The Lion Guard
The Lion Guard is an American animated television series developed by Ford Riley and based on Disney's 1994 film The Lion King. The series was first broadcast with a television film 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. 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.
|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||2|
|No. of episodes||55 (+ 1 pilot) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Ford Riley|
|Running time||approx. 22 Minutes|
|Original release||January 15, 2016 –|
April 22, 2019
The second season premiered on July 7, 2017. A third and final season was commissioned in March 2017.
Kion is the son of King Simba and Queen Nala, the younger brother of Kiara and the prince of the Pride Lands. As the second-born of the Lion King, he is gifted with a power called the Roar of the Elders and 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.
|First aired||Last aired|
|Pilot||November 22, 2015|
|1||26||January 15, 2016||April 21, 2017|
|2||29||July 7, 2017||April 22, 2019|
The Lion GuardEdit
- Kion (voiced by Max Charles) – A lion cub who is Simba and Nala's second born cub, 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 film and series. He often exclaims "Hevi kabisa!". His battlecry for the Lion Guard is "Till the Pride Lands end, Lion Guard defend!".
- Bunga (voiced by Joshua Rush) – A honey badger who is the bravest member of the Lion Guard. He is Timon and Pumbaa's adoptive nephew and Kion's best friend. He often exclaims "Un-Bunga-lievable!". His battlecry is "Zuka Zama!".
- Fuli (voiced by Diamond White) – A cheetah who is the fastest member of the Lion Guard, the only female member, Kion's friend and second-in-command. She is also the first female animal to ever serve in the Guard as mentioned in The Rise of Scar. Her battlecry is "Huwezi!".
- Ono (voiced by Atticus Shaffer) – An egret who is the keenest of sight of the Lion Guard and Kion's friend. He often exclaims "Hapana!".
- Beshte (voiced by Dusan Brown) – A hippopotamus who is the strongest member of the Lion Guard and Kion's friend. He often exclaims "Poa!". His battlecry is "Twende Kiboko!".
The Lion King alumniEdit
The characters returning from The Lion King and its sequels and spin-offs 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 and the leader of his Pride. 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, the Princess of the Pride Lands and its 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 warm-hearted warthog friend. Pumbaa is Bunga's other adoptive uncle. Sabella reprises his role from The Lion King and its sequels and spin-offs.
- Rafiki (voiced by Khary Payton) – A wise old mandrill who serves as a Royal Mjuzi (a Pride Lands word for knowledge keeper and advisor) for the Royal Family of Pride Rock.
- Zazu (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – A red-billed hornbill who is Simba's majordomo and supplies news via the morning report of the Pride Lands.
- Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones in Return of the Roar, reprising his role from The Lion King and its sequels, 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.
- Scar (voiced by David Oyelowo) – Simba's deceased uncle, Kion and Kiara's great-uncle, and Mufasa's younger brother. In his youth, Scar was leader of The Lion Guard, gifted with the Roar of the Elders, before abusing his power, and losing the Roar forever after destroying his guard with it. After being defeated by Simba in a vicious fight, he was mauled to death by the hyenas when he tried to pin the blame of Mufasa's death on them. By the end of The Rise of Scar, Kion unintentionally summons Scar back as a fiery spirit in the Outlands' volcano after he uses the Roar in anger when Janja provokes him. Scar then begins to form plans to take over the Pride Lands and rule it forever.
- The Outsiders – A pride of offshoot lions that were loyal to Scar. After Scar's death, Simba banished them from the Pride Lands.
- Zira (voiced by Nika Futterman) – A lioness who is the mother of Kovu, Vitani and Nuka and the leader of the Outsiders. After the death of Scar, Simba banished her from the Pride Lands.
- Kovu (voiced by Jason Marsden) – A lion cub who is the protege, stepson, and chosen successor of Scar, Zira's youngest son, and the younger brother of Nuka and Vitani. Prior to the series, he briefly befriended Kiara. Marsden previously voiced adult 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 in Return of the Roar, season 1, and The Rise of Scar; Bailey Gambertoglio in season 2) – A lion cub friend of Kiara and a member of Simba's Pride who is somewhat more sensible than her constant companion Zuri.
- Zuri (voiced by Madison Pettis) – Another lion cub friend of Kiara and a member of Simba's Pride who is somewhat vain and hates getting dirty.
- Makini (voiced by Landry Bender) – A young mandrill who becomes Rafiki's apprentice. She is one of a few characters who knows that Kion speaks to the spirit of Mufasa.
- Jasiri's Clan – A clan of friendly spotted hyenas that resides in the Outlands. Unlike Janja's clan, Jasiri and her hyena clan respect the Circle of Life and mostly scavenge for food. When Jasiri learns from Kion that Scar has returned, she and her clan form a hyena resistance to aid the Lion Guard and help defeat Scar.
- Jasiri (voiced by Maia Mitchell) – A hyena living in the Outlands who is the leader of the clan and allies with Kion.
- Madoa (voiced by Maisie Klompus) – A hyena who is Jasiri's sister and is part of her clan.
- Tunu (voiced by Crimson Hart) – A hyena cub and brother of Wema who is part of Jasiri's clan.
- Wema (voiced by Fiona Hart) – A hyena cub and sister of Tunu who is part of Jasiri's clan.
- Makuu (voiced by Blair Underwood) – The formerly-villainous leader of the Pride Lands' Nile crocodiles.
- Janja's Clan – A clan of male spotted hyenas that live in the Outlands and disrespect the Circle of Life.
- Janja (voiced by Andrew Kishino) – A cunning, arrogant and vicious hyena who is the leader of the clan.
- Cheezi (voiced by Vargus Mason) – An excitable hyena who is one of Janja's right-hand henchmen.
- Chungu (voiced by Kevin Schon) – An unintelligent hyena with a slightly heavier build than the other hyenas who is the other of Janja's right-hand henchmen.
- Nne (voiced by Beau Black) – A stout but sly and smart spotted hyena.
- Tano (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) – A sloping but devious and smart spotted hyena.
- Mzingo's Parliament – A parliament of white-backed vultures that live in the Outlands and is allied with Janja's clan.
- Ushari (voiced by Christian Slater) – An Egyptian cobra who used to live in the Pride Lands and would get disturbed whenever the Lion Guard was near him.
- Reirei's Pack – A family pack of black-backed jackals that live in the Outlands.
- Reirei (voiced by Ana Gasteyer) – A clever, scheming and manipulative jackal who is the matriarch of the family.
- Goigoi (voiced by Phil LaMarr) – A greedy and dimwitted jackal who is Reirei's mate.
- Dogo (voiced by Jacob Guenther) – A jackal pup who is one of Reirei and Goigoi's sons; he has blue eyes, while the other pups have brown eyes.
- Kijana (voiced by Amber Hood) – A jackal pup who is Reirei and Goigoi's daughter and Dogo's sister.
- Kiburi's Float – Former members of Makuu's float who defied their leader Makuu's orders and were exiled for their evil deeds.
- Shupavu's Group – A group of skinks who are friends with Ushari and serve as his spies.
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 and executive producer Ford Riley noted that at the end of The Lion King we see the presentation of Simba and Nala's newborn cub. In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride we see that cub is Kiara and that she will be future queen. Riley was interested in the idea of a second-born cub and what his role would be if Kiara is destined to become queen. Additionally, 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!"
Riley confirmed the timeline of the series; in Simba's Pride there is a years-long time gap, The Lion Guard takes place during the years in-between Kiara's first meeting with Kovu as a cub and her first hunt as an adult.
Riley also noted the inclusion of Swahili into the series; "[W]e’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."
Classic mythology is used as inspiration for the show. In reference to Return of the Roar, Riley noted; "The whole laying on hands where Kion gives the mark of the guard to the rest of the team, that goes back to the Bible." Riley noted that protecting the Circle of Life is the main theme of the series; "The animals who respect it don’t eat too much, allow for the grass to grow, and larger animals to eat smaller animals. Our bad guys come from those that don’t respect the Circle of Life. They just want to eat and wreak havoc."
In terms of giving The Lion Guard the same look as the original film, director Howy Parkins stated that they were mindful to keep the essence of The Lion King. To that end, the crew did extensive research on the look of the backgrounds and characters and were able to obtain some original model sheets. In addition, Barry Atkinson and Mike Surrey, background painter and supervising animator for Timon on the original film respectively, were brought in to consult with the series' background artists, animators and storyboard artists.
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.
|3||Who Has Better Hair?|
|5||Who's the Better Babysitter?|
|10||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. It aired in TVNZ in New Zealand and 7flix in Australia, E-Junior in the United Arab Emirates, Sat.1 in Germany and MiniMini+ in Poland.
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: The Rise of Scar||January 9, 2018||
|The Lion Guard (Music from the TV Series)|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||January 8, 2016|
|Genre||Children, pop, Pop rock, 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|
A second soundtrack release entitled The Lion Guard: Disney Junior Music was released digitally on September 1, 2017.
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