Disney Channel’s The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
Hakuna Matata… one of the greatest movie lines ever. The Lion King was such a huge movie when I was growing up that I now enjoy sharing with our son. I was very excited to learn about Disney Channel’s The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar special event that premieres Sunday, November 22 at 7pm/6c on the Disney Channel. We were able to meet with Ford Riley (Executive Producer), Christopher Willis (Composer), Swahili expert Sarah Mirza, singer/songwriter Beau Black and Dr. Jill Mellen after getting to see an advanced screening of the movie.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar takes place in the world of The Lion King and follows Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala. Of course, I am sure you remember Simba as the cub that takes over as king in The Lion King. Simba is now grown with his own family. You will follow his son, Kion, through the African Savanna as he assembles members of the ‘Lion Guard’. Each young animal of the ‘Lion Guard’ will learn how to utilize each of their unique abilities as they solve problems and accomplish tasks to help maintain balance within the Circle of Life. You will meet a vast array of animals that call this African landscape home.
The Lion Guard team is made up of five animals: Kion (voiced by Max Charles), the brave lion; Bunga (voiced by Joshua Rush), a fierce honey badger; Fuli (Diamond White), the fast cheetah; Beshte (Dusan Brown), the strong hippo; and Ono (Atticus Shaffer), the smart egret.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar has an incredible voice cast! I immediately recognized several of the voices while watching the movie. Here’s a few others you might recognize: Rob Lowe (Simba) and Gabrielle Union (Nala). View the full cast of The Lion Guard.
Here’s me, the other great bloggers, Executive Producer Ford Riley, Swahili expert Sarah Mirza, Composer Christopher Willis and singer/songwriter Beau Black.
We met with Executive Producer Ford Riley who also produced the series, The Lion Guard, that will be aired on the Disney Channel starting in January. He explained to us how he took inspiration from his son, Quinn, who enjoyed playing with a make believe superhero team with friends. Their mission was to protect others as a group of heroes with different traits and qualities. This became Riley’s inspiration for Kion and the other members of the ‘Lion Guard’ team.
As with The Lion King, The Lion Guard has plenty of catchy phrases and song. Multiple Annie Award winning composer, Christopher Willis, worked closely with singer/songwriter Beau Black to create the music for The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and subsequent series The Lion Guard. Beau Black wrote the music for all of the songs featured in the series and movie.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar could not have been possible without author and Swahili expert Sarah Mirza. She first began her career as a Swahili instructor at a primary school in Mombasa but now resides in the United States with a position in the Department of Linguistics at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has written several books on Swahili.
Here’s a great list of Swahili words and phrases found in The Lion Guard:
We also spoke with Dr. Jill Mellen, Education and Science Director at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney’s animals at Animal Kingdom serve an important purpose as ambassadors and fun for kids. She also spoke about each of the five animals that make up the ‘Lion Guard’ and other animals the gang will meet along the way. Dr. Mellen said honey badgers are very fierce animals which is represented by the character Bunga.
“No one knows villains better than Disney”
~ Dr. Jill Mellen
Did you know female lions do most of the hunting? The male lions tend to take care of the cubs and keep them from danger while the female lions hunt for the food.
Dr. Mellen said connecting real conservation stories to The Lion Guard makes them resonate with kids and was very important to the creators. This is why it is so important for the writers to converse with experts like Dr. Mellen. They want to keep the stories as real as possible. Kids are so fascinated with the diversity of animals. They will even get to see a good hyena in The Lion Guard series. Not every child will have the opportunity to visit Africa. The Lion Guard brings it to the children.
Help Protect African Wildlife
ROAR IT OUT! Share your best “ROAR!” With #ReturnoftheRoar to help protect African Wildlife. Last year, The Walt Disney Company directed nearly one million dollars through the Disney Conservation Fund to help protect more than 25 species of African wildlife in 16 countries. With #ReturnoftheRoar, Disney will donate one dollar up to $25,000 through the Disney Conservation Fund for every “ROAR!” posted during the week leading up to the premiere of The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar on November 22. Here’s my video with two of my blogging buddies:
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar kids printable activities (scroll to the bottom of the page at the link) including a Kion Mask, Fuli Mask and other activities.
Zuka Zama! and tune in to watch The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar premiere Sunday, November 22 at 7pm/6c on the Disney Channel. We absolutely loved it and recommend you watch it with your whole family! Don’t forget about The Lion Guard series starting in January! There will be 26 half hour episodes.
The Lion Guard stays true to the Lion King legacy. Check out the trailer below: