FANDOM


The Lion Guard is an American animated series based on Disney's The Lion King. The show features five main heroes who protect the Pride Lands: Kion, Bunga, Fuli, Beshte and Ono.

The series kicked off in 2015 with the direct to television film, The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar which served as the sequel to The Lion King and pilot to the animated series.

The first season was originally going to consist of 24 episodes, which was later extended to 26. Each episode features a song that 'balances authentic African sound with kid-friendly pop'.[1]

Season 2 began airing on July 7th, 2017. It consists of one special (Rise of Scar) and 29 episodes.

Disney commissioned a third season before Season 2 finished airing. Season 3 premiered August 3rd, 2019, with the double-length - opener, Battle for the Pride Lands airing on that day, with episodes, 303-310 premiering on DisneyNOW.

The last 10 episodes, including the series finale, Return to the Pride Lands, premiered on DisneyNOW on September 2nd, ending the series. As of now, currently, 11 episodes have aired on Disney Junior, with the rest slated to air in mid October-November 2019. The finale premiered November 3rd, 2019, which is also the 4 year anniversary of Return of the Roar.

Plot

The series centers around Kion, the son of Simba and Nala who is tasked with the daunting duty of leading the Lion Guard, a group tasked with the perseverance of the Pride Lands. In doing so, he defies tradition by assembling a group of various animals, as opposed to a group of lions. These animals are Fuli the cheetah, Beshte, the hippopotamus, Ono, the egret and Bunga, the honey badger[2].

During his adventures, Kion also receives advice from the spirit of his grandfather, Mufasa.

In the series' prequel, Return of the Roar, Kion gains his newfound power of the Roar of the Elders and gift passed down through generations of Lion Guard leaders and tasks his friends, Fuli, Bunga, Beshte, and Ono as members of the Guard. Simba rejects Kion's proposal, resorting to Kion being visited by his grandfather Mufasa, convincing him to take his place as the leader of the Lion Guard. Kion manages to save the Pride Lands from a hyena invasion, lead by Janja, a greedy hyena who resides in the Outlands, who plots to break apart the Circle of Life and take over the Pride Lands. The battle is a success and Kion's team becomes the new Lion Guard.

As of Season 2, Kion's evil great-uncle Scar has returned, offering advice to enemies of the Lion Guard. He is assembling and uniting every animal in the Outlands with the sole intention of reclaiming the Pride Lands. As of Divide and Conquer, Kion has seen Scar yet is unaware that it is his infamous uncle that he saw through the blaze.

In The Scorpion's Sting, Kion finally meets his evil great-uncle when venturing the Outlands to find a cure for Simba after he is stung by a scorpion. After the battle with the newly assembled Army of Scar, Kion cures his father, before informing vowing to defeat Scar once and for all.

In The Fall of Mizimu Grove, Scar reveals himself to all Pridelanders after his army has successfully destroyed Mizimu Grove. He threatens Simba that it's only a matter of time before all of the Pridelands belong to him once again. Luckily the Lion Guard can drive Scar's minions back to the Outlands with the help of King Simba and all animals that Kion brought together in Pride Landers Unite! to fight united against Scar.

After everyone is shocked that Scar is back King Simba admits that Kion kept secret about this fact because he ordered him to do so. Knowing that the greatest fear of the King was that some animals would start to worry and wouldn't any longer feel safe in the Pridelands. But after his son, Kion shows everyone that Makini's planted little baobab sapling had survived the attack of Scar all regain hope, that they as well are able to survive as well somehow. Kion assures them that they can do it as long as they stand united and emphasizes that last time there wasn't a Lion Guard around, but now there is.

To celebrate that hope everyone gathers in Mzimu Grove, now destroyed, to plant Makini's sapling into the earth as part of her Mpando Mpaya.

In the season 2 finale, The Lion Guard manages to claim a victory against Scar's army by driving out his vultures with the help of a Martial Eagle named Anga, Ono, and Hadithi. Together they avoid fire sticks thrown from the vultures to catch fire and wreak more havoc in the Pride Lands. A new ally is won because Anga states "I could get used to it" after Ono asks her about working together with him and the Lion Guard in the future.

By the time of Season 3, the final battle between the Pride Landers and the Outlanders finally come to a conclusion in the Battle for the Pride Lands special. Kion and the Lion Guard have grown into adolescence as the months pass, with Kion's power getting stronger. Simba and Kion make an effort to invade the Outlands and defeat Scar's army, whilst Janja grows uncomfortable with fighting the Lion Guard and is hesitant to join Jasiri's army, which leads to Scar attempting to kill him by trapping him in a fire. Janja escapes and finds Jasiri, and both of them rush to the Pride Landers. Simba and the royal family have already escaped, and after Makuu's persuasion, Janja tells the Pride Landers the way to defeat Scar. The next day, the final battle begins, resulting in Scar's defeat, and Ushari's death.  Janja's clan joins Jasiri's clan and Jasiri becomes the next in-charge of the Outlands. Kion and Ono get injured during the battle, with Kion notably sporting a scar on his left eye, in a similar form of his great uncle's, and The Lion Guard must embark on an epic quest to the Tree of Life to get them healed. Makucha returns as the new main antagonist for this season after Scar and assembles a group to get revenge on the Lion Guard and feast on the animals at Tree of Life.

After a long journey, Kion reaches the Tree of Life but is encountered by the Night Pride, who mistakes them for a threat and drives them out. However, the Queen of the Night Pride, Janna persuades her granddaughter, Rani, the leader of the Night Pride and the future Queen of the Tree of Life, to allow them in. Rani and Kion start to bond over each other, with Rani warming up to Kion.

In Long Live the Queen, Queen Janna has finally passed away of old age, leaving her legacy behind to her granddaughter, who becomes the new Queen of the Tree of Life, and is comforted by Kion after her grandmother's death.

Meanwhile, Makucha's Army has followed Kion into the Tree of Life, making several attacks on the Tree of Life, all thwarted by the forces of the Night Pride ad the Guard. The army is eventually expanded when Mama Binturong, a scheming binturong whom Bunga has battled follows the army and becomes the new leader, bringing reinforcements against the Tree of Life. During his healing, Kion is visited by the ghost of Askari, the first leader of the Lion Guard, who trains him on how to master the Roar, so he can truly let go of it. Kion is eventually healed, and the villains are defeated in the final battle for the Tree of Life. Once the battle is over, Kion and Rani form a deep romantic bond, which leads to Kion wondering if he should stay at the Tree of Life. Makini becomes the royal Mzjuzi for Queen Rani. However, Kion is alerted by Janja and Jasiri, aided by Azaad (whom Fuli previously befriended during the journey) that Zira, the evil lioness who supported Kion's evil-great-uncle Scar, and was exiled from the Pride Lands to the Outlands by Simba, and later battled the Lion Guard previously,  along with her children Vitani, and Kovu (the latter of whom was Scar's successor during his rule) have threatened the Pride Lands, prompting Kion and co. to return to the Pride Lands.

In the series finale, Return to the Pride Lands, after a long journey, the Lion Guard, Jasiri, Janja, and Azaad have reached the Outlands, where the hyenas reunite with their clanmates, who inform them that Zira and the Outsiders have invaded the Pride Lands and that Zira's son Kovu, has supposedly taken over Pride Rock. With help from the hyenas, and Mzingo's Parliament (who reformed after Scar's defeat) the Guard plans venture to stop Kovu but are halted by Kovu's sister Vitani and a group of lionesses, ShabahaKasiImara, and Tazama, who launch an attack with the phrase "Till the Pride Lands' end, Lion Guard defend!" After the two Guard battle, Kiara and Kovu stop the fight and bring them all back to Pride Rock to explain the story of how Kovu was raised to believe that Simba was the enemy, but befriended him and Kiara and as a result, betrayed Zira, and with the help of Kiara, united Simba's Pride and the Outsiders, whilst Zira, refusing to let go of her hate, was killed.

After the Guard reunites with their family and friends, Vitani and Kion clash over who should be the new Guard, which leads to a contest between the two teams. While Kion wins ultimately, Vitani states she can lead without the Roar, which leads to Kion anointing Vitani as his successor and the new leader of the Lion Guard. Kion is later visited again by Askari, who tells him that the Roar of the Elders could help another place. Knowing Askari's words, Kion is given the mark of the Night Pride, which was bestowed upon him by the late Queen Janna, and the Great Lions of the Past bestow Kion with the roar once again.

Sometime later, we see the Pride Landers gather around at the Tree of Life and the marriage of Kion and Rani, as well as resulting in Kion's coronation as the King of the Tree of Life. Kion and Rani roar over their Kingdom as the Pride Landers and Tree of Life inhabitants cheer back in approval, with the spirits of Mufasa, Askari, Janna, and the Great Lions of the Past watching proudly down on them.

Characters

The Lion Guard

The Lion King alumni

  • Simba, voiced by Rob Lowe: Nala's mate, Kion and Kiara's father and king of the Pride Lands.
  • Mufasa, voiced by Gary Anthony Williams: Simba's father, the older brother of Scar, and Kion and Kiara's grandfather, who lives on in spirit.
  • Kiara, voiced by Eden Riegel: Simba and Nala's daughter, Kion's older sister and princess of the Pride Lands.
  • Kovu, voiced by Jason Marsden: An Outsider lion cub.
  • Nala, voiced by Gabrielle Union: Simba's mate, Kion and Kiara's mother and queen of the Pride Lands.
  • Nuka, voiced by Andy Dick: An older outsiders lion.
  • Timon, voiced by Kevin Schon: Simba's wisecracking and kindhearted meerkat friend.
  • Pumbaa, voiced by Ernie Sabella: Simba's and Timon's warmhearted warthog friend.
  • Rafiki, voiced by Khary Payton: A wise old mandrill who serves as a shaman of the lions of Pride Rock.
  • Scar, voiced by David Oyelowo: The younger brother of Mufasa, the uncle of Simba, the great-uncle of Kion and Kiara, and a former Lion Guard leader until he abused his power, and destroyed his Guard with the Roar. Scar previously ruled the Pride Lands after murdering Mufasa, and exiling Simba, before being defeated by his nephew Simba, and becoming a ghost. Kion unintentionally summons Scar, who appears in the flames of a volcano after Kion uses the Roar of the Elders in anger, which was part of Janja and Ushari's plan to take down Kion and the Lion Guard, kill Simba, and take over the Pride Lands. In Divide and Conquer, Kion sees Scar in a wildfire. In The Scorpion's Sting, when trying to find ash to heal his ill father, Kion meets the ghost of Scar for the first time, resulting in his mission to defeat Scar once and for all. The battle with Scar trails on into the Season 3 opener, in which Scar and Kion lead their armies into the final battle for the Pride Lands, resulting in Scar's defeat and destruction.
  • Vitani, voiced by Lacey Chabert: An outsider lioness cub, who later joins Simba's Pride and become the new leader of the Lion Guard.
  • Zazu, voiced by Jeff Bennett: A red-billed hornbill who serves as Simba's majordomo.
  • Zira, voiced by Nika Futterman: The Leader of the Outsiders.

Other Characters

Other Animals

Antagonists

  • Ushari, voiced by Christian Slater: A sneaky and vengeful Egyptian cobra. In Season 2, after being trampled by the Lion Guard too many times, he resorts to villainy and teams up with Janja to revive Scar, to take over the Pride Lands. In Season 3, the final battle between the Pride Landers and the Outlanders begins, and Ushari is killed once and for all.
  • Waza, A keen blue skink.

Seasons

Specials

Episodes

(see also: Episode List for more information)

Production

The series was announced by Disney on June 9, 2014 on the run up to the first film's 20th anniversary that month and has been described as "The Lion King meets The Avengers"[3].

Attention to detail and care to the storytelling is a key component to the series, as wildlife education experts at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park will serve as consultants on stories for the show, and author and Swahili expert Sarah Mirza is the language and cultural advisor[4]. Led by Jill Mellen, education and science director, Disney's Animal Kingdom reads the scripts and makes suggestions for the show. For example, the script of one episode called for a cobra to menace songbirds. The Animal Kingdom folks thought that was more like a boomslang or vine snake than a cobra, resulting in the detail being changed.[5]

Ford Riley and Howy Parkins decided to retain the visual qualities of the original Lion King film. Riley received permission to use 2D animation for the show. Parkins and Riley also discussed the colors in the series. Throughout the first season, the backgrounds will be colored with a variety of green hues, reflecting the rainy season of the African savanna. As the series progresses, the color scheme will shift to reflect the dry season.[6]

The Lion Guard has been able to take facts about animals that live in the Serengeti and incorporate them into the plots of the episodes.[7]

Development

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 twentieth anniversary of The Lion King in 2014. Disney has shown early footage to young test audiences, who were able to make suggestions, such as adjusting the look of the hyenas. Disney Consumer Products is to launch a line of toys to tie into the television series. Many new books inspired by the series will be released in late 2015 and early 2016. A full list can be accessed here.

A sneak peek of the show was given at Disney's D23 Expo from August 14–16, 2015.

Reception

The Lion Guard has received mostly positive reviews from critics, though some older fans have criticized the show for being too child friendly in comparison to its predecessor, The Lion King. In 2016, it was the #1 series across preschooler networks both in viewers and kids aged 2-5.[8]

International releases

For information about international dubs and releases, click here.

Videos

The Lion King Family Tree

The Lion King Family Tree

A video showing the events leading up to the series.

References

  1. http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/tv-radio/2015/11/18/TV-preview-Disney-debuts-next-generation-Lion-King-TV-series/stories/201511180003
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. http://blog.disneystore.com/blog/2014/06/disney-junior-is-bringing-the-lion-king-to-television.html
  5. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/attractions/the-daily-disney/os-disney-lion-guard-mellen-20160114-story.html
  6. http://variety411.com/article/the-lion-guard-returning-to-the-lion-king-pride-lands-with-showrunner-ford-riley-4145750/
  7. http://kidscreen.com/2015/11/12/qa-the-lion-guard-director-dishes-on-how-disney-re-animated-a-classic/
  8. http://www.disneyabcpress.com/disneychannel/
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.