The live-action remake of Jungle Book grossed nearly a billion dollars at the box office, so no one was really surprised when Disney announced a sequel. However, there are some differences when it comes to the Disney feature we remember as kids and the one that was in theaters recently. The big one is the ending, and when /Film was at the TCAs, they spoke to writer Justin Marks about the differences and where they are going to draw inspiration from for this sequel.
"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," Marks said. "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."
Marks reveals that he has finished the first draft of the second film, and they are looking to draw from other Kipling material for this movie.
"There is so much more Kipling to adapt," Marks said. "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 big change from the original Disney production and the one from 2016 is the ending. Mowgli doesn't return human society and instead stays with the animals in the jungle. That opens up the story for the sequel to go in different directions.
"I won't get into spoilers," Marks said. "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."
There isn't a release date for The Jungle Book 2 and director Jon Favreau is currently working on the live-action remake for The Lion King, so we don't know when this movie would happen. Regardless, it sounds like they want to go somewhere different for the sequel instead of playing it safe.