Set sometime during the events of the second Lion King movie, Disney Channel’s The Lion Guard on Sunday showed viewers a whole new side to the Pride Lands.
The 44-minute movie — a precursor for the Lion Guard series, coming in 2016 — introduces Kion, the son of King Simba and Queen Nala, at a momentous time in his life: the day he learns he’s destined to become the head of the Lion Guard, the Pride Land’s first line of defense against hyenas and any other creatures that plague his kingdom. (It’s pretty much just the hyenas, though, right?)
Simba isn’t initially impressed by his son’s motley crew of choice — a cheetah named Fuli, a hippo named Beshte, an egret named Ono and a honey badger named Bunga, who also happens to (somehow) be Timon and Pumbaa’s adopted nephew — but he eventually changes his tune after the Guard thwarts a group of no-good hyenas and rescues Kiara.
It should also be noted that The Lion Guard supplies a crazy backstory for the late, great Scar: Once the leader of the Guard himself, Scar became corrupted by his power, eventually believing he deserved to be king. When the Guard refused to help him take down Mufasa, he used his magic(?) roar to destroy the Guard, costing him his power in the process.
The movie does a solid job of blending familiar faces and elements, like Pumbaa’s flatulence and the classic “everything the light touches” speech, while also setting the stage for a new chapter of adventures in the Pride Lands. (And I don’t care how old you are; if Mufasa’s booming voice didn’t turn on your tear ducts, or at least give you goosebumps, you’re a hollow shell of a human.)
Do you see yourself — or, you know, your kids — watching the Lion Guard series in 2016? Grade the movie below, then drop a comment with your full review.