"The Lion King" is expanding its kingdom to television. Disney has announced a new animated series and a TV movie based on the 1994 musical film that will come on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
"The Lion Guard", to be produced by Disney Television Animation, is a series that follows lion cub Kion, a member of the Lion Guard group tasked with preserving his family's natural habitat. The show will also feature new characters, including a honey badger, a cheetah, a hippo and an egret. Familiar characters Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa will make appearance as well.
"The story of 'The Lion King' has deeply touched families around the world," said Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide. "We look forward to introducing a whole new generation of kids to both the Disney legacy characters and to new friends and heroes."
Ford Riley, who developed "Lion Guard", will serve as executive producer. The animated series is scheduled to bow in 2016 and will be preceded by a TV movie which will debut next fall. "Wildlife education experts" from Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park are brought in to the project to consult on the show.
"The Lion King", directed by Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers, was a global success for Disney. The film grossed $987.4 million worlwide from its original theatrical run and 2011 3-D re-release.