In April, Disney was so confident in Jon Favreau's live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book that it green-lit a sequel — bringing back Favreau and screenwriter Justin Marks — right after it captured #1 at the domestic box office in its opening weekend. The Jungle Book went on to earn a sensational 93% rating from "top critics" at Rotten Tomatoes and, more importantly, over $900 million at the worldwide box office.
What's his approach to the sequel? "For Jungle Book 2, it’s all about the story, all about the script, all about the characters and we’re working on that, and making a lot of progress and have some stuff that feels connected," Favreau told Collider. "Because you want it to feel like the first film. You want it to feel not like you’re doing a different genre a film because you’re doing another chapter, you want it to feel connected to the original."
On top of that, Disney also hired Favreau in September to helm their live-action reimagining of The Lion King, so he'll be spending the next several years working on both projects back-to-back. Favreau believes the amount of time and concentration it took to work on the first two Iron Man films helped prepared him for the daunting challenge that lies ahead.
"I think we’re kind of learning a lot about how this all works right now I’m kind of full bore into developing the tools to tell the story for Lion King, because you’re sort of developing whole new sets of tools for each production," he explained. "And right now in the story phase, getting the story right for Jungle Book 2. I don’t know. Right now the plan is that we go right from one into the other, but I know from having worked on two superhero movies back to back, these take many many many years. I was working on Marvel movies for like four years back-to-back. It’s a big chunk of your life and you have to make sure that you’re excited and can bring all of your attention and concentration to bear on this, because they are really big puzzles. Every film is a puzzle you have to solve — these highly technical ones are like 3D chess. There’s like a whole other level to it that has to be understood and learned."
Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, The Jungle Book is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong'o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. The Jungle Book seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world.