Gabrielle Union, James Earl Jones and more also join the cast

By Marc Snetiker
Updated August 11, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Disney
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Pride Rock is getting some A-listers.

Rob Lowe, Gabrielle Union, James Earl Jones, Max Charles, Atticus Shaffer, and Sarah Hyland will lend their voices to the African savannah in Disney’s upcoming television movie The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, a spin-off of the beloved animated film The Lion King.

At least six characters from the 1994 film will appear: Lowe will voice Simba opposite Union’s Nala, while James Earl Jones and Ernie Sabella will reprise their roles from the movie as Mufasa and Pumbaa, respectively. Rafiki (Khary Payton) and Timon (Kevin Schon) will also return to the kingdom (but only where the light touches).

The TV movie event, premiering in November on Disney Channel, follows Kion (the second-born son of Simba and Nala) and the rest of the Lion Guard, a task force of animals charged with preserving the Pride Lands. Charles plays the heroic lion cub, who’s also the group’s leader; Shaffer (The Middle) plays Ono, an egret; Joshua Rush plays honey badger Bunga; Diamond White plays Fuli, a cheetah; and Dusan Brown voices Beshte, a hippo. Together, they’re something of a mammalian Avengers — except one’s a bird.

The movie will be directed by Howy Parkins and feature new music from Christopher Willis and Beau Black. EW has an exclusive sneak peek at the opening song from the film, written and performed by Black (son of famed musician Jay Black):

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The Lion King

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