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This year finally sees the release of Mowgli, Warner Bros' adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, but it hasn't even been a full two years since we were treated to a "live action" Jungle Book movie. In 2016, Disney released its own adaptation that was inspired by the studio's 1967 movie, and this latest version was so critically and commercially successful that a sequel was quickly ordered. There have been few updates for The Jungle Book 2 since then, but according to screenwriter Justin Marks, the next movie will include some material that was scrapped from Disney's first Jungle Book movie. As Marks revealed:
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.
Justin Marks also talked about how there's plenty of original source material that could be mined for The Jungle Book 2, whether looking at Kipling's sequel The Second Jungle Book or other short stories he wrote. It's possible that Marks and Jon Favreau may look in those areas for inspiration, too, but the men have definitely settled on incorporating elements that were tossed aside when Disney was tackling the story in animated form over five decades ago.
While speaking with Slashfilm during the Television Critics Association press event (where he was promoting his new Starz series, Counterpart), Justin Marks also addressed the fact that unlike Rudyard Kipling's original text, the new Jungle Book movie didn't end with Mowgli returning to live with his fellow humans. When asked if the sequel would delve into that territory, Marks responded:
I won't get into spoilers. The Kipling [story] ends with Mowgli returning to the man village, returning to man in some way. Obviously we wanted to suspend that at the end of the film, mostly because I felt like in a story of identity and appropriated identity, a boy from one world raised in another, it was important to Jon and it was important to me to tell a story about family being what you make of it, and identity being the people around you and that's who you are. So it didn't feel right to send him to another place, at least in the first film. A later film, maybe we reevaluate that.
Although the young Neel Sethi was the only primary actor to actually be seen in The Jungle Book, the remake featured an all-star voice cast that included Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Christopher Walken as Louie, Lupita Wyong'o as Raksha and Giancarlo Esposito as Akela. With Jon Favreau busy with The Lion King, it will presumably be a while until The Jungle Book 2 takes the next step forward in development, but at least Favreau and Justin Marks already have ideas on where they're going.
The Jungle Book 2 hasn't been assigned a release date yet, but keep it here at CinemaBlend for more updates on the sequel. In the meantime, you can look through our Disney movies guide to see what the Mouse House has coming up.