‘Moonlight’ director Barry Jenkins tapped to helm ‘Lion King’ prequel

Reportedly set to tell Mufasa's backstory

Moonlight filmmaker Barry Jenkins will be directing a follow-up to 2019 live-action remake The Lion King for Disney, it’s been reported.

The director, who won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2017, has been hired to helm a new film in the franchise, after Favreau’s 2019 reboot of the Disney animated classic.

“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins told Deadline.

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“Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”

The publication also confirmed Jenkins’ film would also use photo-realistic technology Favreau used in the 2019 film and his 2016 Jungle Book remake.

An initial draft of the script has been completed by Jeff Nathanson, who wrote Favreau’s film. Plot details are being kept under wraps but it could reportedly focus on “the mythology of the characters” and Mufasa’s origin story.

The voice cast for the 2019 film included Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard and Eric Andre.

There is no confirmation yet about which actors will reprise their roles, nor has a release date been set yet.

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Barry Jenkins most recently directed If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. The filmmaker is also working on a biopic of choreographer Alvin Ailey with Disney, and has just completed for Amazon a limited series adaptation of The Underground Railroad.

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