‘Lion King’ sequel officially in the works with director Barry Jenkins

The “Circle of Life” continues for Disney hit “The Lion King.”

A little over a year since releasing the hugely profitable CGI reboot of the 1994 animated classic, Walt Disney Studios has confirmed a sequel is in the works.

The Oscar-winning screenwriter and director of “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins, will direct, and Jeff Nathanson, who scripted the 2019 “Lion King,” will also write the sequel, Deadline reported.

“This. Yes, THIS,” Jenkins, 40, tweeted on Tuesday, linking to the Deadline article.

The new installment will use the same photorealistic technology director Jon Favreau utilized for last year’s production and 2016’s “Jungle Book” reboot.

There’s no word yet on the release date or the cast. In 2019’s “Lion King,” voice actors included the likes of Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, John Oliver, Donald Glover, Amy Sedaris and Chance the Rapper, with original music by Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.

While the original animated film’s 1998 sequel, “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride,” focused on Simba’s daughter’s romance with a male lion from a pride once affiliated with Simba’s evil uncle Scar, the upcoming sequel will focus more on characters’ origins. Deadline reported that the story will “further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.”

While the remake destroyed opening weekend records last July and topped a Disney-dominated summer box office, not everyone was a fan of its futuristic animation style. Some critics found it to be astonishing, but animators of the old-school original critiqued that the characters’ eyes lacked emotion and that the performances felt weak and wooden.

“There is a huge resentment against these 3-D remakes from the original 2-D crews,” one animator who worked on the 1994 film told the Huffington Post last summer. “Maybe if we got any kind of royalties it would be different,” an anonymous animator added.

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