However, maintaining the tone of Paddington in a follow-up could prove tricky. After all, most were surprised a live-action film based on Michael Bond's books worked at all. Now fans can rest easy that the sequel appears to be in good hands.
According to Deadline, Paul King will return to write and direct the sequel. He will work with actor/writer Simon Farnaby -- who appeared as Barry in the first film -- to develop the story for the follow-up. King similarly worked with Hamish McColl (Johnny English Reborn) on the first Paddington. Before that film, his only previous feature was the low-budget 2009 comedy Bunny and the Bull, which starred Farnaby in the lead.
Although the project is considered a priority, the studio is reportedly allowing King ample time to develop the story before Paddington 2 enters production. As such, no cast members have been confirmed just yet, though stars Ben Whishaw (who voiced Paddington), Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville would likely reprise their roles. Having King in place is perhaps one of the most important steps to getting the film together - and ensuring that the sequel matches the tone and sophistication of the first Paddington.
Paddington is widely consider to be among the best and most wholesome family releases to hit theaters in the past couple years - and hopefully, its success will lead Hollywood to be more willing to take a similar approach to other properties in the near future. The upcoming release of The Peanuts Movie, by most accounts, could be the next film to fill this void, and news that a Paddington sequel is not only on its way but retaining its original filmmaker, is likewise encouraging.
Are you excited that King will return to write and direct the sequel to last year's Paddington? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on Paddington 2 as this story develops.