The Lion Guard
|The Lion Guard|
|Developed by||Ford Riley|
|Directed by||Howy Parkins|
|Opening theme||"Call of the Guard" performed by The Lion Guard Chorus|
|Ending theme||"Here Comes the Lion Guard" performed by Beau Black|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||25 (+ 1 pilot) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Ford Riley|
|Original release||November 22, 2015– present|
The Lion Guard is an American animated television series developed by Ford Riley based on Disney's 1994 film The Lion King. The series was first broadcast with a television movie, titled The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar on Disney Channel on November 22, 2015 and began airing as a TV series on January 15, 2016 on Disney Junior and Disney Channel. It is the second television series to be based on The Lion King, the first being Timon & Pumbaa (1995–1999). The Lion Guard is a sequel to The Lion King and takes place during the time-gap within the 1998 film, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
In March 2016, it was announced that the series has been renewed for a second season.
In March 2017, a third season of the series was commissioned.
The series centers around Kion, the son of King Simba and Queen Nala, the younger brother of Kiara and the prince of the Pride Lands, who, as second-born to the Lion King, becomes the leader of the Lion Guard, a team of animals who protect the Pride Lands and defend the Circle of Life. Kion, along with his friends Bunga the honey badger, Beshte the hippopotamus, Fuli the cheetah and Ono the egret, sets out to keep the Pride Lands safe and protected from animals who do not respect the Circle of Life.
- Kion (voiced by Max Charles): A lion cub who is Simba and Nala's son, Mufasa's grandson, Kiara's younger brother, the Prince of the Pride Lands, and the leader of the Lion Guard as well as its fiercest member. He serves as the main protagonist of the series.
- Bunga (voiced by Joshua Rush): A honey badger who is Kion's best friend and the bravest member of the Lion Guard. Bunga is Timon and Pumbaa's adoptive nephew.
- Beshte (voiced by Dusan Brown): A hippopotamus who is Kion's friend and the strongest member of the Lion Guard.
- Fuli (voiced by Diamond White): A King cheetah who is Kion's friend and the fastest member of the Lion Guard.
- Ono (voiced by Atticus Shaffer): A cattle egret who is Kion's friend and the keenest of sight of the Lion Guard.
The Lion King alumniEdit
The following characters from The Lion King movies appear in this series:
- Simba (voiced by Rob Lowe): A lion who is Mufasa's son, Nala's mate, Scar's nephew, and Kion and Kiara's father. He is the King of the Pride Lands. Simba and Bunga share a history of having lived with Timon and Pumbaa.
- Nala (voiced by Gabrielle Union): A lioness who is Simba's mate, and Kion and Kiara's mother. She is the Queen of the Pride Lands.
- Kiara (voiced by Eden Riegel): A lion cub who is Simba and Nala's daughter, Mufasa's granddaughter, Kion's older sister, Princess of the Pride Lands, and future queen.
- Timon (voiced by Kevin Schon): Simba and Pumbaa's wisecracking meerkat friend. Timon is Bunga's adoptive uncle. Schon previously voiced Timon in Timon & Pumbaa.
- Pumbaa (voiced by Ernie Sabella): Simba and Timon's warmhearted common warthog friend. Pumbaa is Bunga's adoptive uncle. Sabella reprises his role from The Lion King and its spin-offs.
- Rafiki (voiced by Khary Payton): A wise old mandrill who serves as a shaman for the lions of Pride Rock.
- Zazu (voiced by Jeff Bennett): Simba's majordomo Red-billed hornbill who supplies news via the morning report of the Pride Lands.
- Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones in Return of the Roar, Gary Anthony Williams in later episodes): Simba's father, and Kion and Kiara's paternal grandfather who was killed in the original film by a wildebeest stampede orchestrated by his younger brother Scar. Since his death, he lives on as a spirit that gives Kion advice on how to get through any tough plight. Jones reprises his role from The Lion King.
- The Outsiders: A group of lions that were loyal to Scar. After a failed takeover plan by the Outsiders following Scar's death, Simba banished them to the Outlands where they tried to invade the territory that Jasiri's cackle lives in. Kion defeated them with the Roar of the Elders which sent them flying to the Outlands' termite mound area where they originally came from.
- Zira (voiced by Nika Futterman): A lioness who is the mother of Kovu, Nuka and Vitani and the leader of the Outsiders. She was a loyal follower and close ally of Scar. After a failed takeover following Scar's death, Zira and those involved were banished to the Outlands with her family by Simba.
- Kovu (voiced by Jason Marsden): A lion cub who is the chosen successor of Scar, Zira's youngest son, Kiara's friend and future mate, Simba's future son-in-law, Kion's future brother-in-law, and younger brother of Nuka and Vitani. Marsden previously voiced adolescent Kovu in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
- Nuka (voiced by Andy Dick): An adolescent lion who is the oldest son of Zira, the older brother of Kovu and Vitani, and a member of the Outsiders. Dick reprises his role from Simba's Pride.
- Vitani (voiced by Lacey Chabert): A lion cub who is Zira's daughter and the sister of Nuka and Kovu. Chabert reprises her role from Simba's Pride.
- Tiifu (voiced by Sarah Hyland): A lioness friend of Kiara's who is somewhat more sensible than her constant companion Zuri.
- Zuri (voiced by Madison Pettis): Another lioness friend of Kiara's who is somewhat vain and hates getting dirty.
- Jasiri's Clan: A cackle of hyenas who live in the Outlands and respect The Circle of Life.
- Jasiri (voiced by Maia Mitchell): A friendly female spotted hyena living in the Outlands who allies with Kion. Unlike Janja's group, Jasiri and her hyena cackle respect the Circle of Life and mostly scavenge for food.
- Madoa (voiced by Maisie Klompus): A spotted hyena who is Jasiri's sister and is part of her cackle.
- Tunu (vocal effects provided by Crimson Hart): A spotted hyena cub and brother of Wema who is part of Jasiri's cackle.
- Wema (vocal effects provided by Fiona Hart): A spotted hyena cub and sister of Tunu who is part of Jasiri's cackle.
- Pua (voiced by Gerald C. Rivers): The former leader of the local float of Nile crocodiles. He was succeeded by Makuu upon being defeated by him where the result of the fight has the loser leaving the crocodile float.
- Basi (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson): A hippopotamus who is Beshte's father and leader of the Pride Lands' hippopotamus pod.
- Ushari (voiced by Christian Slater): An Egyptian cobra who often conflicts with Bunga.
- Thurston (voiced by Kevin Schon): A handsome yet scatterbrained plains zebra who is the leader of a herd of zebras.
- Baboon Leader (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker): An olive baboon who is the leader of a group of baboons in Nyani grove.
- Mbeya (voiced by Howy Parkins): An old black rhinoceros.
- Shingo (voiced by Phil LaMarr): A Masai giraffe.
- Ma Tembo (voiced by Lynette DuPree): An African bush elephant who is the daughter of Amanifu, an old friend of Simba's who passes away early in the series.
- Twiga (voiced by Alex Cartana): A Masai giraffe.
- Mbuni (voiced by Russi Taylor): A cheerful ostrich.
- Muhanga (voiced by Russi Taylor): An aardvark.
- Muhangus (voiced by Khary Payton): An aardvark who is Muhanga's mate.
- Mtoto (voiced by Justin Felbinger): A young African bush elephant calf.
- Kambuni (voiced by Mckenna Grace): A young ostrich chick.
- Shauku (voiced by Jacob Guenther): A young banded mongoose pup.
- Kwato (voiced by Lyons Luke Mathias): A young plains zebra foal.
- Gumba (voiced by Jacquez Swanigan): A young olive baboon.
- Tamaa (voiced by CJ Byrnes): A drongo bird who can imitate the voice of any animal.
- Muhimu (voiced by Kari Wahlgren in the US, Emma Bunton in the UK): A plains zebra who is the leader of a herd of zebras that the Lion Guard leads to Mbali Fields. She later gave birth to a baby zebra who helps the Lion Guard fend off the Outlander Hyenas.
- Swala (voiced by Tunisia Hardison): A Thomson's gazelle who is the leader of a herd of gazelles that the Lion Guard leads to Mbali Fields.
- Ajabu (voiced by Ron Funches): An okapi who travels to the Pride Lands to get away from Makucha.
- Aardwolves: A pack of aardwolves that live in the Pride Lands and only come out at night. The Lion Guard accidentally mistook them for Outlander Hyenas until Kion cleared things up and fended off Reirei and Goigoi. The aardwolves are known for keeping the termite population down.
- Laini (voiced by Meghan Strange): A galago who amongst her fellow galagos had their tree invaded by Badilli.
- Badilli (voiced by Jack McBrayer): A friendly cream-colored African leopard from Mirihi Forest who was driven out of his territory by Mapigano.
- Vuruga Vuruga (voiced by Virginia Watson): An African buffalo who is the leader of a herd of African buffaloes. Kiara presided over their Royal Buffalo Wallow.
- Young Rhino (voiced by Kari Wahlgren): A young black rhinoceros calf.
- King Sokwe (voiced by John Rhys-Davies): A mountain gorilla king who is Majinuni and Hafifu's father.
- Hadithi (voiced by John O'Hurley): A legendary martial eagle who faked having invented the Hadithi Spin.
- Zito (voiced by Nick Watt): An African bush elephant.
- Bupu (voiced by Michael Dorn): A stubborn sable antelope.
- Boboka (voiced by Erica Luttrell): A sable antelope who is part of Bupu's herd.
- Janja's Clan: A cackle of spotted hyenas that live in the Outlands and don't respect the Circle of Life.
- Janja (voiced by Andrew Kishino): A cunning spotted hyena who is the leader of the clan and the main antagonist of the series.
- Cheezi (voiced by Vargus Mason): An excitable spotted hyena and one of Janja's henchmen.
- Chungu (voiced by Kevin Schon): A spotted hyena with a slightly heavier build than the other hyenas. Like Cheezi, he is also one of Janja's henchmen.
- Nne (voiced by Beau Black): A cunning and stout spotted hyena. He briefly served as Janja's henchman, before turning against him.
- Tano (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker): A devious and sloping spotted hyena. He briefly served as Janja's henchman, before turning against him.
- Mzingo (voiced by Greg Ellis): A white-backed vulture who serves as Janja's spy and scout. He is the leader of a flock of vultures that is allied with Janja's Clan.
- Mwoga (voiced by Cam Clarke): A foolish, sneaky, and devious white-backed vulture who is a member of Mzingo's flock.
- Makuu (voiced by Blair Underwood): The new leader of the Nile crocodile float after he defeated Pua.
- Reirei (voiced by Ana Gasteyer): A clever and scheming black-backed jackal from the Outlands who wreaks havoc in the Pride Lands.
- Goigoi (voiced by Phil LaMarr): A greedy and dimwitted black-backed jackal who is Reirei's husband.
- Dogo (voiced by Jacob Guenther): A little black-backed jackal pup who is one of Reirei's sons. Dogo has blue eyes compared to the other pups with brown eyes.
- Makucha (voiced by Steven Blum): A cream-colored African leopard who tracks Ajabu to the Pride Lands since okapis are rare creatures.
- Mapigano (voiced by Jorge Diaz): A cream-colored African leopard who bullied Badilli upon invading his territory in Mirihi Forest.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|"The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar"||Howy Parkins||Ford Riley||November 22, 2015||5.36|
Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, discovers that he has the ability to channel the roars of the great lions of the past, giving him fierce power, just like his great uncle Scar, who had the same power before him, but who tragically misused it. At the instructions of Simba and Rafiki, he forms a team called the Lion Guard to stop a group of hyenas, led by Janja. As Kion chooses his non-lion friends, Bunga the honey badger, Ono the egret, Beshte the hippopotamus and Fuli the cheetah, to populate it, Simba scolds him for not taking his new responsibilities seriously but when they save Kion's sister Kiara from a herd of stampeding gazelle and defeat Janja and the hyenas, Simba realizes that Kion has protected the Pride Lands and is indeed ready to lead his new Lion Guard.Songs: "A Beautiful Day" sung by The Lion Guard chorus, "Zuka Zama" sung by Bunga, "Tonight We Strike" sung by Janja, Mzingo and the Hyenas, and "Kion's Lament" sung by Kion
Season 1 (2016–17)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.
|1||"Never Judge a Hyena by Its Spots"||Howy Parkins||Kevin Hopps, John Loy, Ford Riley||January 15, 2016||105||1.28|
When Kion winds up in the Outlands, he meets Jasiri, a friendly hyena who guides him to Flat Ridge Rock to regroup with the rest of his Lion Guard. As Kion and Jasiri travel to Flat Ridge Rock while trying to evade Janja's clan, the rest of the Lion Guard struggle to find directions to Flat Ridge Rock.Song: "Sisi Ni Sawa" sung by Kion and Jasiri
|2||"The Rise of Makuu"||Howy Parkins||Ford Riley||January 15, 2016||103||1.28|
When Makuu wins a duel against Pua and becomes the leader of the crocodile float and invades hippo territory, chaos ensues for the Pride Lands. Kion is torn between fighting and surrendering and struggles to find a middle path to stand his ground to resolve the situation.Song: "Don't Make a Stink" sung by Ono, Timon, Pumbaa and Bunga
|3||"Bunga the Wise"||Howy Parkins||John Loy||January 22, 2016||104||1.48|
Due to a misunderstanding with Rafiki about the wisdom of honey badgers following Bunga averting a flood, the animals of the Pride Lands begin to think that Bunga is the wisest animal there is, but when his advice begins to cause more harm than good, Kion and the others must find some way to stop Bunga before it's too late.Song: "Bunga the Wise" sung by Timon, Pumbaa and Bunga
|4||"Can't Wait to Be Queen"||Howy Parkins||Jack Monaco, John Loy, Ford Riley||January 29, 2016||106||1.46|
Simba leaves Kiara in charge of the Pride Lands while he goes to say goodbye to an old elephant friend named Amanifu who has just died. Upon learning of this from Mzingo, Janja decides to take advantage of Kiara's inexperience and comes up with a plan to take over the Pride Lands.Song: "Duties of the King" sung by Zazu and Simba
|5||"Eye of the Beholder"||Howy Parkins||Jack Monaco, John Loy, Ford Riley||February 5, 2016||107||1.42|
While helping the Lion Guard driving away Janja's clan following their attempted attack on a wildebeest herd, Ono temporarily loses his vision in his left eye when he gets dirt in it. When Janja overhears the news from the vultures, he plans to take advantage of this. Meanwhile, Rafiki works on his paintings of the Lion Guard.Song: "Outta the Way" sung by Janja, Cheezi and Chungu
|6||"The Kupatana Celebration"||Howy Parkins||Elise Allen, John Loy, Ford Riley||February 12, 2016||108||1.77|
During a celebrated holiday in the Pride Lands, Kion and his friends rescue a jackal pup from Janja but soon discover that he is in a family of jackals and the matriarch, Reirei, manages to fool Kion into letting them stay.Songs: "Kupatana Community" sung by Twiga, Basi, Mbuni, An Elephant and Muhanga the Aardvark, and "Jackal Style" sung by Reirei
|7||"Fuli's New Family"||Howy Parkins||Elise Allen, John Loy, Ford Riley||February 19, 2016||109||1.50|
The gang feels as though that Fuli has no family and invite her to join their individual activities, oblivious to the fact that she enjoys being alone. Meanwhile, Bunga lets immunity go to his head after being told that he is immune to Ushari's venom.Song: "My Own Way" sung by Fuli
|8||"The Search for Utamu"||Howy Parkins||Elise Allen, John Loy, Ford Riley||February 26, 2016||110||1.26|
Bunga, Kion, Ono and Beshte search for Utamu grubs. On the way, Bunga tells the story of how he met Timon and Pumbaa. Meanwhile, Fuli goes on a mission alone and overexerts herself, leaving her vulnerable to an attack by Mzingo's flock.Songs: "Utamu" sung by Bunga, Timon and Pumbaa, "All Hail the Vultures" sung by Mzingo and the vultures
|9||"Follow That Hippo!"||Howy Parkins||John Loy||March 18, 2016||111||1.19|
A young elephant named Mtoto idolizes Beshte and soon sees him in action when both of them are attacked by the hyenas.Song: "Hero Inside" sung by Beshte and Mtoto the Elephant
|10||"The Call of the Drongo"||Howy Parkins||Story by : Elise Allen
Teleplay by : Kevin Hopps
|March 25, 2016||112||1.97|
Tamaa the drongo bird uses his talent to imitate the voice of any animal to gain food from others, but soon finds himself forced by the hyenas to help them trap a herd of impalas.Song: "Bird of a Thousand Voices" sung by Tamaa
|11||"Paintings and Predictions"||Howy Parkins||Story by : Elise Allen
Teleplay by : Kevin Hopps
|April 1, 2016||113||1.42|
Bunga thinks that Rafiki's paintings can predict the future and believes that Kion will fall from a high tree. Soon, he and the rest of the guard desperately try to keep Kion from climbing trees. Meanwhile, Janja, Cheezi and Chungu plan an attack on the zebra herd.Song: "Panic and Run" sung by Janja, Cheezi and Chungu
|12||"The Mbali Fields Migration"||Howy Parkins||Elise Allen, John Loy, Ford Riley||April 22, 2016||114||1.38|
Under the suggestion of Simba, the Lion Guard leads a herd of zebras led by Muhimu and a herd of gazelles led by Swala to a new grazing ground located at the edge of the Pride Lands in Mbali Fields. One of their obstacles to get to Mbali Fields is the Outlands as the Lion Guard works to keep both herds safe from Janja's group.Song: "A Trail to Hope" sung by The Lion Guard chorus
|13||"Bunga and the King"||Howy Parkins||Jack Monaco||April 29, 2016||115||1.53|
When Simba and Bunga get trapped in a sinkhole, it's up to the Lion Guard to save them. Meanwhile, Simba and Bunga realize that being raised by Timon and Pumbaa is something that they have in common.Song: "Hakuna Matata" sung by Simba, Kion, Nala, Kiara, Timon, Pumbaa, and The Lion Guard
|14||"The Imaginary Okapi"||Howy Parkins||John Loy||July 8, 2016||117||1.37|
Beshte makes friends with a timid okapi named Ajabu who has traveled to the Pride Lands to get away from Makucha the leopard, but the guard thinks that Ajabu is imaginary due to his tendency to hide from others. When Makucha shows up in the Pride Lands however, the guard soon realizes that Beshte's new friend is real.Song: "Life in the Pridelands" sung by Beshte and Ajabu
|15||"Too Many Termites"||Howy Parkins||Elise Allen||July 15, 2016||118||0.97|
The Lion Guard accidentally chases a pack of aardwolves out of the Pride Lands, assuming them to be Outlander Hyenas, which leads to a massive termite infestation. The Lion Guard soon realizes their mistake and travel to the Outlands to bring the aardwolves back. However, Reirei and Goigoi have their sights on the aardwolves as well.Song: "We'll Make You A Meal" sung by Reirei, Goigoi, and the aardwolves
|16||"The Trouble With Galagos"||Howy Parkins||Elise Allen||August 5, 2016||119||1.21|
The Lion Guard discovers from the galagos that a leopard named Badilli has moved into their tree. They find out that Badilli has been driven out of his home by the mean leopard Mapigano who has taken over his territory in Mirihi Forest. The guard teaches Badilli to stand up to Mapigano and reclaim his territory.Song: "Find Your Roar" sung by The Lion Guard chorus
|17||"Janja's New Crew"||Howy Parkins||Kevin Hopps||August 26, 2016||120||1.40|
Janja "fires" Cheezi and Chungu and promotes Nne and Tano to be his seconds-in-command. While the Lion Guard makes sure that the Pride Lands' trails are safe after a big rainstorm, they find Cheezi and Chungu and reluctantly let them stay. Meanwhile, Nne and Tano plan an attack on an oryx herd.Song: "Chungu's Lament" sung by Chungu
|18||"Baboons!"||Howy Parkins||Kevin Hopps, Jack Monaco||September 23, 2016||121||1.32|
The Lion Guard rescues a baby baboon and Fuli is tasked with returning the baboon to its mother while avoiding Mzingo's flock. Meanwhile, Kiara, Tiifu, and Zuri get trapped on an island after a flood. The Lion Guard helps rescue them in time for Kiara to preside over the cape buffalo herd's Royal Buffalo Wallow.Song: "Baboons" sung by Fuli
|19||"Beware the Zimwi"||Howy Parkins||Jack Monaco||October 14, 2016||122||1.27|
Rafiki tells a story to the Lion Guard and some young animals about a terrifying beast called the Zimwi. Kion doesn't believe that such a creature exists, but when Mtoto and his friends claim to have seen it, the guard searches the Pride Lands to find out the truth. Soon, even Kion has to admit that the Zimwi may really exist.Song: "Beware the Zimwi" sung by Rafiki
|20||"Lions of the Outlands"||Howy Parkins
|Kevin Hopps, Ford Riley, John Loy||November 11, 2016||123||1.46|
Kion's hyena friend Jasiri asks for his help in dealing with a pride of lions who are keeping her family away from their watering hole. When he goes to help, he encounters the Outsiders and their leader Zira who knew Scar and tries to get Kion to join her side.Song: "Lions Over All" sung by Zira and Kion
|21||"Never Roar Again"||Howy Parkins||Jack Monaco||November 18, 2016||116||1.19|
Kion uses the Roar of the Elders in anger when Janja's group attack Nala. As a result, Kion loses control of the Roar and its power almost harms her. Worried that he nearly hurt his mom, Kion feels that he should never use the Roar again. Meanwhile, Ono feels self–conscious after the Roar blows off his head feathers. Overhearing Kion's plans to never use the Roar again, Makuu and his float of crocodiles take advantage of the opportunity and take over the Flood Plains. With some convincing from Nala and Mufasa, Kion must control the Roar of the Elders in order to defeat Makuu.Song: "Stand Up, Stand Out" sung by Bunga, Beshte, and Fuli
|22||"The Lost Gorillas"||Howy Parkins
|Elise Allen||December 2, 2016||127||1.03|
The Lion Guard encounters two gorilla princes named Majinuni and Hafifu who have a message for Simba on behalf of their father King Sokwe of the Theluji mountains. Unfortunately, the gorilla brothers have forgotten the message. Simba explains to Kion that every wet season, King Sokwe gives Simba a message to let him know if their peace treaty still stands. The guard goes back to the mountain to get the message with the gorilla brothers, who are reluctant to face their dad. On the way, the guard experiences snow for the first time.Song: "Kuishi Ni Kucheka" sung by The Lion Guard chorus
|23||"The Trail to Udugu"||Howy Parkins
|Story by : Kendall Michele Haney
Teleplay by : Kendall Michele Haney
|January 6, 2017||125||0.79|
Nala takes Kion and Kiara on a special trip to find Udugu. With Kion away, Simba leads the Lion Guard to help both Mbuni's ostrich herd and Swala's gazelle herd. When Simba orders the guard to follow his command, they make matters worse. Meanwhile, Nala disappears and Kion and Kiara have to work together to find her. Afterwards, Nala reveals that Udugu is not a place but a word that means "kinship" or the bond between siblings. Simba learns that the Lion Guard works best not when they do exactly what he does but doing what they each do best.Song: "Running With the King" sung by Bunga
|24||"Ono's Idol"||Howy Parkins||Jack Monaco||February 24, 2017||126||1.05|
Ono discovers that his hero Hadithi is not what he seems when it turned out that he made up some of his adventures. Ono persuades Hadithi to have an adventure with him when Janja's Clan targets a group of klipspringers.Song: "Hadithi the Hero" sung by Hadithi
|25||"Beshte and the Hippo Lanes"||Howy Parkins||Story by : John Loy
Teleplay by : Chelsea Beyl
|March 17, 2017||128||1.17|
When Basi gets injured while creating the hippo lanes, Beshte must step up and make the hippo lanes instead while Fuli learns the importance of always being polite when she has to deal with a herd of stubborn Antelope.Song: "Making Hippo Lanes" sung by Beshte
|26||"Ono the Tickbird"||TBA||TBA||April 21, 2017||TBA||TBD|
The series was announced by Disney on June 9, 2014 on the run up to the first film's 20th anniversary. Disney Junior general manager Nancy Kanter stated: "It's kind of like The Lion King meets The Avengers." The series' announcement came after a meeting between Kanter and Disney chief executive Robert Iger. Iger suggested to Kanter that Disney Junior should consider producing content to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Lion King in 2014. Disney had shown early footage to young test audiences, who were able to make suggestions, such as adjusting the look of the hyenas. Disney Consumer Products launched a line of toys to tie into the television series, as well at book titles based on the series such as Return of the Roar, Can't Wait to be Queen, Bunga the Wise, Meet the New Guard, Fuli Finds Her Place, Join the Lion Guard! and Kion's Animal Alphabet. A sneak peek of The Lion Guard was shown at the 2015 D23 Expo. On August 12, 2015, a sneak peek was shown, with new information that the television movie was scheduled to air in November 2015 to be titled The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar. On October 9, 2015, it was announced that Return of the Roar would premiere on November 22, 2015 on Disney Channel.
On coming up with the idea, the series' creator Ford Riley stated that at the end of The Lion King "[W]e see Simba and Nala as king and queen and Rafiki’s holding up the cub. In Lion King 2, [we learn] that is Kiara the cub and she’s going to grow up to become queen. I’ve got two kids, and usually stories are about the oldest child or an only child. I was really interested in a second born cub. What would his role be if Kiara’s gonna grow up to be queen?" Riley explained that he was inspired by his 8-year old son. "Every Thursday he and his buddies go to the park and they have this imaginary superhero team and they have all these imaginary adventures. That’s when it hit me. Let’s have a group of superheroes in the Pride Lands – The Avengers meets The Lion King!"
When asked where the show fits into the timeline, Riley explained that in The Lion King 2; "Kiara meets Kovu and they get into trouble. The very next scene, Kiara is fully grown and off on her first hunt. Clearly there’s a few years gap in there, so we’re filling that gap with The Lion Guard."
When choosing the members of the team, Riley stated "The qualities came first. If we’re going to have this superhero team, we want them to be fierce and brave and strong and fast and keen of sight. Those are the qualities of our five animals in the Lion Guard... [O]bviously the lion is going to be the fiercest. The bravest is the honey badger, hippo the strongest, cheetah the fastest, and the egret – egrets have sort of binocular vision which gives them depth perception which most birds who have eyes on either side of their head don’t, so Ono our egret is the keenest of sight. They’re the best of the best within the Pride Lands."
Riley also noted the inclusion of Swahili into the series; "[I]t’s one of those things that struck me about The Lion King that there’s all these Swahili phrases. ‘Simba’ means ‘lion’ in Swahili and ‘Pumbaa’ means ‘warthog’ in Swahili. I wanted to have that element in the series as well, so we’ve actually hired Sarah Mirza, who literally wrote the book on English-Swahili translations. We’ve been using Swahili not just in names of characters and places but also in the language of the show itself. Like ‘Zuka zama’ which is Bunga’s catchphrase and ‘Sisi Ni Sawa’ song. All of the characters have catchphrases which mean real things in Swahili."
In terms of giving The Lion Guard the same look as the original film, director Howy Parkins stated: "[W]e were very mindful to hold the essence of The Lion King, through the look of the background environments to the actual characters. We did extensive research and were also able to obtain some original model sheets. We want people to tune into the movie premiere and feel comfortable, like they are back in the world of The Lion King... The challenge with The Lion Guard was capturing the stunning beauty and look of The Lion King, so when one of my friends, Barry Atkinson, who worked on The Lion King as a background painter, became available, we brought him in. He shared a lot of insight when it came time to look at examples that the new backgrounds artists had done. Then another friend of mine, Mike Surrey, came in to talk to the animators and the storyboard artists. He was the animation supervising director on Timon on The Lion King. So we've pulled in some favors."
Speaking on the show's educational aspect and tone, Parkins said: "We have multiple characters and stories to tell, so we've used the Circle of Life as sort of a nice story arc to the entire series as well as the feature. For the research we've done, we've been able to take facts about the animals in the Serengeti and some of the habitat information and either work them into the stories or create entire stories based on an actual fact. Without being overly educational, we are very educational. It's been a fun thing to run with through the entire storytelling process... [W]e have to be mindful of the two to seven audience. We have the music, the chase sequences, a lot of comic relief, as well as our villains, so there will be some dark moments. But we tend to pull back a little more than they did on the original movie or on a movie, for example, like Finding Nemo."
A short-form series called It's UnBungalievable starring Bunga and Ono premiered on Disney Junior and Disneynature on January 9, 2016. In the series, Bunga and Ono pick two animals to compete in contests such as "Who's Quicker?" "Who Has Better Hair?" and "Who's Hungrier?" The series features live-action animal footage provided by Disneynature.
- "Who's Quicker?"
- "Who's Mightier?"
- "Who Has Better Hair?"
- "Who's Hungrier?"
- "Who's the Better Babysitter?"
- "Who's Cuter?"
- "Who's Sillier?"
- "Who's Louder?"
- "Who's Brainier?"
- "Who's a Better Flyer?"
Like its American counterpart, Return of the Roar premiered on November 22, 2015 on Disney Channel in Canada, while the series premiered on January 17, 2016 on Disney Junior, two days after its American premiere. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Return of the Roar premiered on Disney Junior on February 8, 2016, while the series premiered on April 13, 2016. In Australia and New Zealand, the pilot debuted on February 6, 2016 and the series began airing on February 28 on Disney Junior. In Southeast Asia, Return of the Roar premiered on March 20, 2016 on Disney Channel (April 11, 2016 on Disney Junior) and the series premiered on April 17, 2016 on Disney Junior block in Disney Channel.
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
|Title||Release Date||Episodes||Additional Features|
|The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar||February 23, 2016||Television movie||Music video of Beau Black performing "Here Comes the Lion Guard."
Talking Lion Guard Backpack Clip
|The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power||September 20, 2016||
Lion Guard Power Necklace
|The Lion Guard: Life in the Pride Lands||January 10, 2017||
||Music videos: "A Trail to Hope", "Teke Ruka Teleza"
It's UnBungalievable shorts
Five Lion Guard Wristbands
|The Lion Guard (Music from the TV Series)|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||January 8, 2016|
|Genre||Children, pop, world, soundtrack|
|The Lion Guard (Music from the TV Series)|
|1.||"Call of the Guard (The Lion Guard Theme)"||The Lion Guard Chorus||1:03|
|2.||"A Beautiful Day (Ni Siku Nzuri)"||Beau Black||2:16|
|4.||"Tonight We Strike"||Janja, Mzingo & Hyenas||1:56|
|6.||"Here Comes the Lion Guard"||Beau Black||2:28|
|7.||"We're the Same (Sisi Ni Sawa)"||Kion & Jasiri||2:33|
|8.||"Outta the Way"||Janja, Cheezi & Chungu||2:00|
|9.||"Duties of the King"||Simba & Zazu||2:01|
|10.||"Bunga the Wise"||Timon, Pumbaa & Bunga||1:41|
|11.||"My Own Way"||Fuli||2:18|
|13.||"Panic and Run"||Janja, Cheezi, & Chungu||1:34|
|14.||"It Is Time"||Beau Black||3:01|
|15.||"Call of the Guard (Full Version)"||The Lion Guard Chorus||4:21|
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