Blair Underwood, Ana Gasteyer and Maia Mitchell among recurring voice cast; Jason Marsden, Andy Dick and Lacey Chabert reprise roles from "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride"
The animated series "The Lion Guard" will premiere Friday, Jan. 15 (9:30 a.m., EST/PST), on Disney Channel, and encore throughout the weekend on Disney Junior and Disney Channel.
Its story - introduced last month in a Disney Channel movie that posted commanding ratings among kids 2-5 and total viewers - continues the "The Lion King" epic. It follows the adventures of Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, and his diverse group of friends, each with a unique skill, as they unite to protect the Pride Lands.
A full-length preview episode titled "The Rise of Makuu" will be available on WATCHDisneyJunior.com, the WATCH Disney Junior app and iTunes on Monday, Dec. 14.
Each episode of "The Lion Guard" incorporates Swahili words and phrases and includes original songs. The education and science experts at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park serve as consultants, inspiring original stories based on their first-hand experiences, and advising on the characteristics, behaviors and habitats of various African animal species.
Joining the cast, which includes Rob Lowe and Gabrielle Union as Simba and Nala, and Max Charles as Kion, are recurring guest stars Blair Underwood ("Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") as Makuu, leader of the crocodiles and one of the Lion Guard's main villains; Ana Gasteyer ("The Goldbergs") as Reirei, a clever and scheming jackal who wreaks havoc in the Pride Lands; and Maia Mitchell ("The Fosters") as Jasiri, a friendly hyena who rescues Kion and helps him face off against Janja and the rest of the hyenas. Jason Marsden, Andy Dick and Lacey Chabert reprise their roles as Kovu, Nuka and Vitani, respectively, from "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride" in an upcoming episode.
"The Lion Guard" voice cast also includes: Joshua Rush as Bunga, Atticus Shaffer as Ono, Diamond White as Fuli, Dusan Brown as Beshte, Eden Riegel as Kiara, Sarah Hyland as Tiifu, Madison Pettis as Zuri, Jeff Bennett as Zazu, Andrew Kishino as Janja, Vargus Mason as Cheezi, Jonny Rees as Mzingo, Khary Payton as Rafiki, Kevin Schon as Chungu and Timon, Gary Anthony Williams as Mufasa and Ernie Sabella reprising his role as Pumbaa.