Mystery director for live action Lion King sequel revealed.


Amanda Edwards/Getty Images; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Photofest

Barry Jenkins casted to direct the Lion King live action sequel

We have all said at one point in our lives the treasured phrase: hakuna matata.

If you haven’t, you might be wondering what it means or where it comes from.  This line translates simply to “no worries”.  And worry no more about a live action Lion King sequel because it is on its way.

There was never much doubt there would be sequel after the first brought in an outstanding $1.657 billion.  However, the movie itself did not get as much critical and fan acclaim that it was hoping for.  This was very surprising because the film presented itself with a phenomenal cast, great director, and amazing CGI effects, but the next go around with the sequel will be much different, starting with the director.

When the news came out about the new director, it was a big surprise to everyone.  The Lion King 2 will be directed by Oscar winner director Barry Jenkins.  Now, for those who know who he is, let that sink in for a moment.  For those who do not, Barry Jenkins was the director of Moonlight which won Best Picture and more in 2016. He is also the director and writer for If Beale Street Could Talk which  won Best Adapted Screenplay.  Barry Jenkins was not expected to direct because of his experience and types of movies, which are not adaptations of old Disney films.

Poster for The Lion King live action which was released in 2019. (

There are many rumors going around as to why Jenkins would direct this considering his previous work.  First, some believe that Jenkins is in it for the money.  This opportunity I am sure came with a great deal of money, and with that Jenkins is able to direct more movies that are more of his style and type.  However, there is much more to the film than just money for Jenkins.  Jenkins said in an interview, “Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters, 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.”  I think either way, the choice was a good one.

Although this news is surprising, I along with many believe that it will be great for the film.  Barry Jenkins is one of the best directors out there, so I would not be surprised if this movie is critically acclaimed and does much better than the first.  However, there will be many aspects of the film changed.

This film is not going to be just like the films from the 90’s.  It will be a continuation of the 2019 film, but will not be the same as the animated sequel The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride which was released in 1998.  It could similar, but this upcoming film will continue the story line while looking back into the past.  Thanks to Deadline, we know “that the story will further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story. Moving the story forward while looking back conjures memories of The Godfather: Part II, set on the African plain…”  Hearing that this film will feature a Godfather sort of story line is music to my ears.  I think we can expect a great story.

With a great deal of the cast set to return such as Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, and Seth Rogen, this film will be in great shape.  And now with the addition of Barry Jenkins, this movie will present itself with another chance to blow away the box offices and viewer’s minds.