The Jungle Book, the latest in Disney’s live-action retellings of classic games, is heading for a big opening at the box office. Yet many who have seen it have noted how the live-action movie ends very differently from the animated classic. IGN talked with Director Jon Favreau about this.

WARNING! Major spoilers for the ending of Jungle Book ahead.

In the film, instead of leaving to go into the man-village via the girl he meets, Mowgli instead remains in the jungle with his friends and animal family. So why did Favreau change this?

“One was to leave room if we wanted to do more stories because I felt that the way the original one ends is a little bit unsatisfying in that it’s alluding to something but you kind of want to learn more and it doesn’t leave you necessarily with a happy feeling. I think the idea that Mowgli rejects the jungle is not the theme that I wanted – I wanted to show that you can be a human being and still be a part of the circle or life; you could either be destructive towards nature or you could be a steward of nature. And without being too much more specific decisions are made by Mowgli that establish that he has respect for the world around him and an appreciation for it and learns to be part of it without ever pretending to be part of the animal kingdom.

I think that if we could learn to live in harmony with nature there’s probably a good lesson for now, and if we don’t, it’s going to be a sad place because things are going to look a lot different in the next 100 years. And also ultimately I didn’t like the old ending when I was younger. It was a bummer to me. He left his friends because he was hypnotised by the song of this young girl?

But it also leaves us a lot of room if we want to move forward and do more chapters. There’s a lot of back-and-forth between Mowgli and the man-village in the Kipling – some of it gets pretty dark. But I think that at least giving us a clue as to what to explore it’s a good compass.”

Of the Disney retellings, Jungle Book is one of the few that could actually get a sequel, and if its debut and time at the box office allows it, it may just get it.

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