When I learned that Disney was going to try and reinstate The Lion King into the minds of the next generation, I was both happy and hesitant. I was most hesitant because it will be airing on Disney Channel as a TV movie and then go to Disney Junior as a TV show, and that's always a little terrifying. I was willing to give it a shot and see how it went, but I needed a little more reassurance.
Then I learned that Disney would be telling us more about The Lion Guard at D23 Expo this weekend. Naturally, I just had to go. And I was pleasantly surprised with what I was given. Don Hahn, the producer of The Lion King came to announce The Lion Guard. Ford Riley, the creator of The Lion Guard clearly had more information. And lastly, Beau Black performed a song for us, one he created for the exclusively movie.
And while I can't honestly say that it's as good as The Lion King, I can say it won't disappoint. It is far better than I expected and might even surpass my expectations once it comes out.
To give you guys a little reference, here's the clip they played for us at the convention:
The main character is Simba's second child, the younger brother of Kiara, Kion. We learn that the traditional role of the second born of the Lion King is to be in charge of the Lion Guard, essentially the police of the Pride Lands. When the show starts off, Kion doesn't really know what the Lion Guard is. But in the clip above, when he saves Bunga the Honey Badger, he receives the power of the Roar of the Elders (that little lion that shows up on his shoulder).
It gets explained that before Simba was born, Scar had the Roar of the Elders and was in charge of the Lion Guard. He believed the power gave him the right to be king, so he tries to get the Lion Guard to turn on Mufasa. They refuse and when they do, he turns the Roar on them. But when the Roar of the Elders is used for evil, the power leaves that person. And as a result, Scar becomes the shriveled lion we see in The Lion King.
Traditionally the Lion Guard is comprised of the strongest, fastest, and keenest of sight of the Pride Lands. Kion, instead, puts his friends into the Lion Guard. As a result, they become a ragtag team of kids who now have to protect the Pride Lands.
Most exciting about the Lion Guard is that James Earl Jones is returning to voice Mufasa. Most likely in the form of flashbacks, or possibly as the narrator (maybe even both). Other cast members include Rob Lowe as Simba, Moira Kelly as Nala, Khary Payton as Rafiki, Ernie Seballa as Pumbaa, Kevin Schon as Timon, Eden Riegel as Kiara, and Jeff Bennett as Zazu. Our new characters will be voiced by Madison Pettis, Sarah Hyland, Greg Ellis, Joshua Rush, Diamond White, Dusan Brown, and Max Charles (Kion).
As I've said, it's certainly not as good as The Lion King, but Disney is managing to make it interesting, funny, and it is grounded within the world of The Lion King which is always fun. I am more than happy that they aren't ruining The Lion King with this movie and TV show.