20 years ago this year, Disney released the animated film The Lion King in theaters and captured the hearts of young and old worldwide. Since that time, The Lion King has been adapted into a wildly successful Broadway musical (which has managed to remain one of the most successful musicals on the Great White Way) as well as a straight-to-video movie titled The Lion King 2: Simba’s Price (thanks AkiLi). Today we learn that Disney will be releasing a new animated movie and series sequel to The Lion King on Disney Junior next year. Focusing on the second born cub of Simba and Nala, The Lion Guard will introduce to the world a new Disney character named Kimbo. Click below to learn more about this forthcoming sequel to The Lion King.
Disney Television Animation has begun production on “The Lion Guard,” an animated television movie and series that continues the story introduced 20 years ago in the acclaimed Disney animated film “The Lion King.” Geared towards kids age 2-7 and their families, “The Lion Guard” television movie will premiere in Fall 2015, and the subsequent series will debut in early 2016 on Disney Junior and Disney Channel. The wildlife education experts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park will serve as consultants on “The Lion Guard” stories, which will incorporate themes of conservation, family and community while also highlighting problem-solving, creative thinking and diversity. Author and Swahili expert Sarah Mirza is the language and cultural advisor. Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, said, “The story of ‘The Lion King’ has deeply touched families around the world since its original theatrical release 20 years ago. We look forward to introducing a whole new generation of kids to both the Disney legacy characters and to new friends and heroes.” “The Lion Guard” begins as Kion, 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. 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. “The Lion Guard” movie and series were developed by Ford Riley (“Special Agent Oso”), who also serves as executive producer. Howy Parkins (“Jake and the Never Land Pirates”) is director. Christopher Willis (“Mickey Mouse”) is the composer. Originally released in June 1994, the Academy Award-winning animated film “The Lion King” is a Disney story with long-lasting appeal and creative interpretations across multiple Disney businesses.
Honestly, I’m surprised it’s taken so long for someone at Disney to come up with another way to further capitalize on one of their most successful animated films. It’s about time. Producing this movie and series for Disney Junior seems like a great idea. I am not a fan AT ALL of the straight-to-video sequels that have been released for other Disney animated films like Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Mulan, etc. Gearing The Lion Guard for young children on Disney Junior is a great way to indoctrinate kids into loving The Lion King while providing them with a completely new character to love. Sounds like a brilliant idea to me, how about you?