0% Approval Rating: Scar does a pretty lousy job of running Pride Rock, rendering it a barren wasteland, but refuses to let the pack move to somewhere more survivable. This earns him plenty of contempt from pretty much all of his underlings.
When Scar says "You have no idea," in response to Simba telling him he's weird, it's said with the exact same intonation as when Claus von Bülow says it in Reversal of Fortune. Both characters were played by Jeremy Irons.
All-Star Cast: The film that started the trend of hiring a slew of name actors for an animated film rather than less well known voiceover specialists. Though it is not the first to do so, it is the most successful movie in the Disney animated canon for a reason and this was a big part of it.
Alternate Ending: The original ending to the movie would've had Scar actually throw Simba off Pride Rock at the end of the fight (after Simba tries to save his life). Scar then dies laughing hysterically as the fires surrounding Pride Rock engulf it, burning him to death. Simba survived the fall (ironically meaning Scar throwing him off Pride Rock saved his life) and then meets up with Nala after the fires are put out. This was changed as the filmmakers felt this wouldn't have really brought Scar to justice for his actions.
Ambiguous Time Period: There is no indication of what time the story takes place. Which is part of why it is so appealing. It could be happening in 1607 or 100 years in the future.
The series shows it takes place in the present. While not all people consider it canon, anyone who does has a timeframe to go by.
Also, in the movie there's a few references to songs written well after 1607.
Amusing Injuries: Zazu being tackled by Simba, Zazu being launched high into the air by a geyser, and Banzai falling into a thorn pit. All three are notable for the other characters finding them funny as well as the audience: "Cactus butt!"
And Rafiki hitting Simba on the head.
Animal Ladder: Zazu at the end of "I Just Can't Wait to be King".
Rafiki is a Mandrill with a tail of a Baboon and living in savannah instead of in the forest; Pumbaa is a reddish brown warthog that looks more like a big-headed pig than a warthog and which eats bugs instead of Real Life grass; Timon is an always-bipedal meerkat with human-like teeth and that says "Ugh, Carnivores!" even though he belongs to the order Carnivora as well; the Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) that bear some resemblance with Striped Hyenas (Hyaena hyaena), with grey hair, large shaggy black manes, black ears and low-hanging head. And why are Giant Anteaters present in the "Just Can't Wait To Be King" scene, considered that Pangolins and Aardvarks were available for that (and they are just as amusing to draw?) And what about the Leafcutting Ants? Are all those examples of Rule Of Cool, They Just Didn't Care or (hard to believe) just mistakes?
Another example occurs during "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?". As Simba, trying to woo Nala, attempts to impress her with his agility, he does so by running off-screen and charging, full force, until he leaps at a conveniently-placed vine and gracefully swings off of it. Adult lions wouldn't be able to hold on to something as fragile as a vine before it snapped in half.
Averted combined with What Could Have Been - the movie was originally going to be called King of the Jungle and be about African lions living in the jungle. This idea was dropped when the production staff realized that lions don't actually live in the jungle.
Backstab Backfire: Scar would've won his last fight if he hadn't chosen to tell Simba who was really responsible for Mufasa's death. And he still might have survived it if he hadn't tried to blame everything on the hyenas (who were practically his only supporters at that point) before he ended up needing their help.
Bad Guys Do The Dirty Work: Simba does not end up killing Scar. However, those hyenas were none too happy about Scar trying to throw them under the bus earlier, and they're mighty hungry...
Batman Gambit: A particular talent of Scar's. He plays everyone like a fiddle because he knows them so well.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Guess who appears as the most beautiful between Mufasa and Scar. Other good character such as Adult Simba and Nala aren't bad looking either. Averted with Pumbaa, who is ugly and stinky, and arguably Timon.
"Hakuna Matata" is a touristy phrase — versus Hamna Shida — translating roughly as "there are no worries" in Swahili.
The first line of Rafiki's chant is "Asante sana squash banana." In context, it doesn't mean anything, but "asante sana" is Swahili for "thank you very much." In addition, the second line does mean "You're a baboon and I am not".
The Zulu chants provided by Lebo M. certainly count as well.
Most of the characters' names are Swahili words: Simba ("Lion" or "Courageous Warrior"), Mufasa ("King"; in Manazoto rather than Swahili), Pumbaa ("Simpleton"), Nala ("Gift"), Rafiki ("Friend"), Shenzi ("Savage") and Banzai ("Skulk").
Banzai counts for it twice as it's also a Japanese word which has different meanings depending on the context of the sentence, but which sometimes translates to "Forever", among other things, again depending on the context in which it's being used.
Biting-the-Hand Humor / Self-Deprecation: Zazu starts to sing "It's a Small World". Scar freaks out and demands him to sing anything else but that. Even funnier, in the Broadway show, Zazu may sing "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast or "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins (two other Disney movies that also became successful Broadway musicals; they have all been "rival" shows at one time or another).
In the Las Vegas production, he sings... you guessed it... "Viva Las Vegas."
Banzai: What were we supposed to do? Kill Mufasa? Scar: Precisely.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Scar could have avoided all this trouble if he had just killed Simba himself rather than sending him running off and delegating the killing to the incompetent hyenas, although that would have included the danger of him being seen or found out. More obviously, Scar telling Simba that he killed Mufasa, which gave Simba both the determination and the support of the pride that he needed to win.
Book Ends: The film begins with Mufasa's cub Simba presented to the kingdom. It ends with Simba's cub similarly presented, both accompanied by the same song, "The Circle of Life".
Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the middle of Hakuna Matata, Timon and Pumbaa do this (though they might have actually been looking at Simba).
Pumbaa: And I got down-hearted... Timon: How did you feel? Pumbaa: Every time that I- Timon:(claps hands over Pumbaa's mouth) HEY, PUMBAA! (looks right at the fourth wall)Not in front of the kids! Pumbaa:(also looks) Oh! Sorry.
Simba gets in on the act a second later as he seems to have been looking at the fourth wall as well in response to the above exchange.
Brick Joke: Arguable, and possibly unintended. Early on, Scar said that he would be a monkey's uncle when Simba becomes king. Later, when Nala is looking for Simba after he's left for Pride Rock to become king, we have this conversation.
Nala: Have you guys seen Simba? Timon: I thought he was with you. Nala: He was, but now I can't find him. Where is he? Rafiki: [chuckles] You won't find him here. The King has returned. Nala: I don't believe it. He's gone back. Timon: What? [looks up and sees Rafiki has disappeared] Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey? Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar. Timon: Who? Nala: Scar. Pumbaa: Who's got a scar? Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle. Timon: The monkey's his uncle? Nala: No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle to take his place as king. Timon and Pumbaa: (beat) Oh.
Broken Aesop: In-universe. Simba's new lesson of "Hakuna Matata, forget your worries" results in him running from his problems and thus shirking his duty as king.
Another in-universe, Rafiki teaches Simba that it's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Simba decides to quit running and forgives himself before confronting Scar. Despite putting his guilt behind him, Scar turns his family against him and Simba quickly falls victim to his guilt yet again. No one rallies behind him until Scar admits he killed Mufasa.
Bros Before Hoes: Timon and Pumbaa are firm believers, which is why they're more than a little upset when Nala comes along to break up the trio.
Butt Monkey: Zazu, who starts out as Mufasa's PR guy and constantly finds himself at the butt of Simba's antics. After Scar takes over, he is reduced to a court jester and is almost eaten by the hyenas on several occasions, and Banzai, who gets claw-marks and thorns in his butt.
Carnivore Confusion: Solved by having Simba eating bugs, a Truth in Television since real lions are happy to eat them if necessary. Averted when Nala stalks and nearly kills Pumbaa, but then backs off when she has her reunion with Simba. With no recourse at all, the movie "solves" these troubling issues by Lampshading and then ignoring them.
Cheated Angle: Pride Rock is always seen from the left to which the front is faced on the inside, except for three shots at the very beginning and five at the climax of the film.
Timon: Gee. He looks blue. Pumbaa: I'd say brownish-gold. Timon: No, no, no. I mean he's depressed. Pumbaa: Oh.
Timon and Pumbaa's worry-free lifestyle is based on the motto "Hakuna Matata". They may have missed the fine print that said the phrase only tells you not to worry in a given situation- you still need to face your problems.
Conspicuous CG: The wildebeest from the stampede were cel-shaded to avert this. Compared to other mixed CGI-in-handrawn-animation examples, this one still holds up pretty well after all these years.
Continuity Snarl: Primarily from the obscure book series The Six New Adventures Of The Lion King, which came out after the first movie, but before Simba's Pride. The series added the character of Simba and Nala's son, a cub named Kopa, some other cub characters to Mufasa's original pride, the story of how Scar got his scar, as well as named Mufasa's parents and grandfather, and Scar before he got his scar. Since Kopa has since been Retconed into Kiara in Simba's Pride, the extent to which Six New Adventures is considered canon is hotly debated amongst some fans, and has resulted in much Wild Mass Guessing and cries of Fanon Discontinuity. Also, the animated series gave a different (and fairly moving) version of Timon and Pumbaa meeting than 1½.
Cut Song: Several. A Dark Reprise of "Be Prepared", "Warthog Rhapsody" (an alternate Timon and Pumbaa song), "Thanks To Me" (the original version of "Be Prepared"), "The Lion in the Moon" (a lullaby sung by Sarabi), and "To Be King" (sung by Mufasa and cut because people thought James Earl Jones as a singing lion would be unintentionally funny). "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was supposed to be in the movie in its entirety, but Timon and Pumbaa end up singing only a couple of lines of it during the final version.
Desert Skull: As Simba returns to the Pridelands, he finds it riddled with wildebeest skeletons to show how Scar's rule has ruined the land. At the end, as Simba returns to power, there's a brief shot of a skull being washed away by the rain, to symbolize the end of the old regime.
Deranged Animation: A vast majority of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King"'s backgrounds employ this.
Mufasa: You deliberately disobeyed me, and what's worse, you put Nala in danger! Simba: I was just trying to be brave, like you. Mufasa: I'm only brave when I have to be. Simba...being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble.
Disney Acid Sequence: "I Just Can't Wait to Be King". Justified this time, because the sequence is supposed to capture Simba's perspective during the song.
Evil Will Fail: Even if Simba hadn't shown up and pulled a Rightful King Returns, Scar's rule over the lion pride would have collapsed anyway since he'd driven the pridelands to the point of ecological ruin.
Fisher King: When Mufasa is in charge, his wise leadership makes the land around Pride Rock a beautiful place of peace and plenty. When Scar is the king, the same land turns into a dark and dying graveyard, due to his poor leadership and the hyenas eating and taking almost everything there is, reflecting his own dark personality. Once Simba assumes the throne, everything goes pretty again.
Floating Head Syndrome: Mufasa in the cineplex posters. This is a unique case of it pertaining to the events of the story.
Follow the Leader: Many concepts, compositions and characters are notoriously similar to that of Osamu Tezuka's Kimba the White Lion. Whenever a member of The Lion King production team speaks on the matter, the claim is usually that they hadn't heard of Kimba. In the case of some individuals working on the film this may even be true, but to assert that no one one the film's huge production team had ever heard of Kimba is iffy at best. This is not helped by the fact that some early production reels depicted Simba as a white lion, and there are several claims of people on staff mistakenly calling the film a remake of Kimba, or calling Simba by that name.
Foreshadowing: At the climax of "I Just Can't Wait to be King" when the tower of animals collapses, it can be interpreted as either Played for Laughs or foreshadowing how Simba's whole self-image is about to come crashing down thanks to Scar's frame-up.
For The Cel Of It: The wildebeest from the stampede sequence are CGI, but cel-shaded to look like traditional animation.
Frameup and False Confession: After Scar kills Mufasa, he gets Simba to believe he's responsible, leading to Simba's running away. Simba believes this until the Just Between You and Me moment in the final act, even to the point of confessing himself to his mother and the rest of the pride.
Funny Background Event: Pay attention to Timon and Pumbaa in the background during young Simba's solo in "Hakuna Matata".
Generational Saga: Mufasa tells Simba that even when he's gone he'll always be there in the sky with the great kings to look down on his son. Once he is gone, Simba abandons the Pride Lands to his uncle Scar, but after talking to his father in the sky he realizes that he needs to come home and be king.
Held Gaze: Simba and Nala gaze deeply into each other's eyes at the end of their Falling in Love Montage of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" before nuzzling each other in a manner that resembles a kiss.
"Well, the buzz from the bees is that leopards are in a bit of a spot. The baboons are going ape... I told the elephants to forget it, but they can't... Cheetahs never prosper".
A moment later, a ground hog pops up from a tunnel and says, "Sir, news from the underground!"
Also, with the hyenas.
Banzai: We could have whatever's... lion around! Shenzi: Wait wait wait. I got one. Make mine a cub sandwich. (Ed tries to get their attention) WHAT, ED?! Banzai: Hey, did we order this dinner to go? Shenzi: No. Why? Banzai: 'Cause there it goes! (Points to Simba, Nala, and Zazu running like crazy).
But oddly enough, nothing about the mane course. However, in "I Just Can't Wait to be King", Simba does say that "I'm gonna be the mane event". One more: In the opening, Zazu asks Scar "Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with your food" as he's toying with a mouse he was about to eat. Then, because Zazu made him loose his launch, he considers eating him. But at the last minute, Mufasa appears and tells Scar to drop Zazu, to which Zazu states, "Impeccable timing, Your Majesty", before Scar spits him out.
Talks like a Simile: In the same scene, Zazu tells Scar that "You'll lose more than that when the king gets through with you! He's as mad as a hippo with a hernia."
The Hyena: A ton of them. Three main ones. Ed is the one that fits the trope the most.
Incest Is Relative: Debated by fans — Scar and Mufasa are the only males in the pride, so who's Nala's father? Made more uncomfortable when Scar goes nuts in the Broadway production and tries to make Nala his queen. Made even worse than that when you know this was a scene cut from the film because it was too dark for kids.
Knight of Cerebus: Scar. The film begins quite cheerful, but when Scar kills his own brother and takes the power, the film definitely becomes quite dark. He may be this to the whole franchise as he's the first Disney villain to successfully kill a main character.
The Last Bird Crosses The Finish Line: Zazu, even after being told by Mufasa to turn around, and obeying the order willingly, continues to ramble on before realizing that he's the target of Simba's pouncing lesson:
Zazu: Sire, what is going on? Mufasa: A pouncing lesson. Zazu: Ah, very good... pouncing. (Turns back, Beat)(Realizes what he just said)POUNCING?! Oh, no, sire - you can't be serious! Oh, this is so humiliating.
Left Hanging: Although an interlude in 'Hakuna Matata' explains why Pumbaa became an outcast, Timon's story was cut from the song for time. Both the TV series and the midquel offer different interpretations of it.
Malaproper: Pumbaa, occasionally, for example saying "I gravel at your feet" instead of "grovel" and messing up Timon's saying "You've gotta put your past behind you" as "You gotta put your behind in your past". Timon corrects him both times.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is never made clear just what happens in the jungle when Rafiki takes Simba to meet his father's ghost. Is it truly Mufasa appearing to him, either on his own or summoned by Rafiki? Is it a shamanistic illusion or other spell? Or is it all in Simba's head (since nothing Mufasa says is anything Simba didn't already know), telling him what he needed to hear?
"Danger? Ha-ha! I walk on the wild side! I laugh in the face of danger!"
The hyenas echo themselves at the end, but with a much darker overtone:
"Ed?" (insane laughter)
Meaningful Name: Simba means lion in Swahili (and can also mean "courageous warrior"). Everybody else has a meaningful name too - it is even debated that 'Ed' is short for 'eddy', a word in Englishe meaning 'whirlpool'.
Pumbaa: Every time that I—! Timon: Hey Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!
Mighty Roar: Used a lot by the lions whenever they are about to do something awesome, though when Simba was a cub, his roar was an anticlimatic meow.
Misplaced Wildlife: South American Giant Anteaters and Leaf Cutting Ants; all the other fauna is properly from central Africa. Also a reference to cacti, but considering that the term in question is "cactus butt" it probably just sounds funnier than "thorn butt."
More than Mind Control: Timon and Pumbaa unwittingly sway the guilt-ridden Simba away from fulfilling his role in the Circle of Life by convincing him that nothing can be done about his trauma and indoctrinating him into their careless and slovenly "no worries" lifestyle to keep his mind off of the past and his duties. This has as much to do with his misplaced guilt as their influence.
Mordor: The elephant graveyard. The Pride Lands start to resemble it during Scar's reign, partly because he can't be buggered to run it.
Natural Spotlight: The king being held to the sky. There aren't even any clouds to justify the light slits.
Never Say "Die": Averted. Multiple times. For example, "When we die our bodies become the grass", "I killed Mufasa" and several more. There's even a villian song about murdering the king!
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Scar is being challenged by Simba's return, but he makes the pride turn against Simba by making him still believe he caused Mufasa's death. As he drives Simba towards the cliff, he decides to give a Just Between You and Me speech in which he tells him what really happened. This helps Simba shake off his guilt, and he gets his Heroic Second Wind against Scar.
Young Simba had a massive ego and believed that being King allows one to do anything they want. Unless Musfasa eventually curbed that trait, it's scary to imagine just how easily Simba could have become a tyrant. By destroying his life, Scar sets in motion the events that proceed to make Simba into a better person.
The hyenas for breaking off the chase after Simba manages to lose them in the brair patch. Yeah Shenzi had a point that Simba probably wouldn't survive in the desert but that was just an assumption on her part. Needless to say it comes back to bite them in the ass later when Simba returns as a fully grown lion.
Scar does it again in the finale when he hastily tries to save his own skin by shifting all the blame onto the hyenas... within their hearing.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: For all his sniveling, Scar is still perfectly able to go toe-to-toe with Simba in the climax. Even more evident in the deleted ending, which is more along the lines of a Curbstomp Battle in his favor.
A bit out of place considering that he groans about getting the brains and none of the brawn in the beginning, but even if he only just lost his psychological advantage to Simba, Mufasa was not around to really show Simba how to defend himself and do much for hunting, so he might not know how to use his brawn as effectively as Mufasa did. Plus, Simba's diet has consisted in bugs for the past how many years?
Not So Different: Young Simba had the mentality that when they become king, they could do anything they want and no-one would be able to stop them. Scar later says the exact same thing.
Odd Name Out: On a grand scale. All members of the main cast have African names (except Scar). (Scar's real name is Taka, which means "trash"). The only one to have a more European sounding name is Ed. He also seems to be mentally retarded (either that or completely off his rocker...maybe both), make of thatwhat you will.
As mentioned in Bilingual Bonus, Banzai's name is also a Japanese word, though it's possible the writers either didn't know, didn't care, or just decided to Throw It In anyway because most people wouldn't care even if they noticed since the film was set in the African savannah and jungles.
Perma Stubble: All male hyenas have dark patches around their muzzles that look remarkably like stubble. It's one of the few things that distinguish them from the females. In The Lion King 1½, there is another female hyena — you can tell because she has no stubble and a thick tuft of fringe.
Redemption in the Rain: When Simba climbs Pride Rock at the end, it begins to rain. A clear case of the rain being "purifying" and symbolizing new life, as the sequence includes a gazelle's skull being dislodged and washed away.
Rule of Symbolism: There are quite a number of Christian parallels, which is unsurprising considering lions being associated with God and Jesus for centuries. There's Simba's apparent resurrection—Nala says to him "It's like you're back from the dead" and is informed "The King has returned" in a manner rather reminiscent of Mary Magdalene in the garden with the open tomb, and both Scar and Sarabi think he is his father come back from the dead. There's the Fisher King analogy, with Simba's fight with Scar being easily related to Jesus combating Satan after his Second Coming. There's Simba's anointment by Rafiki, his reluctance to do his father's will, and Mufasa's divine image declaring Simba his son and the true king.
An example without the religious undertones, but still fraught with portent: the image of Simba's little paw stepping into his father's huge pawprint, the one he must one day fill as king. And in the end, he does.
There's more subtle one as well: Timon riding Pumbaa out of a desert mirage in a manner very reminiscent of Don Quixote.
The method Scar uses to assassinate Mufasa is identical to that which Mowgli used to kill Shere Khan in The Jungle Book.
Shown Their Work: Yes, lion cubs can and do eat bugs, and even live off them if necessary. (Though it's much more of a stretch to imagine an adult lion living off them). Also, the fight between Simba and Scar (rearing up and furiously cuffing each other) is based off of how male lions actually fight, as their manes provide some protection to the neck.
Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Animals are anthropomorphised to varying extents. This even varies with animals of the same species — compare Timon with the meerkats that appear in the opening of "Circle of Life".
Something Only They Would Say: A non-verbal example occurs when Simba first encounters Nala as an adult. When she pins him, he realizes her identity.
Stars Are Souls: Simba says he was taught that the stars are the spirits of the old kings, which gets a confirmation when he later recieves a starry vision of his father. Timon, on the other hand, claims that stars are fireflies that got stuck in the sky. That also got confirmed...by The Princess and the Frog.
Nala: Have you guys seen Simba? Timon: I thought he was with you. Nala: He was but now I can't find him. Where is he? Rafiki: [chuckles] You won't find him here. The King has returned. Nala: I don't believe it. He's gone back. Timon: What? [looks up and sees Rafiki has disappeared] Timon: Hey, what's going on here? Who's the monkey? Nala: Simba's gone back to challenge Scar. Timon: Who? Nala: Scar. Pumbaa: Who's got a scar? Nala: No, no, no. It's his uncle. Timon: The monkey's his uncle? Nala: No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle to take his place as king. Timon and Pumbaa: (beat) Oh.
Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Shenzi — her eye patches are shaped like heavily applied eyeshadow, her mane extends to having bangs and a fringe, and she lacks the Perma Stubble that both Banzai and Ed sport. Well, you have to be able to tell her from the guys somehow...
That's subverted; we know Scar's right about that. Earlier in the film, he shoved his brother to his death. He just said that because he mistook Simba for Mufasa until he revealed who he really was to his mother.
This Is Gonna Suck: After Simba gets busted by his dad at the elephant graveyard, Mufasa says that he needs to teach his son a lesson, and Simba cowers. Simba hesitates coming to his father's side, earning himself a First Name Ultimatum for his troubles.
This Is Unforgivable: Simba says "You don't deserve to live" to Scar as soon as he corners him after hitting him with a "Murderer" to which Scar had responded with "Simba, Simba, please. Please have mercy. I beg you."
Walk Into Camera Obstruction: During the song "I Just Can't Wait to be King" where the giraffes are throwing Simba and Nala, Simba's stomach fills up the screen
“Well Done Son” Guy: In an interesting variation, Simba becomes this for the second half of the movie. Although anything but an emotionally distant father, Mufasa is often preoccupied with the duties of the throne, and little Simba certainly sees him as a hero, worshiping the ground his paws tread upon◊. But there is no indication Simba ever doubts he has his father's love or respect...until Scar convinces him he is to blame for his father's death. Then, overcome with remorse and believing no one could ever forgive him, he voluntarily goes into exile. It is Mufasa's ghost, reminding him of his place in the Circle and telling him "You are my son and the one true king," that sets him back on the right path again. And with a simple, single word, "Remember..." he lets his son know he is very proud of him indeed.
A World Half Full: An excellent example given how dark some of the film can be. Simba loses his father and is convinced by his uncle that it was his fault. He goes into exile for many years but eventually overcomes his guilt and goes back to depose his uncle and take his place. He ends up triumphing and everything his uncle ruined begins to come back together.
Alas, Poor Villain: When Nuka goes after Simba on the dam, whilst proclaiming "I'll do it for YOU MOTHER! — I'll do it for you.. And I'll do it for me!", and he inadvertedly gets dislodged, falls and manages to ask Zira "I'm sorry mother... I... tried..." causing Zira to go from What Have I Done to Never My Fault under three seconds flat.
Even more so in the deleted extended version where Nuka actually asks with his last breath if Zira is finally proud of him.
Artistic License - Biology: During "Upendi", Rafiki gives Kiara a passionfruit (and tries to give one to Kovu), which she swallows happily. Real lions are obligate carnivores, and cannot digest fruits.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Justified, since the Outlanders are only skinny and sunken-eyed from not getting enough to eat. After being accepted into Simba's pride, they're shown with the same build as the Pridelands' lionesses.
Bilingual Bonus: Like the original Lion King, there's quite a bit of Swahili. Kovu means "scar". Zira is the verb radical of hate. Vitani is similar to Shetani, meaning Devil. Kiara means "princess" in Swahili. Upendi means love (noun form).
Blowinga Raspberry: Young Kiara does this to the crocodiles as they try to reach her and Young Kovu after escaping them.
Call Back: During one of Kiara and Kovu's romantic moments, Kovu licks Kiara in a very similar manner to the way Nala did to Simba in the first movie. Before that, Nala pins down Simba in a way that recalls their childhood.
Dark Chick: Most of the Outsider lionesses are Dark Chicks, but Vitani is the most prominent.
Darker and Edgier: Even in comparison to the first movie, the sequel is arguably much more intense. The villain of this one is motivated primarily by spitefulness, whereas at least Scar had the semi-pragmatic motive of greed. Zira's Villain Song is almost entirely about how much she Loves the Sound of Screaming, and said song is considerably more vicious than Scar's Villain Song. In general, the very style of this movie is arguably much darker than the first movie, like during the fire scene, wherein we see Kiara surrounded by flames, coughing from the smoke, and collapsing from exhaustion, or during Zira's first attack, when Simba is being mercilessly mauled by several other lions, and then there is "He Is Not One Of Us" where the pridelanders are all announcing their intense hatred for Kovu, who is not even guilty of what they are all accusing him of in the first place.
I've been exiled, persecuted, left alone with no defense. When I think of what that brute did, I get a little tense. (Assume "that brute" refers to Simba).
Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Kovu wants Kiara to run away with him instead of going back to the Pride Lands, he suggests they start a pride "all our own". Not only is his tone when he says this very suggestive, he actually wiggles his hind end!
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kovu ends up getting a scar identical to Scar's, but that happens after he's decided to become the mask. The song "Not One of Us" has the animals believing it's an evil scar.
Heel Face Mole: Kovu claims to be this after rescuing Kiara, in order to gain entrance into Simba's pride.
Heel Face Turn: Kovu, and later on Vitani, who is the first lioness to realise Kiara is right.
Heroic Fire Rescue: Zira's plan to "prove" Kovu's loyalty and trustworthiness so as to get him into the pride and close to Simba is the classic subversion of this trope via Engineered Heroics.
Hypocrite: Simba gives Kovu a speech about how fire (Scar) is a killer, but what's left behind (Kovu) could grow better if given the chance. He seems to forget about that last part when he exiles him as guilty of betrayal before being proven innocent.
A Minor Kidroduction: Like in the first film, Kiara is shown as a cub in the beginning, but all that's shown are the events leading up to her meeting Kovu.
Mood Whiplash: Timon and Pumbaa really do not belong in this movie, as their only purpose is to ruin genuinely dramatic moments with non sequitor jokes. On a more positive, there's another dimension of Mood Whiplash, between Lighter and Softer moments and Darker and Edgier moments. Disney movies in general tend to have this, but this movie takes it even further than most, like when a cutesy song about all creatures being a big family is quickly followed by a Villain Song about revenge. That's a very deliberate tonal shift, intentionally juxtaposing the differences between the two families.
Kovu:(to Kiara) Let's get out of here. We'll run away together! (wiggles his backside with a seductive voice) And start a pride all our own. (emphasis his)
Parental Hypocrisy: Simba is very over-protective of Kiara. At one point, Nala points out to Simba that Kiara's just like they were when they were cubs, and Simba explains that this is what worries him.
Retcon: A tie-in book cast Simba's and Nala's cub as a male named Kopa.
Some Fanon theories try to correct this by having Kopa have died somehow, some of which cast this as the reason Zira was exiled...
Save the Villain: After attempting to attack Simba, Zira is tackled by Kiara and the two are sent tumbling off the cliff. In a very familiar TLK fashion, Zira is left clinging for her life and risks falling into the raging river below to her death. Kiara attempts to save her ("Zira... give me your paw!"), but she meets her watery fate regardless.
Shamed By A Mob: When Kovu is mistakenly believed to have been part of the plot to attempt to kill Simba, and a huge crowd is singing about their hatred for him.
Suicide Is Painless: What Zira's death might have been before the directors decided to cut part of her death from the final version. The cut scene features Kiara reaching out to save Zira...only to have Zira look back at Kiara with the most frightening smile of the movie and whisper "No... nev-er." just before intentionally letting go of the ledge. The directors evidently thought this was just a bit too dark for a movie who's plot is driven mostly by Zira's obsession with revenge.
“Well Done Son” Guy: Nuka. Subverted in that it's his mother's approval, not his father's, that he longs for.
Simba too, albeit with less subtlety than the first time around. Forgetting the moving testimonial he'd received from his father's ghost, and unable to get over his past, Simba refuses to trust Kovu or see him as anything but a reincarnation of Scar, all in the mistaken belief that this is what his father would do (and therefore, would make Mufasa proud of him). Luckily Nala, as usual, is the voice of reason while Kiara, with typical bluntness, makes it quite clear to her father that he is not and never will be Mufasa. And just to hammer the point home that Simba does not have to emulate his father's reign (or his perception of it) in order to receive his love and pride, Mufasa's ghost actually says the words, "Well done, my son" after the prides are united and peace is declared.
What Could Have Been: The original idea was for Kovu to be Scar's biological son, however, this had to be changed as it would have made him and Kiara related.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Sarabi's voice actress died before the sequel was made, so they just left Sarabi to a cameo as a background lioness with no lines.
Ambiguously Gay: Maybe even dropping the "ambiguous" part. A lot of the movie, especially regarding Timon's relationship with his family, seems to play this up as straight as possible, with little gems like this scene◊. Also, a mushy scene of Timon and Pumbaa staring into one another's eyes causes Timon, in the "audience", to start crying to the point where the movie has to be "paused" for him to recover. A later scene even has them accidentally sharing a Spaghetti Kiss while eating an earthworm.
Ambiguously Jewish: Timon's mom calls him "a mashugina", meaning "crazy" or "troublemaker" in Yiddish.
Been There Shaped History: Timon and Pumbaa run into several scenes from the first movie, and set a few minor events into motion. For example, at Simba's presentation by Rafiki, it's revealed that the reason the animals all bow is because Pumbaa broke wind at the wrong time, startling some rhinos into falling over, which everyone in front mistook for bowing. In "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," it's revealed that the reason the tower of animals collapsed is because Timon kicked the elephant at the base, causing him to lose his balance. Then there's Timon and Pumbaa trying to ruin Simba and Nala's reunion after years of separation ("Can You Feel The Love Tonight").
Timon: We're gonna get old walking across this thing.
Disney Acid Sequence: Timon's "That's All I Need". Granted, not nearly as bad as Dumbo, but it's still unusual for such a serious series. Though, see X Meets Y, and then you get the idea that maybe it isn't supposed to be serious at all.
Follow The Bouncing Grub: When Hakuna Matata is played in full for the first time. Halfway through the song it disappears, but Timon notices and forces Pumbaa to stop eating it.
Fun Size: Timon's tiny stature makes for a few deliberately cute moments, such as him falling asleep under Simba's paw with his arms around one of the toes.
Glad I Thought of It: The first time Timon does this, Pumbaa looks mildly confused. Then he just goes with it.
Has Two Daddies: Simba was so young when he met Timon and Pumbaa that they're his surrogate parents as well as his friends, something which doesn't really come up in the original film. Of course, this leads to a few scenarios that real parents have experienced with their kids, such as midnight runs to the bathroom and nightmares. The film also covers the inevitable implications of a lion adopted by a meerkat (such as Simba playing with Timon. Not playing a game with him, literally playing with him).
Moment Killer: Timon and Pumbaa try their best to ruin the moments between Nala and Simba.
Mondegreen: Invoked/parodied by Timon. "What's on the menu?!"
Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying Over You: It looks like Timon has sacrificed himself, and his mom is in hysterics. Then he climbs out of the pit he made and says "Mom, it's OK." She grabs him and shakes him and says a few things about it not being OK before she realizes that it's Timon.
P.O.V. Sequel: The Lion King, re-told mainly from the point of view of Timon and Pumbaa.
Series Continuity Error: Any attempt to fit this story into the canon of the first film will swiftly run into trouble.
Timon and Pumbaa find a small oasis on the day Simba is lifted on Pride Rock. The next day they leave because of all the noise made from Simba singing "I Just Can't Wait To Be King". Meaning Simba grew up from newborn to cub IN ONE DAY.
They don't explicably state one day has passed. It could have been a couple weeks.
Two big ones at the end, when Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyenas from following Simba, which means the hyenas weren't there to hear Scar try to blame them for Mufasa's death and subsequently turn on him, or didn't chase Timon int the cave, where the "Mister Pig" scene took place. It also turns Scar's fall into a true Disney Villain Death.
Also, several new songs. Simba and Nala get their own songs; "Endless Night" and "Shadowland" respectively.
Artistic License - Biology: While the film itself is rather good about it, the theater adaptation seems to make Shenzi more of a moll to Banzai, despite the fact that hyena packs are well-known matriarchies.
Call Back: The scene where Simba has to rescue Timon from the waterfall has him hanging from a tree branch, just as had happened to Simba in the gorge; in the fact the multi-tiered set used for the gorge is reused as the waterfall set. This is of course deliberate so as to induce a Heroic BSOD for Simba, since the lighting and music switch to recall the stampede as well.
Match Cut: During the mourning for Mufasa, the curtain lowers to show Rafiki's tree for her moment of wiping away Simba's portrait. After the heartbreaking trio of her, Sarabi, and Nala ends, the curtain rises again—and Simba, collapsed in the desert, has replaced Mufasa's body.
Mood Whiplash: The entr'acte before Act II opens with the chorus singing a light-hearted song called "One by One" with bird puppets and kites. However, once the song is over, the birds are replaced by vultures and gazelle skeletons, which reveals just how worse things have gotten since Scar took over.
Mythology Gag: During the new scene where Simba, when trying to rescue Timon, has a flashback to the wildebeest stampede, a river and waterfall figure prominently. This is a reference to the original appearance of such scenery during the Cut Song "Warthog Rhapsody" from the film. It may also act as a Continuity Nod (and Call Forward) to Simba's Pride, where Simba is still haunted by the day at the gorge, this time in his nightmares.
Old Retainer: Zazu, even more so than in the original animation. At one point he consoled Mufasa regarding Simba's rebellious streak; "I seem to recall a young lion cub, more willful than wise. And he achieved some prominence."
Split Screen: In a variation, Simba's final heartfelt chorus of "Endless Night" is overlapped with Rafiki listening in with an ear horn, so that he's still onstage at the same time she realizes he's alive.
Villain Song: Aside from "Be Prepared", the hyenas get "Chow Down".
Visible Invisibility: The puppet operators are always visible — most notably, Timon's actor is bright green, and Zazu is a small puppet riding on the actor's head — and yet you can easily focus on the puppets rather than the actors.
This also applies to many stage mechanics and devices that, in most musicals, are kept hidden; this was highly intentional, to produce an effect where imagination filled the scene in.