Disney Junior Is Producing An Animated Sequel To ‘The Lion King’

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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?

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  • AkiLi

    They did make a Lion King 2. It went straight to video. I think it was called “Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride” Neve Campbell voiced Simba and Nala’s daughter who fell in love with the son of one of Scar’s followers. It wasn’t a particularly good sequel. I remember Rafiki sung a love song (“Upendi) that vaguely sounded like “In your panties” (Ohhh Disney…)

    The Lion King is one of my all times favorites. I think this new sequel sounds promising. I’ll definitely check it out.

    • @AkiLi — See, just goes to show how much I pay attention to straight-to-video releases. Thanks, I’ll update.

    • AkiLi

      Be thankful you missed it!

    • @AkiLi — haha

  • joanna

    This is a great idea for the generation that wasn’t born early enough to have seen Lion King in theaters. You’re right that most of the direct-to-video sequels and prequels are really bad. However, the two sequels to Aladdin weren’t that bad. I had them growing up. Dare I say that The Return of Jafar is perhaps the greatest direct-to-video Disney sequel thus far? Since about the late 90’s Disney direct-to-video sequels have really bombed. I’m just glad this sequel is going to be on TV first and specifically aimed at the Disney Junior audience. That way, if adults who grew up on the original movie don’t like it they can say that while it’s not for them it sure did its job of catering to the preschool audience.

  • Paul

    Will the Lion King be able to get some of that Avengers’ money? I can see Kion putting on the armor and becoming Kion Man (or Kion Lion). I understand Bunga, the fearless honey badger don’t care. Fuli, the confident cheetah with have the power of super speed. Beshte, a happy-go-lucky hippo will have the power of super strength but only when she’s angry and you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry. Ono, the intellectual egret, seems like an unlikely choice until she whips out her bow and arrows to become Hawkegret.

  • Keely

    I know I’m in the minority, but I was never a huge fan of The Lion King. I mean, I don’t hate it in any way. But it’s not one of my first choices in Disney film.

    I do recognize the importance of the first movie though, so I’m glad they’re trying to bring it to a younger generation. Especially since they had that re-release a couple of years ago that seemed to go well. Hope this one is successful for them too.