Why did Scar knock out Zazu when Zazu wanted to ask for help? Not for a comedic reason, but because Scar didn't want any witnesses.
In the musical number "I Just Can't Wait to be King," Zazu has the line "This child is getting wildly out of wing" to rhyme with Simba's "Oh I just can't wait to be king." At first this feels like a forced rhyme, since the actual expression is "out of hand." Then you realize Zazu doesn't have hands.
...I can't honestly imagine how anyone would take more than a nanosecond to figure that out.
Not the OP, but I never thought about this until the first time it was actually pointed out, leaving a gap of many years between the time I first saw the film and realizing how clever the songwriters were with lyrics. Granted, I wasn't ever thinking too hard about lyrics.
It's a small one, but during the stampede scene (when Mufasa accidentally lets go of Simba) we see a Wildebeest fall down seconds before Mufasa snatches him up. Later, when Simba is searching for his father, a lone Wildebeest trots off into the distance... The only way he could have fallen so behind is if he had fallen down earlier.
Two of these moments hit me about The Lion King, the other night:
Most everyone I know, including myself, were confused at how ineffectual and whiny Scar became when he became king. However, look at how he treats his role as king to how Cub Simba treats it during his "I Just Can't Wait to be King" musical number; pretty similar, isn't it, with all that talk of "I'm king, I can do whatever I want"? Scar's showing as king is meant to be the logical extreme of that belief, focusing on the benefits of a role without thinking of or wanting any of the responsibilities, and how one would flounder under the pressure, as a result.
Scar's plan to ascend the throne is pretty standard: kill Mufasa and Simba, win over pride by default. Typical movie villain evil plot, right? But hold on! The whole theme of the movie is the "circle of life" and everyone's roles in it, and guess how real lions usurp the throne of a pride? That's right: they kill (or maim) the head lion and kill the cubs (which curiously has the added effect of snapping the lionesses back into heat...which also fits the "Scar tries to rape Nala" scene in the Broadway musical). So, even in villainy, Scar's satisfying the great "circle of life", and makes his plot seem both sympathetic (as he's just as much a slave to the circle as everyone else) and creepy-sinister (Disney using a natural phenomenon as an evil act? My god, they're more devious than we previously imagined!). —Synjo Deonecros
Here's the thing, in real life, Lions that challenge the head lion for the throne do so in a pitched fight and both lions know its happening and the pride knows it. Scar killed Mufasa not in a fight for control, but by ambushing him and throwing him to his death, then maniplated Simba into running off. He then proceeded to lie to the rest of the pride about it. So it wasn't 'nature', he didn't give Mufasa any chance at all where in nature, they'd fight for that title one on one (or two on one, since sometimes brother males will fight together against another). And he lied, the other lions thought their beloved king had been killed in an accident and Scar was merely accepting a right, then find out Scar killed his brother in a cowardly attack and lied for years about it. So it wasn't so much that he did it, it was how he did it.
In fact, in the very early parts of the movie, Mufasa directly asks Scar if he's challenging him, lending credit to the idea that Scar could have legitimately challenged and fought Mufasa for the kingship, but chose not to because he knew Mufasa was stronger and would likely win the fight — which was why he resolved to cheating and underhanded tactics:
Mufasa: Don't turn your back on me, Scar. Scar: Oh, no, Mufasa. Perhaps you shouldn't turn your back on me. Mufasa: Is that a challenge? Scar: Temper, temper. I wouldn't dream of challenging you. Zazu: Pity! Why not? Scar: Well, as far as brains go, I got the lion's share. But, when it comes to brute strength... I'm afraid I'm at the shallow end of the gene pool.
Scar chose Zira's youngest son to be his successor rather than her oldest, and who would be more likely than Scar to despise the tradition of automatically giving the elder brother preference over the youngest?
Kovu freaked out when Zira told him "You've killed your own brother!", not only because his brother was dead, but because that's exactly what Scar did.
Except that it actually applies to Scar, but not to Kovu.
Yes, but the mere idea of Kovu being his older brother's killer, whether he was or wasn't, scared him more because it's what Scar did, which is why he freaked out like he did. The fact that Kovu didn't kill his brother isn't the point, it's the idea of it, the accusation against him, that freaked him out. Notice how this scene immediately precedes him being exiled from the Pride Lands—during which he sees his reflection change into Scar's. He's obviously quite scared of being anything like, or becoming more like, Scar. When he was actually Scar's son that was a legitimate worry, but even without it he still can be upset by the comparison.
Also, though in terms of Shakespeare plays this is more commonly compared to Hamlet, an arguably almost-as-valid, but less common comparison is that to Macbeth, because Scar, like Macbeth, murders the established king to personally become king, and manages to cover it up, while the lawful heirs/heir to the throne flee/flees the kingdom. Eventually, one of the exiled heirs to the throne returns, with others, and takes back the throne.
I had that epiphany a few years ago: Simba = Hamlet, Nala = Ophelia and possible Horatio, Mufasa = The Ghost (King Hamlet), Sarabi = Queen Gertrude, Scar = Claudius, Hyenas = Polonius (evil advisers/henchmen), Timon and Pumbaa = Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (with a dose of the gravediggers as well—see their discussion with Simba about the night sky/afterlife). To take this further, Simba has a Hamlet-like reverie about death and avenging his father when Nala finds him and Rafiki shows him his father's ghost. — Trombone Child
I always felt that Zazu was more Polonius than the hyenas were; the scene in "Can't Wait to Be King" where Simba and Nala are making fun of Zazu behind his back is a common interpretation of Polonius's speech to Ophelia and Laertes in Hamlet.
The second half of The Lion King is quite like Macbeth, arguably.
Second half nothing, Scar's role in the movie is a lot like Macbeth's role in the play Macbeth, since Scar, like Macbeth, murders the established king to personally become king, and manages to cover it up, while the lawful heirs/heir to the throne flee/flees the kingdom. Eventually, one of the exiled heirs to the throne returns, with others, and takes back the throne.
Scar also is a lot like Richard III. He's very charismatic to an extent that the audience is encouraged to root for him in the beginning of the story, but once he gets power, he's a tyrant and an awful ruler. Incidentally, while the above associates the Hyenas with Polonius, Zazu also occupies that role, being the advisor/prime minister who is a comical blowhard.
Someone could also argue that Simba's Pride is, at least in the beginning, Macbeth. Kovu is Macbeth, Zira is Lady Macbeth. Zira convinces Kovu to kill Simba (Duncan) and take over. Except that he ends up falling in love with Kiara and killing his own brother (Banquo).
Regarding the sequel, The Lion King II - Simba's Pride, it always bothered me, even in middle school, that the message of the movie was obviously about race, discrimination, equality, blah blah. There was the light-coloured lions reigning over the dark-coloured lions. I was very disappointed and thought it was much too unoriginal and transparent of a plot, and didactic. The other day while I was ranting about this messy movie to one of my friends, I brought up the fact that Zira, the queen of the dark lions, would have been one of the "African-American" lions as well, but had been brought down as well; I complained that they hadn't even done the aesop right. Then I realized the crucial difference between Zira and the other dark lions that survived - Zira was the one breeding hate in Kovu's heart, teaching him to assume that Pridelanders would do bad things to him for no reason. And, in the end, it was Zira's hate for the Pridelanders that caused her death; Kiara had tried to save her life, and her discriminatory attitude against light-coloured lions had killed her. The message isn't only that "white people are horrible to black people and should know better" - it is also that non-whites shouldn't be so quick to make demons of people who wish them no harm.
I always thought the Outlanders were lighter-colored..... and thus never saw it this way at all.
Yes, it's actually less about racism and more about stereotypes. The Outlanders are lighter colored, but in the sense that the color of their coats is less vibrant than the healthy Pridelanders, which is to be expected when they have less food. Furthermore, the Outlanders aren't exactly innocent; the reason that they were banished was because they supported Scar, as opposed to African-Americans or other minorities who obviously did nothing wrong. The point is that both sides learn to put aside the past and let go of their resentment.
One thing loracarol realized about the second movie was that- normally- the villains all wear black/some variation of black/dark colors to show that they are the villains. But lions don't wear clothing, meaning that the bad lions have to have darker fur. The fact that most of the lionessess do a Heel-Face Turn and subvert that trope just makes it even better.
Lots of people complain about how Simba seemed to turn into a complete jerk in the sequel, being way too overprotective of Kiara and hating on the Outlanders. But consider his own history with Scar - the guy murdered Simba's dad, tried to kill him, ruined the Pridelands, and more or less enslaved and starved his pride. And then he finds a group of lions who at least partially think Scar is fantastic. His banishing them wasn't just him being a jerk, it was a case of It's Personal! As for his daughter, remember how young Simba's impulsive behavior caused so much danger in his life? (The hyenas, the death of his father, etc) Nala says that Kiara is like Simba was. So he is remembering his own past and trying to save Kiara from similar dangerous things happening to her.
Another reason why Simba was so protective, is that now he's a father. He's going to protect his kid just like his dad did. But when his dad died, and he thought it was his fault, that was the worst time of his life. If Kiara got in trouble, he would save her. And if he died saving her, wouldn't she think it was her fault? And wouldn't that hurt her just as much as it had hurt him? He doesn't want her to get in danger, so he doesn't have to save her, and she doesn't have to bear that guilt if he dies because of it. — Werebunny131
Agree with all of this 100%. It's why Simba's characterization in the sequel never seemed off to me, though obviously it was frustrating to watch.
I've always agreed with the above logic but there's something more. If Kopa really did exist, what happened to him? He must have died somewhere along the way. Not only does Simba not want Kiara to make the same mistakes he did, he didn't want to go through with losing another cub.
Vitani, Kovu's "big sister" figure, has blue eyes. None of the other lions have blue eyes... except for Nala and her mother. Scar is the only adult male we have ever seen with eyes that weren't dark brown or gold—dominant colors that would cancel out the blue. While that in itself is Fridge Horror, especially considering the song 'The Madness of King Scar' from the musical (in which Scar tries to rape Nala, and we assume he didn't succeed) it gives this exchange a whole new meaning:
One: Simba is an amazing ruler—rather than murder the cubs born to his predecessor (as is the norm in actual prides), he allowed them to live. He may have asked them to leave the Pridelands, since they speak of being "exiled" and "persecuted", or that may have been Zira's doing—leaving when it was clear that Scar's cubs and chosen ones would not be considered in line for the throne Or...
Two: They fled the Pridelands to save their cubs from being slaughtered by the triumphant king.
As some of you know, Jim Cummings had to do the last chorus of "Be Prepared" in the Lion King, since Jeremy Irons had strained his voice (or something like that, I dunno). I didn't notice when I was a kid watching it, but playing it like 20-30 times on YouTube made me realize: Scar may have been beginning to lose his sanity during this musical number, and the sudden change in tone could have illustrated that. This serves to explain why the Pride Lands went to hell in a hand-basket during the time Timon and Pumbaa raised Simba; any clan with a psychopath for a ruler is doomed to failure. It also explains why Scar confesses that he did in fact kill Mufasa: he's lost it. He realized he wasn't fit to rule and couldn't do anything about it, so he figured he'd at least take the rightful ruler down (and likely the entire society of the Pride Lands) with him. Why? He doesn't need a reason, he's NUTS! — Numbuh214
Considering Jim Cummings was the voice of the insane Ed...
Even better, Be Prepared pretty clearly compares Scar to Hitler (what with the goosestepping hyenas) and that hint of crazy overconfidence is one of the most well-known parts of Hitler's personality.
Zira's and Kovu's confrontation after Nuka's death is a lot more horrible for Kovu than I ever thought:
Zira: You betrayed your pride — betrayed Scar! Kovu: I want nothing more to do with him! Zira: You cannot escape it! Nuka is dead because of YOU! You killed your own brother!
Ever since I was a kid, I naturally thought that when Zira said "You cannot escape it!", she simply meant escaping the guilt of killing his brother. Maybe, but I recently re-watched it and suddenly remembered that Scar killed his own brother, too! This made me realize that Zira was telling Kovu that he was Not So Different from the villain he just said he wants nothing more to do with! In her eyes, he "cannot escape" his connection with Scar and his destiny as Scar's heir. Kovu's just revealed his Heel-Face Turn, and Zira's trying to crush his hopes by claiming that he's still just like Scar! How can he renounce his succession to Scar's evil legacy after doing exactly what Scar did... in the story he just heard off-screen from Simba right before the ambush?! It wasn't any lingering irrational guilt that made Kovu run away shouting "NO!" — it was the fear of being Not So Different from Scar. No wonder he saw Scar's reflection shortly afterwards and felt there was no hope for his redemption! Zira really is a magnificentlymanipulative bitch! ~ Lale
Utterly brilliant, and IMO completely accurate.
Shenzi and Banzai are not brother and sister. There are a buttload of reasons for this, but they include -
No canonical material, anywhere, ever mentions them as brother and sister, although on rare occasions they are mentioned as 'friends'. Considering how tightly Disney holds a reign on all works with the name 'Disney' on it, you'd think somebody would have mentioned it somewhere if they were brother and sister.
There's the line "Now wasn't it her mom ate your dad" from Shenzi to Banzai in the musical. Considering Disney's incest and adultery free logic, this means Shenzi's parents are not Banzai's parents. This too would have been monitored by Disney. Also, if they were brother and sister, she would have said "ate our dad". And then the line would become far too matter-of-fact and displaced for someone speaking about their own father.
Watch their behaviour in the movies and the television series. It's highly humanised, just like all animals in the movie. Shenzi and Banzai don't talk to each other like brother and sister, and they don't act like brother and sister. Banzai and Ed, on the other hand, have a much more brotherly relationship, in that they're constantly trying to beat each other up. Banzai calls Shenzi things like 'baby' and 'girlfriend'. No matter how close you are to your siblings, you don't speak that way with them.
An official comic series dedicated to The Lion King once had a puzzle in which you had to work out the hyenas ages. Apparently Banzai and Ed are both a year older than Shenzi. That doesn't throw brother and sisterness out of the window but it puts even more strain on the idea.
In real life, Banzai and Ed would probably not even from the same clan as Shenzi - male hyenas get thrown out shortly after maturing sexually, and have to move to another clan, while females stick around. It helps prevent inbreeding.
Banzai seems to have some status in the clan. To have any sort of status in a clan, male hyenas need to get in really close with high-ranking females. Harley Quinn Hyenaholic
At the very end of The Lion King II, Simba says to the formerly banished lionesses "Let's ALL go home!", but he says it in an Double Entendre sort of way. This makes a lot more sense if you consider the relationship between the head lion of a pride and his lionesses... — Zankou
In short, while Nala is Simba's queen, the other lionesses, save for Sarabi, are his concubines.
I didn't get that impression at all. Way too many people here see sexual stuff that just isn't there.
The sequel introduces a strange problem that is partly Fridge Brilliance and partly Fridge Horror — Scar had a pride of Outlanders who would have gladly accepted him as king. And Simba would have spared him if he'd simply cut his losses and walked away. He could have gone to the other pride, bided his time, and made a second attempt — but for Scar it was the Pridelands or nothing. He was so obsessed with having that kingdom and getting revenge on his brother's family that he effectively committed suicide.
"Be Prepared" is musical propaganda for the benefit of Scar's army of hyenas (with a Shout-Out to Those Wacky Nazis). What if the main trio's seemingly inane questions like "And where do we feature?" were all part of the show, and they were already in on the plot to kill Mufasa?
"Be Prepared" has more than that. There's a line with an awesome double meaning. Scar declares becoming king is "at last being given my dues, and in justice deliciously squared", since to him it's a lapse of justice that he's not king and he will "square" it and set it right by killing Mufasa. However, due to the speed of the singing (it's in the more frenzied part of the song at the end), the listener hears it as "injustice, deliciously squared" as in will be a perfectly executed injustice. It's really a good looking to how Scar sees the world as about him.
Also worth noting; in that frenzied part, "at last I am given my dues" sounds sort of like "given my Jews", at least to my ears.
If Nala and Simba are cousins, as it common Fanon and highly debated to this day, this would have caused more issues. A child born of first-cousin incest wouldn't have an increased chance of birth defects or problems compared to a child not of incest. A child of first-cousin incest having a child with their own first-cousin would up that risk.
I just got one from "The Six New Adventures of The Lion King" and "Simba's Pride". Timon's assumption the cub is male in the movie could refer to Kopa from the book! That made the scene ten times funnier for me. -Senshi Sun
From the Broadway play: When Simba sings "Endless Night", he says "Where has the starlight gone?" Remember what Mufasa tells Simba about the stars?
The final battle of Simba and Scar is not just for control of the Pride Lands, it's a final trial by fire for Simba which becomes a triumph for the young lion not simply because he defeats the usurper, but he does it differently from his father's style. Whereas Mufusa fights with passion and fury, Simba relies more on his intelligence; namely when Scar leaps at him, Simba manages to stay calm and position his hind legs for a defensive judo-like move to throw him off.
This is also important because Scar always ran on the idea that he should rule because Mufasa was stronger but he was smarter. Simba using his head helps undermine that argument.
At the beginning, when Zazu tells Scar that Mufasa is coming to see him, Scar says "Now, look, Zazu, you've made me lose my lunch.". He was obviously referring to the mouse he was holding, but it's also referring to Mufasa's coming. "Losing your lunch" means getting sick, so Scar was getting sick of Mufasa. This is obvious when Scar has apparently made a law against mentioning Mufasa by name.
Scar's attacking Simba seems like a dirty method to kill Simba to keep kinghood after begging for his life. However, when listening to the dialogue, Simba tells him to "Run, Run away, Scar, and never, ever return," virtually the exact same line Scar told Simba after the stampede. Remembering what happened immediately after Scar told him to leave and never come back (ie, siccing the Hyenas to kill him), the conclusion can be made that Scar feared that Simba would most likely do something very similar after telling him to flee, which would likewise possibly mean that he was not simply fighting to retain his position as king, but he's actually fighting for survival.
This troper always laughed a bit at Simba and Scar's fight at the end of the film, feeling that it looked too much like a catfight. Then it hit me, they are having a catfight.
As someone who works with lions, this troper can tell you that they don't actually fight with that much distance between their sissy paw-swipes and shoves. A lion fight a loud, close combination of fast-and-dirty brawling and trying to dunk the other's head in the mud—not nearly as majestic as that scene makes it out to be.
Remember in Lion King 1 1/2 how Simba tells Timon that he had a bad dream? It's probably not too hard to guess what his dream was about.
The Lionesses don't make a move to help Simba while Scar is blaming him for Mufasa's death and backing him off a cliff. This would seem to indicate that his apparent responsability for Mufasa's death has turned them against him...except Simba has challenged Scar for position as King. Interfering would be breaking the rules of the challenge, until a winner is decided it's entirely between Simba and Scar. After Simba makes Scar confess to murder the hyenas jump Simba and the lionesses have their chance to get in on things, though they still don't attack Scar himself.
After watching Doug Walker's Disneycember review of The Lion King, I thought his conclusion made a lot of sense: that the film delivers a Broken Aesop about facing the pain of your past because it turns out Simba simply never did the thing he was trying to put behind him — instead of him learning how to deal with a painful past or guilt, he learns it never applied to him. It made so much sense, in fact, that I wondered why I never thought that as a kid because, when you're a kid, nothing annoys you more than a story that chickens out at the last minute like that. At the last minute... That's when I realized why I never saw such a Broken Aesop myself: because we the audience know the entire time that Simba didn't really cause his father's death! If we'd been led, like Simba, the entire movie to think he really had to face the pain of being responsible for Mufasa's death, suddenly revealing, "Hah, gotcha! That doesn't even apply here!" at the end would have been cheap. We know from the start, however, that Simba is not responsible for what he feels guilty for and, thus, don't spend the movie sympathizing with him and hoping he'll overcome the guilt but spend it waiting for him to learn and escape from the burden he never needed to carry. The plot didn't chicken out, it just unfolded the inevitable way it should.
Just in case the scene where Simba finds Mufasa's body wasn't creepy enough, Simba goes through the motions of the actions he used to wake Mufasa up earlier on in the film.
Whatever did happen to Mufasa's body? Think about this for a second. The Hyenas chased Simba out of the Pridelands, and supposedly came back to where the chase started. Given the Hyenas eating habits (which is not at all altered by the movie), and that Scar is their boss, it's not hard to think he allowed them to eat Mufasa's corpse. Considering that Mufasa was trampled to death, his body may not be all that worse for wear.
Averted in the musical, in which the lionesses place his body on a bier and mourn over it.
There is also the possibility that a way was found for Mufasa to go back to nature and become part of the great Circle of Life. Maybe after the mourning on the bier is over, the lionesses took his corpse to the fields to decompose and become the grass that the antelope would eat, as he said in an earlier part of the movie to Simba?
In the Game Boy port of the video game, the "Cub" difficulty ends at the Stampede level. There's only a few possibilities of what could happen, and none of them are good.
There is another way to think about it. In the film, when the stampede ends, Simba sees his father's dead body, Scar tells the cub that it was his fault Mufasa died, and he is promptly banished from the Pridelands and chased by bloodthirsty hyenas into the desert, where he thinks he will surely die. This is the exact moment where Simba's childhood and innocence died. He is no longer a cub.
Simba didn't kill Scar, the hyenas did, and when Scar asked if he would kill him, he said "No, Scar. I'm not like you." Also, his line from his talk with Kovu:
Simba: Scar couldn't let go of his hate... and in the end, it destroyed him.
That chameleon young Simba kept growling at couldn't run very fast. Seconds later, there's a stampede...
And here we all thought there weren't enough horrible (and Fridge-Horrible) things about the stampede ...
After Timon & Pumbaa revive young Simba after finding him unconscious in the desert ("You almost died!"), the depressed cub's immediate reaction is to attempt to head straight back into the desert. If 'Hakuna Matata' hadn't happened, the movie might've been a whole lot shorter.
To be fair, Simba might not have put that much thought into it. He's not purposefully killing himself, he just doesn't give a damn whether he dies or not, and doesn't want to be around people. Y'know, kind of like half of this generation.
After the hyenas killed Scar, there was still the little problem of half the pridelands being on fire. Even though heavy rain extinguished the fire a few minutes later, many hyenas probably didn't make it to safety without severe burns, let alone injuries from smoke inhalation. Young cubs would be especially susceptible to the latter, and would have difficulty outrunning the flames.
And you know who would have been a young cub at that time, according to the sequel? That's right; Nuka. That actually explains why his development is so wonky in that film; he never gets a full mane, is scrawny and mangy, and he's termite-ridden. It's all because he inhaled smoke as a baby.
The "Be Prepared" song from The Lion King. Sure, scary hyenas playing with skeletons in steam and fiery colors is Nightmare Fuel by itself, but that one parade scene really hits home after you've learned a little about history.
Partly because the Hebrew voice-artist is equipped with a Deep Bass that became popular with other Disney dubbing.
Also, this Troper is of the opinion that if you didn't watch the film, it looks like the hyenas are EATING ONE OF THEIR OWN at the beginning!
The hyenas ate Scar. Eternal Nightmare Fuel.
It's even worse if you know how hyenas "hunt". They've been known to eat things alive, and their jaws are rather powerful, so think of all the pain you could suffer before dying. Not to forget the blazing heat in that scene, due to the close fire.
I heard that hyenas primarily eat their prey alive, and they consume the ENTIRE body, bones and all.
Scar WAS the bad guy. Scar killed an innocent lion and framed his nephew.
Yeah, but being eaten alive is still a rather grisly punishment for him.
A minor one. Zazu was imprisoned inside a ribcage. Its length and girth were approximately similar to that of... Mufasa. Scar didn't just kill his brother, he defiled his remains.
What's worse is that he probably got the hyenas to prepare his remains...
Look at that scene again. At one point, Scar uses a skull for a puppet. A skull with fangs. He's playing with his brother's skull.
Or it could be a gorilla's skull.
Gorillas don't live in the savannah.
Or one from a lioness.
Didn't Zira say that at that time Kovu was the last born cub....and Scar wasn't his father? What if that was Kovu's Bio Dad?
Watch the scene again and you'll notice that the skull is smaller than Scar's, so the odds of it being Mufasa's is pretty small. The shape of the skull he uses is actually spot-on for a baboon skull.
Scar's head is bigger than the skull, but that's because of his mane and skin. It could still be a lion's skull
It doesn't look at all like a lion's skull- it does look like a baboon, though. Or maybe a mandrill-baboon freak of nature like Rafiki...
Somewhere on this website I read a comment from a troper wondering about Kopa and how he fit in with the Lion King 2. Another one was questioning the timing for Kovu's birth and how much older than Kiara he is. It got me thinking - what if Kopa and Kiara were twins? Assuming Nala became pregnant during the 'Can you feel the love tonight' scene, Kovu probably wasn't that much older than Kiara. The other wiki says lions are pregnant for about 110 days, which is approx 3 months (I think). Crossing the dessert probably took several weeks, maybe a month if we're generous - therefore Kiara and Kopa were born about two months after the battle. Speculation is that Zira gave birth just before the battle or was still pregnant at the time and gave birth shortly after. Kovu was at most 2 months older than Kiara. This answers a few other questions for me too:
The reason why the presentation of the heir was different between LK 1 and LK 2 - at end of LK 1, they were presenting Kopa, the first born, who died before LK 2 (see below) and in LK 2, they were presenting the next heir, Kiara
Why Zira is so bitter. She would have given birth to the older cub, chosen as the rightful heir of the true king (in her opinion) who was looked over in favour of a younger cub born of the upsurper (Simba). This lead me into 3:
The reason Kopa wasn't in LK 2, why Simba was so protective of Kiara and why he was so unreasonably violent toward Zira and the outcasts: Zira, furious at these happenings, killed Kopa (probably just after LK 1 judging from Kiara's age at her presentation in LK 2). Simba bannished Zira, her cubs and any lionesses who supported her. From then on he was so protective over Kiara, because he had already lost one child and couldn't bear to lose another.
Kiara does look older than the cub in the first movie, if only a little.
That misses a major point in the inclusion of Kopa at all, and that's to keep The Lion King: Six New Adventures in canon. If Kopa and Kiara are the same age, and Kopa died before Kiara was fully grown, then he would never have been able to be the cub we see in the book series. There is still a possibility that Kiara was born a couple afterwards (we'll ignore the fact that lions rarely have less than two cubs at a time), and the age gap between Kovu and Kiara is closer to nine months to a year.
The Lion Kingdom is apparently an absolute monarchy. The only reason Simba has a right to rule instead of Scar is because that's his inheritance. Suppose the next heir to the throne is as bad as Scar, then what, if he IS the true king? This is why absolute monarchies are a bad idea. Well, that and the whole consent of the governed thing.
This is a pride of lions, not a group of humans. It would be even more unrealistic than it already is if they had the kingdom work as a democracy. Should a Scar expy come to power, you do exactly what was shown in the movie. Nala was not looking for Simba; she was looking for help. Finding Simba was a happy coincidence. Had a lion other than Simba challenged Scar, the lionesses would have said that Scar had lost the right to rule due to mismanagement, rather than not having it at all since Simba was still alive. The lionesses could have simply left in a non-hyena situation, leaving a foolish king to reap the results of his folly.
Simba is told that he has no choice but to marry Nala, since arranged marriages are their tradition. They seem happy, but what if future heirs are arranged into unhappy marriages?
Well, Simba apparently ended that tradition by the second film. Even if he hadn't, it wouldn't be that hard to head off problems. As lionesses usually give birth to multiple cubs there would be no reason to betrothed two cubs that weren't even friends, Kiara and Simba being odd, possibly tragic, cases. This coming up would be the least of a cub's problems, as the king is probably as negligent of his kingdom as he is his cub.
Never mind that, what about Kiara? What would have happened to her if Kovu had never shown up? There didn't seem to be any other males in the pride.
A lot of people seem to assume that Nala was a "gift" from another pride, so it's not too much of a stretch to assume that Simba could have done the same thing for Kiara. Still begs the question of why he didn't seem to be actually actively looking for someone for Kiara to marry, though...
Since most of the animals talk in the film, the Lions would be eating their own servants.
Most of the animals. Disregarding the third installment (which is more of a parody anyway), the rule in this movie seems to be that the more likely an animal is to be a prey, the lesser their sentience. So baboons, warthogs and meerkats are sentient and can talk, but wildebeest decidedly cannot.
True...but since the wildebeest's only screen time was them being chased by hyenas and stampeding, their only sensible line would have been..."Oh Crap."
Actually, there's a deleted line of dialog in the original movie that has Mufasa talking with an antelope in the scene when he speaks to Simba about the circle of life. Mufasa even knows his name. The dialog went something like this: "Catch you later, Fred!" to which the antelope answers "Not if I can't help it!". And both the songs I just can't wait to be king and Not one of us have zebras and other prey-like animals singing anyway.
Don't lions usually have more than one cub per litter? There is a conspicuous lack of siblings for Simba...
Lion cubs have a disturbingly high mortality rate. Its not unreasonable that Simba is the only cub to survive. If he had a twin the other cub probably got sick and died. With Mufasa's poorly placed trust in Scar, the king doesn't seem like he'd think having more than one cub would be a bad thing, especially if the other cub wasn't a male.
Nala was originally supposed to have a younger brother named Mheetu. The original stampede scene involved Scar, a random rogue at this time, luring him into the gorge. Simba tries to save him but gets stuck, forcing Mufasa to save them and the inevitable happening. It's never been said what happens to Mheetu afterwards. The portion where Simba leaves and lives with Timon and Pumbaa wasn't written yet as they were his childhood friends at the point but he probably left the Pride Lands. Considering Scar was a rogue and what rogues do to cubs that aren't their own, combined with Mheetu being a male..
Unless Mheetu was Scar's, in which case a rogue male could have come in, killed the cub, then ran off before Scar could react. When Scar finds out about it, he might have plunged as his once-lush kingdom then crumbled and died before him, the food they relied on diminishing and the water the needed depleting, Scar would have been slowly going insane from the suddeness of the kingdom becoming a Crapsack World. He tries to court as many lionesses as he can in a attempt to spread his genes as much as possible, then he begins to slip right into the psychotic Scar of the second half of the film. This not only is Fridge Logic, but it also doubles as a bit of Fridge Horror, considering that Scar was only craving for power, was not intentionally being a brat, and seemed to have no idea of the hard work of being a royal lion... It puts Scar a little closer to Woobie teritory, if you think of it.
This is going a bit too far into WMG territory to be believable. First of all, in that version, there's nothing stating Scar would be Mheetu's father, which is only Fridge Logic used to explain Nala's parentage in a pride with only two lions. If Scar was a rogue, it's highly unlikely that he would have been Nala's father, let alone Mheetu's. Second, no-one said a rogue lion would show up to kill Mheetu in that scenario. It's far more likely that Scar would just do it himself; he's proven it's in his character to do exactly that already, and besides, it's common in lion culture to kill or drive out lions who reach maturity.
Consider the stampede from Zazu's point of view. After noticing the wildebeests being on the move and Scar arriving to reveal Simba is in the gorge, all three of them go racing to save him. He finds Simba on the tree, rejoins the others, and points out his location to Mufasa, who then goes racing to the rescue. He decides more help is needed and is about to go back to the rest of the pride when Scar swats him and knocks him out. But this happened to him from behind so he had no idea what happened—for all he knew, he knocked himself out running into the cliff wall or a tree branch, or something was thrown up by the stampede. Either way he's knocked out...and when he wakes up it will be to the news that Mufasa and Simba are dead, and Scar and the hyenas are now ruling the Pride Lands. So from his perspective, everything has gone horribly wrong—because he didn't make it back in time to fetch any help. Add this to what Scar does to him and he becomes quite The Woobie.
Nobody knows the trouble he's seen. Nobody knows his sorrow.
By the end of the first movie, Timon and Pumba are now living with carnivores who regularly eat meat. They may have protection due to their closeness with Simba, but it's still a lifetime of watching other animals being slaughtered and eaten. Added to the fact that there was a famine going on...the two better not venture too far out alone.
Why is Scar called "Scar"? We know from later films that his name was "Taka," but as of The Lion King, everyone refers to him as Scar. Yet almost all of the other characters are called to by their proper names. His name is a nickname, a reference to a horrible, disfiguring incident that was no doubt extremely painful, terribly frightening, and possibly dangerous to the health of his eye. The creatures that are supposed to be closest to him and are supposed to love him best—his family, his brother—use the reminder of a horrifying wound as his name, effacing all the identity and dignity a proper name implies.
It's well-known that The Lion King is based on Hamlet, but I had no idea it got down to such specific detail as this: in the latter, there exists the line, "Doubt that the stars be made of fire," which is exactly what Simba and Timon do when Pumbaa proposes the idea!