It’s time for a return to Pride Rock “Lion King” fans. Disney is planning to launch a series based on the immensely popular 1994 movie. And some pretty interesting voice actors have been cast as replacements for several key original characters.
Vulture reports that Disney is planning a sort-of sequel to “The Lion King” starting with a made-for-TV movie entitled “The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar." The film will premiere on Disney Channel before a series based on the same characters, titled "The Lion Guard," lands later on Disney Junior.
According to Entertainment Weekly, some of the key characters from the original movies will return, but only some of the original voice actors will be back. The movie will feature Rob Lowe, replacing Matthew Broderick as Simba, Gabrielle Union, replacing Moira Kelly as Nala, Khary Payton, replacing Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, and Kevin Schon, replacing Nathan Lane as Timon. Meanwhile, James Earl Jones (Mufasa) and Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa) have signed on to reprise their respective roles for the 2015 series.
“The Lion Guard” will focus on Simba and Nala’s son, Kion, as he enlists the help of a group of animals that he thinks are the bravest in Africa to help him keep the kingdom safe. Helping him protect the Pride Lands will be an egret named Ono (Atticus Shaffer), a honey badger named Bunga (Joshua Rush), a cheetah named Fuli (Diamond White) and a hippo named Beshte (Dusan Brown).
As Variety notes, the project has been several years in the making since everyone involved wanted to make extra sure that they were doing the original movie justice with this follow-up.
“We were really trying to make sure, from a production value, that we could get as close to the feel of the movie as we possibly can,” executive vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, Nancy Kanter, said. “I think people will be sort of amazed at just how beautiful it really looks,” she said. “Some of the artists on the series have, in fact, worked on the original movies.”
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