6:00am PT by Kate Stanhope
'Lion King' Sequel Series Taps Rob Lowe and Gabrielle Union for Voice Cast
Rob Lowe and Gabrielle Union are joining the animal kingdom.
The Parks and Recreation alum and Being Mary Jane star have signed on to voice Simba and Nala in Disney Channel's upcoming Lion King sequel TV movie and series, it was announced Wednesday.
James Earl Jones and Ernie Sabella will reprise their roles from the hit 1994 animated film as Mufasa and Pumbaa, respectively. Max Charles (The Strain) will voice Simba and Nala's second-born cub, Kion.
The Lion Guard centers on Kion as he assumes the role of leader of the Lion Guard, a team of animals in charge of preserving the Pride Lands. Instead of asking the fiercest and strongest lions to help him, Kion looks to his friends whom he believes have the most heroic qualities. This group includes Kion's best friend Bunga, a fearless honey badger (Joshua Rush); Ono, an intellectual egret (The Middle's Atticus Shaffer); Fuli, a confident cheetah (Diamond White) and Beshte, a friendly and good-spirited hippo (Dusan Brown).
Additionally, Khary Payton (Teen Titans) will voice Rafiki and Kevin Schon (The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa) will voice Timon. Other voice cast members include Modern Family star Sarah Hyland and All My Children's Eden Riegel.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar will premiere in November to serve as a precursor to the upcoming The Lion Guard series, which will launch in early 2016 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
A production of Disney Television Animation,The Lion Guard was developed by Ford Riley (Special Agent Oso), who will exec produce. Howy Parkins (Jake and the Never Land Pirates) will direct, while Christopher Willis (Mickey Mouse) will serve as the composer.
The Lion King, which took home two Oscars, has grossed $987.4 million globally, with a Grammy-winning soundtrack that has sold more than 15 million units. The Broadway theatrical adaptation won the Tony for best musical and is in its 17th year on the Great White Way, with 10 productions in eight languages running worldwide. More than 70 million people have seen the play, which ranks as the highest-grossing Broadway production in history.
Check out a clip from The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar below.