I was invited as media to cover this press event for Disney. While expenses were paid, all opinions are my own.
The Lion King series is one of our family favorites. It’s a classic I grew up watching and something I’ve enjoyed sharing with my boys. We love the catchy music and storyline behind the films, so it was really exciting to learn that Lion King is returning! This time it will be an animated tv show with a storyline in between Lion King 1 and 2.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar will make its debut on 11/22 and begin a half hour series on Disney Jr. After watching the 44 minute introduction to the series, we had an opportunity to interview the Executive Producer Ford Riley, Composer Christopher Willis, Singer/Songwriter Beau Black and Swahili Consultant Sarah Mirza.
When Ford Riley was first asked to head up the project he wasn’t quite sure where to go with the storyline. After brainstorming ideas he came home and found the inspiration for the premise of the show within his own 8 year old son, Quinn. His son often had a playdate with friends in the park where the kids used their imagination to form a superhero team. That idea resonated with the Disney Jr team and The Lion Guard production began.
What is The Lion Guard?
It’s a pact of friends who protect the Circle of Life. Think superheros meets the pride land. The team is headed up by Kion, Simba and Nala’s son, and his friends. Each member of The Lion Guard has a strength like Fuli the cheetah, who is fast and Beshte the hippo who is strong. As the 26 show series unfolds on Disney Jr fans will follow along on The Lion Guard’s adventures.
Sarah, the Swahili Consultant shares that she helped incorporate many of the terms and phrases to keep the storyline authentic. She’s excited for the newer generation of children to learn about other languages and cultures while watching the show. Here’s a few phrases you’ll hear throughout the series:
Hevi Kabisa in Swahili means Totally Intense!
Zuka Zama in Swahili means Pop up, Dive In!
Hapana in Swahili means Oh, no!
While the team did not visit Africa, they did draw inspiration from working closely with Sarah and Animal Kingdom’s Dr. Jill Mellen. Ford also mentioned that he visited a San Diego safari park and Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom park.
Songwriter Beau shared that creating the music for the tv series was pretty easy. He mentioned that if a song was catchy, he knew it was a good sign. Expect at least one song in every episode! Composer Chris Willis adds that a mixture of choirs were formed that sing in Swahili and when they got the right pronunciation and instruments right, “you can feel like you’re in Africa.”
Which character is the team’s favorite? Beau likes Bunga the badger, Chris likes Beshte the hippo, Sarah likes Fuli and Ford likes the dynamic between Kion and Bunga.
I’m really excited about the new tv series and know it will be something our whole family will enjoy watching. The circle of life lives on with Kion and friends in The Lion Guard!
Roar it Out!
Share you or your childs best “roar” on social media with the hashtag #ReturnoftheRoar to help protect African Wildlife. For each share Disney will donate $1 up to $25,000 through the Disney Conservation Fund leading up to the premiere on Nov 22. Check out my roar below with fellow bloggers Olivia and Dina.
Catch the trailer for The Lion Guard below. Then watch the premiere on Disney Channel 11/22 at 7pm ET.