It wasn’t terribly surprising when Disney revealed they were planning The Jungle Book 2, with the sequel in development just days before The Jungle Book hit theaters. The Jungle Book would go on to be one of the biggest box office hit in 2016, bringing in $364 million domestic and $966.5 million worldwide, from a $180 million budget. While promoting his new Starz TV series Counterpart, screenwriter Justin Marks shed some new light on this sequel. Here’s what the writer had to say about how this sequel will continue to explore other aspects of the Rudyard Kipling novel.
“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, (director 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.”
The first Jungle Book movie didn’t explore every aspect of the Rudyard Kipling story, which was expanded with the author’s sequel book as well, so there is plenty more material to adapt for The Jungle Book 2 and other subsequent sequels. The writer revealed that he recently completed a draft of the sequel’s screenplay, although there is no indication when production may happen. Here’s what the writer had to say below.
“There is so much more Kipling to adapt. I just finished a draft of it quite recently. Even in the first film, we really looked to the other Kipling stories for inspiration, The Elephant and the history and the mythology and the creation of the jungle.”
The Rudyard Kipling novel sequel dealt with Mowgli and his return to the world of men, although that isn’t exactly how director Jon Favreau ended the first film. When asked to divulge more about the sequel’s plot, Justin Marks refused to enter spoiler territory, but he hinted that the sequel may reflect the book sequel in some ways. Here’s what the writer had to say below.
“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.”
Disney set a number of release dates in the spring of 2016, with the studio confirming that one of those dates is for The Jungle Book 2, but it wouldn’t confirm which date it would be. It seems likely that the December 20, 2019 date would be the one used for The Jungle Book 2, although it remains unclear when filming may begin. Justin Marks revealed these details in a new interview with /Film.