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Zebra Leader.png
Physical information




Hair color

Black, gray, and white

Eye color


Biographical information
Also known as

Zebra Mastermind (by his herd)




Pride Lands


   Pride Landers
   Thurston's herd


Herd leader

Panic and run! Panic and run!
―Thurston's catchphrase[src]

Thurston is a male zebra. He is the leader of a herd of zebras in the Pride Lands.


Early life

Thurston lived in the Pride Lands during Simba's reign. He presumably became leader of his herd sometime after reaching adulthood.

The Lion Guard

"Never Judge a Hyena by its Spots"

When the Lion Guard is searching for Flat Ridge Rock, Thurston approaches them and asks if they're in need of directions. They explain that they're looking for Flat Ridge Rock, and Thurston simply asks where that is, to which Fuli reacts in exasperation. Thurston, realizing that he can be of no help, asks where he had been going, and Ono suggests that he'd been returning to his herd. Thurston agrees and then leaves to rejoin his fellow zebras.

"The Rise of Makuu"

Thurston watches the mashindano between Makuu and Pua. He winces when Pua gets violently stricken to the ground by Makuu.

"Bunga the Wise"

Thurston asks Bunga for advice

When Bunga saves Lake Kiziwa from flooding, Thurston compliments him on such a brilliant idea. He later comes before "Bunga the Wise" for advice about where to find a stick if he needs to plug up a leak. Bunga simply advises that he climb up a tree.

Not long after this, Kion attempts to put a stop to Bunga's schemes, and Thurston gasps when the cub accuses Bunga of giving out bad advice. However, when the dam breaks, Thurston flees with the other animals until they find themselves trapped in a ravine. He looks to Bunga for advice, but it's Kion who saves the day by using the Roar of the Elders.

Later, Thurston enjoys a new water hole created by the floodwaters.

"Eye of the Beholder"

Thurston and his herd are grazing at Chakula Plains when Ono swoops down, warning them to move so that Kion can perform the Roar of the Elders. Thurston refuses to move because he's eating, and Ono is forced to yell in order to scare the zebras into stampeding away. The herd flees to safety and continues grazing away from the ravine.

"The Kupatana Celebration"

Thurston attends Kupatana.

"Follow that Hippo!"

Beshte reassures a group of Pridelanders

When Mtoto and his friends cry out that there's a hyena attack, Thurston flees in panic. However, when he finds out that they'd just been playing, he complains about the false alarm.

Later, Thurston complains to Beshte about the hyenas, and Beshte promises to take care of the problem. Despite Beshte's promises, Thurston continues to complain that zebras are the best-tasting animals in the Pride Lands and that the hyenas know it. However, he is interrupted when Beshte is forced to save Mtoto, and he cries out in fear, asking who will protect him.

"The Call of the Drongo"

Thurston encounters the Lion Guard

When Janja forces Tamaa to mimic Kion's voice, Thurston overhears the phony order for animals to go to the Outlands. In a panic, he attempts to flee, but he doesn't know which way the Outlands are, and so he runs straight into the real Kion, who denies ever having given such an order. Thurston insists that he'd heard correctly, for zebras have the best hearing in the Pride Lands.

Ignoring Thurston's boasts, Fuli questions him as to why he's not in the Outlands, and he admits to not knowing where the Outlands are. Kion then confirms that Thurston had heard, but not seen anything, after which he and his team race off to put a stop to Janja's schemes. The confused lead zebra calls out after them that he'd thought they weren't supposed to go to the Outlands.

"Paintings and Predictions"

During a thunderstorm, Thurston and his herd are spooked by thunder, and they start a stampede through the Pride Lands. The Lion Guard attempts to put a stop to the danger, and they save the herd from being crushed by a large falling boulder.

Bunga rides Thurston

After the stampede, Kion questions Thurston as to why he had started running, and he admits that the herd had been scared of a loud "boom", which Ono figures to mean thunder. Kion then orders Ono to show the zebras the way home, and it takes Thurston a second to figure out that he doesn't have to fly to follow Ono. Hurriedly, he races to catch up with the egret.

Once at his grazing ground, Thurston and two of his fellow zebras are spooked away by Janja and his cronies, Cheezi and Chungu. The Lion Guard goes out of their way to fetch the zebras back, but when Beshte accidentally sends a rock rolling toward them, the zebras panic and jump into a nearby river. Just in time, Kion uses the Roar of the Elders to blow them to safety, and the zebras land safely among the Lion Guard.

"The Imaginary Okapi"

Thurston collides with Makucha the leopard in the midst of a panic

Thurston is first seen during the musical number "Life in the Pride Lands". Shortly afterward, Ajabu the okapi approaches Thurston's herd, and Thurston asks him what he is. Before Ajabu can answer, Thurston interrupts by offering several guesses as to what species he is. Just then, Makucha the leopard approaches, and Thurston plows into him in a panic. Thurston begs not to be eaten, and Makucha declares that he is after an animal much tastier than a zebra. As Makucha races away, Thurston snorts in disgust, insulted at being called less tastier than something else.

"Janja's New Crew"

When the trail from Big Springs to Mekundu Cliffs becomes blocked by a mudslide, Bunga and Ono attempt to prevent Pride Landers from using the trail. Thurston approaches and demands that he be let through, despite Bunga and Ono's protests. He shoves his way through them and gets stuck in a mud pool. When he demands Bunga and Ono help him, the two comply and help free him.

"Beware the Zimwi"

While searching for the Zimwi, the Lion Guard runs into a panicked Thurston. Bunga assumes that Thurston is running from the Zimwi, but Thurston states that the Zimwi is nothing more than a story and explains that he had been spooked by some genets. The very thought of the genets spins him into a panic, and he takes off again into the forest.

"Never Roar Again"

While taking a drink at the Flood Plains, Thurston is interrupted by a mongoose. He soon notices Makuu invading the area and flees with the other Pride Landers.

"The Traveling Baboon Show"

Thurston is summoned by a sable antelope to see the Traveling Baboon Show. Once at the location of the performance, he watches Uroho, Mwevi and Mwizi perform.

Thurston watches the Traveling Baboon Show perform

Later, Thurston is present when Ma Tembo calls the Lion Guard to look at a tree that has had all its leaves mysteriously stripped. Thurston informs the Guard that great patches of grass are missing as well, and asks them if they know what it all means. Ma Tembo answers that it means there is a food thief in the Pride Lands, and the Lion Guard resolves to inspect the tree further and track down the thief. Satisfied for the present, the other animals leave, but Thurston remains.

Upon inspection of the grassless ground, Bunga declares that it must have been a zebra that took all the food, and Thurston takes offense at the remark. Ono declares that it could not have been a zebra because all the bugs from under nearby rocks have been taken too, and some zebras are afraid of bugs. As Ono speaks, Thurston discovers a caterpillar among his patch of grass and takes off in a panic.

"The Lion Guard: The Rise of Scar"

Thurston can be seen following Ma Tembo as she looks for water.

"Let Sleeping Crocs Lie"

Thurston watches the mashindano between Kiburi and Makuu.

"Swept Away"

Thurston and his herd are freed from a dry riverbed by the Lion Guard

When Thurston and members of his herd get stuck in a dry riverbed, the Lion Guard arrives to help. Beshte warns the team that they must rescue the zebras quickly, else the sun will dry the mud faster, and Kion decides to use the Roar of the Elders to make a rainstorm and loosen the mud. To the rest of the Lion Guard's shock, the Roar turns a cloud into a thunderstorm, and the falling rain loosens the mud, freeing some of the zebras.

At first, the Lion Guard believes the zebras to be safe, but when the rain refuses to stop and a flood begins to rush down the riverbed, Kion orders Beshte to stop the water flow while he and the rest of the Guard free the stuck zebras. Thurston and the zebras are brought successfully to safety.

"Rafiki's New Neighbors"

Near Pride Rock, the Lion Guard struggles to put out a brush fire. Together, they manage to dig trenches around the fire, effectively ending the danger, but the commotion frightens Thurston and his herd of zebras into stampeding across the grasslands. The Lion Guard races off to avert the danger. Once the herd slows, Ono learns from Thurston that dry lightning had caused the brush fire.

Thurston later appears during "Three of a Kind".

"Rescue in the Outlands"

A herd of cape buffalo stampede across the Pride Lands, fleeing a cloud of tsetse flies, while the Lion Guard attempts to calm them. In the midst of the chase, Ono points out that tsetse flies detest water, and Kion orders the team to steer the herd to a nearby water source. After clearing Thurston and his herd from their path, the Lion Guard successfully leads the cape buffalo to a watering hole, where the tsetse flies are warded off.

Thurston approaches the Lion Guard, seeking a new watering hole for his herd

Later, the Lion Guard helps Mbeya out of a ditch in which he was stuck. The team escorts him back to the watering hole, but finds themselves plagued by tsetse flies. In frustration, Beshte orders the flies to leave, and to the team's shock, the cloud disappears. Just then, Thurston and his herd appear, seeking a new watering hole, and Ono realizes that the zebras have been the ones driving off the tsetse flies. This gives Kion an idea, and he and the rest of the Lion Guard decide to escort Mbeya and the zebras to a new watering hole.

Presently, Madoa reaches the Lion Guard and tells them that Janja's clan have trapped Jasiri and two hyena pups in a steam vent. Kion attempts to lead his team in rescue, but they get caught in a cloud of tsetse flies, which prevents them from moving quickly. Kion suggests that Thurston accompany them to ward off any remaining flies, and the zebra agrees to his request, hoping to "earn a new stripe" for his bravery.

Thurston joins the Lion Guard on their quest to rescue Jasiri and two hyena pups

In the Outlands, Kion realizes that the tsetse flies have vanished, and he orders Thurston to return to the Pride Lands. The zebra departs, and Kion suggests that Madoa leave as well in order to protect her clan. Before they can launch their rescue, Thurston reappears, asking for directions, and the Lion Guard frustratingly points him in the right direction. However, Thurston gets turned around again and continues to follow the team deeper into the Outlands.

The team becomes irritated when they realize that Thurston is still with them, but they have no choice but to proceed with their attack. The team engages in a fight with the hyenas, and Janja and his clan are effectively steered away from the edge of the steam vent. With the hyenas out of the way, Kion orders Beshte to push a large rock into the lava flow, which allows Jasiri and the pups to clamber to safety.

Thurston mistakenly believes that he has been recruited as a new member of the Lion Guard

After the fiasco, Jasiri thanks the Lion Guard for their help, and the Lion Guard leads Thurston back to the Pride Lands while Jasiri returns the pups to their clan.

Back in the Pride Lands, the Lion Guard thanks Thurston for his help, which leads Thurston to believe that he has been invited to join the Lion Guard. He excitedly announces his new status to his herd while the Lion Guard looks on in amusement. Just then, the tsetse flies reappear, and the team decides to hang out with the zebras.

"The Bite of Kenge"

Thurston shouts "panic and run" when his herd is startled by Kenge.

"Timon and Pumbaa's Christmas"

Thurston and his herd participate in the "The Twelve Ways of Christmas" performance.

"Divide and Conquer"

Thurston enjoys a show put on by Tamaa the drongo, who takes pleasure in continually impersonating Thurston's voice.

"The Scorpion's Sting"

Thurston attends Simba's Kumbuka celebration at Pride Rock.

"Undercover Kinyonga"

Thurston asserts that a nearby rock was speaking to him

Thurston's frightened brays attract the Lion Guard's attention, and the team approaches him and his herd, asking what the problem is. Thurston reports that a nearby rock has been talking to him, though the team has its doubts. However, Twiga soon appears with a similar claim about a tree. Kion calms the animals, promising to figure out what's going on.

The next morning, the Lion Guard notices Thurston speaking to a rock and figures that it must be Kinyonga the chameleon at work. However, Thurston is frightened by her appearance, and he and his herd flee from the rock.

"The Zebra Mastermind"

Thurston and his herd sing "The Zebra Mastermind", during which they praise Thurston for his cleverness

The Lion Guard saves a pair of hyraxes from a dust devil. Nearby, Thurston is aggravated by the storm and proclaims to the Lion Guard that they should be putting a stop to the dust devils. Just then, Ono spots another dust devil, and Kion leads the team to the site of the storm.

With the Lion Guard gone, Thurston brags about how he is the true mastermind behind the Guard ("The Zebra Mastermind"). Unbeknownst to Thurston, Cheezi and Chungu are listening from the underbrush. The two hyenas hatch a scheme to kidnap Thurston and force him to spill all of the Lion Guard's secrets. They then lead him away with the promise that he can attend a party with them in the Outlands.

Thurston tells Cheezi and Chungu that the Lion Guard is allergic to flowers

In the Outlands, Thurston informs the hyenas that the Lion Guard sneezes uncontrollably if exposed to red flowers. Cheezi and Chungu race off to use this information against the Lion Guard, while Thurston stays behind, pondering if it had been himself who was subject to the flowers.

Later, Goigoi is tasked with finding food by his mate, Reirei. He happens to notice Thurston sitting idly in a clearing and approaches him with the intention of eating him.

Thurston tells Goigoi that the Lion Guard won't be able to see Goigoi if he paints himself with stripes

However, he pauses when Thurston mentions that he has inside knowledge on the Lion Guard. Thurston explains that the Lion Guard often overlooks him due to his stripes, and Goigoi wonders if he could use the same tactic to defeat them. As Goigoi leaves to deal with the Lion Guard, Thurston wonders if he had been unnoticeable only because he was lost in a herd of other zebras.

Tamka and Nduli have their own encounter with Thurston, who tells them that the Lion Guard will fall asleep if their bellies are tickled. However, as the crocodiles depart, Thurston realizes that he had been talking about his own quirk, not the Lion Guard's.

The Lion Guard saves Thurston from an attack by the angry Outlanders

Meanwhile, Kion voices his concern that Scar is behind some strange attacks, and orders Ono to scout out the Outlands. Ono soon spots Thurston being beset by Cheezi, Chungu, Goigoi, Nduli, and Tamka. Since he is a Pride Lander, Kion decides that it is their duty to save him.

As the Outlanders debate which part of Thurston to eat first, Thurston advises that they "panic and run." Just then, the Lion Guard appears and chases off the Outlanders. Thurston then reveals that he has been advising the Outlanders, and the Lion Guard realizes why they have been the butt-end of such strange attacks. Together, the team and Thurston leave the Outlands to return home.

"The Underground Adventure"

As Kion, Bunga, Tiifu, Zuri, and Kiara continue navigating underground tunnels, they hear nearby hooves pounding, and run into Thurston. They question Thurston as to which direction he had come from, but he is unable to recall where he'd been.

Thurston panics once he realizes that he is trapped underground

Just then, Kion gets the idea to track down Muhangus and ask him for directions. At first, Muhangus is loath to help the friends, but he begrudgingly agrees. He leads the friends to the end of the tunnel. However, Thurston begins to panic, having just realized that they have been stuck underground. Tiifu rushes back and calms him, reminding him that there is nothing to fear in the dark. She then leads Thurston into the daylight.

Once above ground, the friends are met by Beshte, Fuli, and Ono. Just then, Thurston wanders into another cave and begins to panic, so Tiifu races to help him out of the dark.

"Beshte and the Beast"

Thurston and his herd go to drink from the Watering Hole, but they are frightened away by the arrival of Shujaa. Kion sends Beshte and Ono to calm the zebras.

"The Fall of Mizimu Grove"

Bunga calms a panicking Thurston

At Mizimu Grove, Rafiki and Simba announce Makini's mpando mpaya, and Timon and Pumbaa perform their song ("Tujiinue"). In the midst of the celebration, the Army of Scar attacks, and the Pride Landers rise up to defend themselves. The battle pauses when Scar appears in the flames and threatens to overtake the entirety of the Pride Lands. Frightened by Scar's unexpected appearance, the remaining Pride Landers, including Thurston and his herd, flee Mizimu Grove.

Simba approaches the Pride Landers once the Lion Guard has calmed them and admits that he has had knowledge of Scar's return for some time. The herds deliberate whether they should leave the Pride Lands, and Simba tells them to inform him of their decision the following morning at Pride Rock.

At Pride Rock, Kion implores Thurston and his herd to follow him to Mizimu Grove before they decide to leave the kingdom. The herds follow Kion to Pride Rock, where Makini's baobab tree seed has survived the fire. This inspires the Pride Landers to remain in the kingdom and work together to defeat Scar. 

"Battle for the Pride Lands"

When the Lion Guard leaves the Pride Lands to find the Tree of Life, Thurston and his herd join the other Pride Landers to say goodbye. Thurston assures Kion that he and his zebras will protect the Pride Lands while the Guard is away. Kion thanks him by using his name before leaving, and Thurston tells his herd that Kion had known his name all along.

"Return to the Pride Lands"

After being freed by Azaad, Thurston suggests that Kion's and Vitani's Lion Guards compete for the title

Laini races to the Lair of the Lion Guard, calling for help. Both Kion's and Vitani's Lion Guards volunteer to help her. Laini leads the teams to where Thurston's front half is stuck in a hole. The two Lion Guards argue over who should rescue Thurston, but Azaad merely approaches Thurston and tells him to back out of the hole. Thurston does so, and Kion comments that they must sort out their problems in order to avoid quarreling. Thurston suggests a competition to determine which team is better, and both Lion Guards agree to the challenge.

The Lion Guards take up Thurston's idea and announce the Battle of the Lion Guards at Mizimu Grove. Thurston attends the announcement as well as every individual competition. He witnesses the final mashindano between Kion and Vitani, and reacts with awe when Kion lifts Pride Rock with the Roar of the Elders.

Later, Thurston attends Kion's wedding to Rani.

Physical appearance

Tall and stocky, Thurston is much beefier than his fellow zebras, with a thick neck and long legs. His hide is striped with black-and-white, as is his mane, which is lush and combed back from his forehead, and he has brown eyes that are framed by short lashes.

Personality and traits

As seems to be commonplace for zebras in the Pride Lands, Thurston is a bit clueless and dim-witted. Even simple concepts such as thunder confuse him, and it often takes extra explanation for him to understand a situation. His scatter-brained nature often leads to further confusion and - in many cases - unnecessary disorder and panic.

Thurston can be quite selfish, craving the protection of the Lion Guard even when their efforts are needed elsewhere, and he is quite prone to danger due to his hare-brained tendencies. He thinks highly of his species, speaking with a high-and-mighty tone and stuffy manner, and will even brag to other animals about how superior zebras are to other animals in the Pride Lands.


  • Thurston is voiced by Kevin Schon.[1]
  • Thurston's voice actor, Kevin Schon, said Thurston's name was intended to be a tribute to Jim Backus, who played Thurston Howell on the 1960s sitcom Gilligan's Island.[2]


  1. Kevin Schon. IMDb., Inc. Retrieved on October 6, 2020.
  2. Kevin Schon Tweet.png