Yeah, I don't really write much here these days. However, I felt I needed to comment on what was revealed at D23. As people may know, or not, I'm a huge fan of The Lion King. And it seems the new series will shed some light on the backstory of the world of The Lion King as well as telling a new story. For that, I'm actually kind of hyped.
Here's what has been detailed:
- Voice cast-wise every character that so far has been named as appearing has been confirmed. It is the previous characters that intrigue me particularly. Simba is to be voiced by Rob Lowe, replacing Matthew Broderick (as I understand it, Broderick washed his hands of the series a long time ago, probably over a dispute with Disney) and Cam Clarke, who voiced Simba in the previous Lion King spinoff media (and provided Simba's singing voice for the second film). Nala is to be voiced by Gabrielle Union, replacing Moira Kelly. Kiara is to be voiced by Eden Riegel, replacing Neve Campbell. Timon is to be voiced by Kevin Schon, who has voiced Timon in various spinoff media prior to this series, including some episodes of the Timon and Pumbaa TV series (he shared the role with Nathan Lane, who like Broderick seems to have washed his hands of the series). Pumbaa is to be voiced by Ernie Sabella, the only actor in other media to voice Pumbaa so far. Rafiki is to be voiced by Khara Payton, replacing Robert Guillaume (Guillaume is 87 and appears to be retired now as he hasn't really been in anything since 2012). Zazu is voiced by Jeff Bennett, who previous sang The Morning Report for Zazu in the 2003 DVD re-release of the film (replacing Edward Hibbert from the previous two films). Last but not least, Mufasa is voiced by James Earl Jones, making him the second of two actors from the first film to reprise their roles.
- The Lion Guard will have a history behind it. It existed in previous generations where there was a younger sibling to a King or King-in-waiting. Scar had at one point been in charge of the Lion Guard. However, the power went to his head and he started having designs on the throne kept by his brother. Scar tried to use the Lion Guard to overthrow Mufasa but the lions that comprised it refused to betray their King, and so Scar used the Roar of the Elders to destroy them. You can't use it for evil, so Scar was deposed from the title of leader of the Lion Guard, and apparently became the gaunt, salloy, sulky lion we see at the start of the first film as punishment. Simba had no siblings so he didn't have a Lion Guard.
- With regards to the rules, Kion seems to be the opposite of both his father as a cub and his older sister.
- Seems there's many callbacks to previous films: Kion puncing on Bunga like Nala did to Simba, the Gorge, the Outlands, the hyenas...
From the looks of things, this may be good. The whole idea of the "Roar of the Elders" is a bit silly, but it's in a world where the ghosts of the previous Kings can interfere and Rafiki sees things through dust in a tortoise shell, so it's not far removed from what's already established.
Some of this has in all honesty been received in a mixed fashion by older TLK fans, but let's be fair, this series is aimed at kids. There are quite clearly going to be bits that older fans, such as myself, will recognise.