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The twelve things you *need* to know about The Lion Guard

Remember The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, the Lion King follow-up movie that told the story of Simba's son Kion and his ragtag group of friends?

Now Kion and his buds are back in the new spin-off series The Lion Guard, premiering tomorrow, Friday, January 15th at 9:30 a.m. on Disney Channel. With actors like Sarah Hyland, Madison Pettis and Max Charles reprising their roles and Maia Mitchell and Lacey Chabert joining the party, this is can't-see series for any old-school Disney fan—and we've got all the fun facts you need to know.

1. Kion and the other members of the Lion Guard were inspired by executive producer Ford Riley's son, Quinn, and the make believe superhero team that Quinn and his friends played in the park. The concept of a group of heroes with different personality traits and attributes who share a common mission to protect others resonated with Riley and became the inspiration for Kion and the other members of the Lion Guard.


2. The Lion Guard brings executive producer Ford Riley's career full-circle – the first script he sold as a young writer was for Disney Television Animation's The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa series.


3. Both Diamond White and Dusan Brown starred in stage productions of The Lion King when they were younger – Diamond as Young Nala in Disney's The Lion King at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and Dusan as Young Simba in the North America Tour of Disney Theatrical Productions The Lion King Broadway musical.


4. Rob Lowe who voices Simba and Max Charles who voices Kion are both from the same hometown: Dayton, OH.


5. Atticus Shaffer who voices Ono the egret is a bird lover in real life. He and his family have a parakeet, canary and chickens at home.

6. The design of the barren and rocky Outlands was inspired by the hoodoos and other rock formations found at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.


7. Each member of the Lion Guard has their own Swahili catchphrase - Kion's is "Hevi Kabisa" which means "Totally Intense!" Author and Swahili expert Sarah Mirza is the language and cultural advisor on The Lion Guard.  

8. The design of Fuli's unique-looking spots are based on the spot pattern of the "King Cheetah." If you look closely, you’ll see that Fuli also has a tiny heart shaped spot on her head and an arrow shape on her back.


9. Composer Christopher Willis has worked with Disney's most famous characters as he is also the composer for Disney Television Animation's multiple Emmy Award-winning Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts.

10. Director Howy Parkins brought in background painter Barry Atkinson, who worked on The Lion King to help ensure that the world of The Lion Guard looks as close to the original as possible.


11. The Education and Science experts at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park serve as consultants, advising on the characteristics, behaviors and habitats of the African animal species featured and inspiring original stories based on their first-hand experiences.


12. Prior to The Lion Guard, Ford Riley (executive producer), Howy Parkins (director) and John Carillo (line producer) all worked together on Disney Television Animation's hit animated series Recess (1997-2001). Coincidentally, Sarah Hyland (voice of Tiifu) was a fan of Recess when she was a kid and even dressed up as a character from the series for Halloween a few years ago.

Are you a fan of The Lion King? Which piece of trivia did you think was the coolest?

Photos credit: Disney

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by Chelsea Duff | 2/1/2016