The Lion Guard is an American animated television series that premiered with a one-hour movie, The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, on November 22, 2015, which was followed by a television series on Disney Junior on January 15, 2016. It features Kion, the son of Simba and Nala.
On March 4, 2016, Season 2 was announced by Disney Junior. According to Kevin Schon, it was expected to premiere in fall 2017 with an hour-long special. But then it was announced as July 7 with two episodes: "Babysitter Bunga" and "The Savannah Summit".
In March 2017, a third season was commissioned, which premiered on August 3, 2019. On January 23, 2019, it was confirmed that the third season would be the last, with production wrapping on July 19 of said year. The first 10 episodes of the third season, including its premiere episode Battle for the Pride Lands aired on August 3rd, 2019, whilst the final 10 episodes, ending with the series finale, Return to the Pride Lands were released early on DisneyNOW and watchtlg.netify on September 3, 2019, however the series would not officially end on Disney Junior until November 3, 2019.
"Set in the African Savanna, The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar follows Kion as he assembles the members of the Lion Guard", a news release for the show reads. "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".
- Max Charles as Kion (speaking throughout; own singing for first two seasons & season 3 premiere)
- Aaron Daniel Jacob as Kion's singing voice for the rest of season 3.
- Joshua Rush as Bunga
- Diamond White as Fuli
- Atticus Shaffer as Ono
- Dusan Brown as Beshte
- Bryana Salaz as Anga
- Rob Lowe as Simba
- Gabrielle Union as Nala
- Eden Riegel as Kiara
- Khary Payton as Rafiki
- Jeff Bennett as Zazu
- Kevin Schon as Timon, Chungu, and Thurston
- Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa
- David Oyelowo as Scar
- Gary Anthony Williams as Mufasa
- Blair Underwood as Makuu
- Andrew Kishino as Janja, Hitashi, and Ora
- Vargus Mason as Cheezi
- Ana Gasteyer as Reirei
- Phil LaMarr as Goigoi
- Johnny Rees as Mzingo
- Christian Slater as Ushari
- Landry Bender as Makini
- Common as Kiburi
- Michael Dorn as Bupu
- Steve Blum as Makucha
- Hudson Yang as Baliyo
- Lou Diamond Phillips as Surak
- Miki Yamashita as Nirmala
- Maia Mitchell as Jasiri
- Nolan North as Tamka
- Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Rani
- Lana McKissack as Rani's singing voice.
- Rachel House as Mama Binturong
- Vyvan Pham as Ullu
- Kimiko Glenn as Chuluun
- Nika Futterman as Zira
- Andy Dick as Nuka
- Lacey Chabert as Vitani
- Jason Marsden as Kovu
- Jorge Diaz as Nduli and Mapigano
- Carla Hall as Mpishi
- Sinbad as Uroho
- Renée Elise Goldsberry as Dhahabu
- Justin Hires as Hodari
- Kristofer Hivju as Kenge
- Rico Rodriguez as Raha
- Raini Rodriguez as Starehe
- Jacob Bertrand as Chama
- Mekai Curtis as Furaha
- Cade Sutton as Mzaha
- C.C.H. Pounder as Kongwe
- AJ McLean as Kuchimba
- Christopher Jackson as Shujaa and Kitendo
- Heather Headley as Fikiri
- Michael Luwoye as Askari
- J. Elaine Marcos as Yuki
- Behzad Dabu as Azaad
- James Sie as Sãhasí
- Grace Young as Ãnanda
- Shohreh Aghdashloo as Janna
- Fiona Riley as Binga and Shabaha
- Jaime Camil as Pinguino
- Tiffany Espensen as Heng Heng
- Andrew Kishino as Hitashi
The series' announcement came after a meeting between Disney Junior general manager Nancy Kanter and Disney chief executive Robert Iger. Iger suggested to Kanter that Disney Junior should consider producing content to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Lion King in 2014. Disney had shown early footage to young test audiences, who were able to make suggestions, such as adjusting the look of the hyenas. Disney Consumer Products launched a line of toys to tie into the television series.
At least five book titles based on the series were released in January 2016: Kion, Pride of the Pridelands, Can't Wait To Be Queen, Bunga's Big Adventure, Meet the New Guard, and Kion's Animal Alphabet.
- This is the second television series to be based on The Lion King, the first being Timon & Pumbaa.
- Ford Riley, the creator of the show, served as production secretary and an episode writer for Timon & Pumbaa.
- Kevin Schon, who voiced Timon in Timon and Pumbaa returns to voice Timon in The Lion Guard.
- Of all the Lion Guard members in history, both birds' names start with vowels (Ono and Anga) and have the same vowels ending their names, and Ns after the first use of each; the rest are mammals whose names start with a (single) consonant.
- As revealed by Ford Riley in an interview for TV Daily, The Lion Guard takes place in between Kiara's first encounter with Kovu and her first hunt in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. This statement was confirmed in the episode "Lions of the Outlands".
- However, most of Season 3 is parallel with the events of the second half of the film, while the last two episodes take place during, and after the end of the film.
- Unlike any of the previous productions in The Lion King franchise, most episodes of this TV series do not include any cartoon sound effects entirely (due to having a more realistic theme), although fewer episodes, such as "Janja's New Crew" and "Rafiki's New Neighbors" did, however, include at least one cartoon sound effect, which is a coconut hit sound effect.
- It is the first Disney Junior show to feature character deaths, being Ushari and Janna.
- Eden Riegel (Kiara) and Diamond White (Fuli) share the same birthday (January 1st), with Riegel being exactly 18 years older than White.
- Also sharing a birthday are Max Charles (Kion's speaking voice), Christian Slater (Ushari), and Maia Mitchell (Jasiri) (this one being August 18th), with Charles and Mitchell being exactly one decade apart (Charles was born on Mitchell's tenth birthday).
- Speaking of which, one week later are the birthday of both Blair Underwood (Makuu) and Bryana Salaz (Anga), this being August 25th. Salaz had been born on Underwood's 33rd birthday.
- Coincidentally, Underwood's birthdate is the same as the 25th anniversary of MGM's famous film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.
- Incidentally, Sarah Hyland (Tiifu in the pilot and first season) and Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa, as usual) previously acted in Disney's 1999 TV film adaptation of Annie as Molly and Mr. Bundles, respectively.
- Additionally, Eden Riegel and Lacey Chabert (Vitani throughout this series) were previously child actresses for the direct-to-video series Richard Scarry's Best Videos Ever. Their roles are never listed, though.
- Sarabi, Sarafina, Gopher, Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, their clan, Ma, Max, Iron Joe, and the Meerkat Colony are the only characters from the films that do not return for the sequel television series. Sarabi does make a cameo in the episode Cave of Secrets, (but makes no further appearances due to her voice actress's death in 1995,) whilst Ma is mentioned by Timon in the episode, Beware the Zimwi, and the hyenas are mentioned and shown on cave paintings multiple times in the series despite the trio not being mentioned (and are asserted outside of the series to be relatives of Janja and his clan).
- Two background lionesses that highly resemble Sarabi and Sarafina appear in the Season 2 episode, The Ukumbusho Tradition, however it remains ambiguous as to whether or not these lionesses are Sarabi and/or Sarafina.
- Official website