Disney Junior is developing a spinoff to The Lion King titled The Lion Guard which will debut as a television movie and then run as a television series.
The Lion Guard arrives nearly 20 years since Disney’s The Lion King roared into theaters on June 15, 1994.
The new series will be aimed at kids ages 2 – 7 and their families, according to Disney Junior. The television movie will air in Fall 2015 and the series will begin in early 2016 on Disney Junior and Disney Channel.
The Lion Guard’s synopsis teases a compelling storyline and guest appearances from characters we’ve missed. The story “begins as Kion [pictured above], the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, assumes the role of leader of the Lion Guard, a group of the bravest and brightest tasked with preserving the Pride Lands,” says Disney.
“Instead of assembling a team of young lions to serve with him, Kion challenges tradition by calling upon friends he believes are the best choices – Bunga, a fearless honey badger; Fuli, a confident cheetah; Beshte, a happy-go-lucky hippo; and Ono, an intellectual egret. Stories will include special appearances by Mufasa, Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu and Kion’s older sister, Kiara, the future Queen of the Pride Lands.
Disney will be bringing in wildlife education experts from their Animal Kingdom park to serve as consultants on the new show. The Lion Guard will “incorporate themes of conservation, family and community while also highlighting problem-solving, creative thinking and diversity,” according to a press release.
As longtime Disney fans know, The Lion King has spawned numerous spinoffs over the past two decades including an animated show starring Timon and Pumbaa which ran for three seasons. There were also two direct-to-VHS films and of course the Broadway musical which is still performing today.
The nostalgia factor may be just enough for us to tune into the movie.