10:21 am EDT, August 12, 2015

Disney to revive ‘The Lion King’ with ‘Lion Guard’ spin-off series

Simba's son Kion will lead the new series. We guess Kiara was busy or something.

The 1994 Disney classic The Lion King is returning: Simba’s son Kion will lead The Lion Guard on Disney Channel.

The new star of the savannah is Kion, Simba’s second-born cub, who leads a group of animals who seek to keep peace around the Pride Rock. Going against tradition, Kion invites non-lions to join the guard for the first time.

We first got the synopsis for the new series last year, and now we finally have a premiere date, some casting info, and a trailer!

The short movie The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar will air on Disney Channel in November, and in early 2016, Disney plans to launch a Lion Guard series on both Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

Related: First trailer for Disney XD’s animated Guardians of the Galaxy released

Returning cast members include James Earl Jones as Mufasa (…’s cloud ghost, we assume), and Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa. No news on Nathan Lane’s Timon yet!

Rob Lowe and Gabrielle Union take over from Matthew Broderick and Moira Kelly as Simba and Nala, while Max Charles plays main character Kion.

“Set in the African Savanna, ‘The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar’ follows Kion as he assembles the members of the Lion Guard,” reads a new synopsis sent out today by Disney Channel.

“While traditionally the Lion Guard has been comprised of lions known to be the fiercest, bravest, fastest, strongest and keenest of sight in the Pride Lands, Kion breaks tradition by instead calling upon some of his friends who he believes best exemplify these heroic qualities. Throughout the movie and the series, the diverse team of young animals will learn how to utilize each of their unique abilities to solve problems and accomplish tasks to maintain balance within the Circle of Life, while also introducing young viewers to the vast array of animals that populate the prodigious African landscape.”

The Lion Guard new

Disney is working hard to recreate the feel of the original movie, and has even brought back some of the artists who worked on The Lion King.

“We were really trying to make sure, from a production value, that we could get as close to the feel of the movie as we possibly can,” Nancy Kanter (executive vice president of original programming and general manger of Disney Junior Worldwide) tells Variety. “I think people will be sort of amazed at just how beautiful it really looks.”

Fans of The Lion King will really appreciate the attention to detail which has clearly gone into The Lion Guard.

Related: Disney Channel developing Tangled TV series with Zachary Levi, Mandy Moore

We’re still left wondering why Simba’s daughter Kiara, the star of the second Lion King movie, couldn’t have come back to lead the pack of peace-keeping animals.

One argument might be that Kiara grew up by the end of Simba’s Pride. However, Disney Channel has a long-standing tradition of returning to its characters’ pre-happy-ending days for its spin-off series.

None the less, we’re excited to see what her little brother gets up to in The Lion Guard. Will you be watching the new series?

And, hey — we’re kinda relieved they’re not doing a live-action version of The Lion King! We’ve got the Broadway show for that.

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