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Disney is not done with The Lion King, and if the film’s recent re-release is any indication, neither are the film’s fans. So, the studio is expanding the universe with The Lion Guard, a new Disney Channel and Disney Junior series launching next year.
The Lion Guard will focus on Kion, Simba and Nala’s son, who leads the titular group and defends the Pride Lands. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki and Zazu will make cameo appearances, notes Entertainment Weekly. The studio did not forget about Kiara, Kion’s older sister, who was introduced in the Lion King direct-to-video sequels. Several new characters will also be introduced.
According to TheWrap, Lion Guard’s target audience is the 2-7 age group and will start with a TV movie in fall 2016. The series will debut in early 2016.
Since The Lion King remains one of Disney’s most popular properties, there’s a strong chance that older fans will check out the show as well. The original film is among the highest-grossing animated films of all time, earning $987 million worldwide. It was also released in 2011 in 3D and IMAX. In addition to The Lion King II and The Lion King 1 1/2, Timon & Pumbaa also got their own TV series.
Disney is also going to work with wildlife education experts to develop The Lion Guard and conservation will be a major theme in the show.