Trivia: The Lion King

  • Actor Allusion:
  • 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.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail/Magnum Opus Dissonance: Most of the top animators picked working on Pocahontas instead of The Lion King, as they thought that would become Disney's next critical darling/box office hit.
  • Cut Song: Plenty. A song for Mufasa to sing called "To Be King", a song for Sarabi titled "The Lion In The Moon", a reprise of "Be Prepared" and "Warthog Rhapsody", which was the original Hakuna Matata.
    • Warthog Rhapsody made it into the musical, as did the best known cut song, "Morning Report", a song which was also restored to the later DVD releases. "The Madness of King Scar" in the musical is based off of a cut song/scene in the film.
    • A "work in progress" trailer that was attached to the beginning of one of Disney's The Fox and the Hound video had a snippet of a different version of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight".
  • Executive Meddling: A rare positive example is Mufasa's infamous death scene, originally several seconds shorter than it appeared in the final film until, at one pencil test review, Jeff Katzenberg turned to the animators, pointed to his dry eye and announced "I'm not cryin'!!" The result was a longer scene that touched every single emotional nerve in an effort to become one of the saddest moments in film history.
  • Fan Nickname: Common within the fandom. For example there's an Outsider dubbed "Dotty" by many due to the small dots under her eyes.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Has its own page.
  • Manual Misprint: One of the lyric sheets for the soundtrack gets "Be Prepared" wrong.
    You won't get a sniff out of me!
  • Playing Against Type: In the Mexican Spanish dub, Banzai is voiced by Jesus Barrero, who, at the time when the movie was released, his most famous role was Pegasus Seiya!
  • Referenced By: See ReferencedBy.The Lion King.
  • Refitted For Sequel: The Lion King originally had a scene where Timon refused to go help Simba and Pumbaa trying to encourage him. The midquel features this instead, in a scene that relates to Timon's overall "dream home" subplot.
  • Throw It In: Nathan Lane supposedly ad-libbed some of his dialogue, including the "hula" line.
  • Trope Namer:
  • Troubled Production: A director fell out due to conflicts with the creative team. The script needed much fine-tuning. And an earthquake hit California during the final months of production, causing the animators to work at home.
    • Cheech Marin said once that he doesn't remember exactly when he recorded his dialogue for Banzai, but he said it had to have been still The Eighties. He also said that by the time the movie finally came out, he had forgotten he was even in it!
  • What Could Have Been: Shenzi was originally supposed to be voiced by Tommy Chong, and would have reunited Chong with his former comedy partner, Cheech Marin. Chong turned down the part, and the character was changed into a female, with Whoopi Goldberg performing the voice. Cheech and Chong finally did reunite, however, in 2008.
    • In 1990, Nala had a younger brother named Mheetu, there was a fox character named Bhati, there was supposed to be a second meerkat characterearly in the film named Tesma, and Simba's early cub designs looked different.
    • Scar was unrelated to Mufasa at first, but the writers decided his takeover would have more impact if he was family instead of a rogue.
    • Some characters' names were changed at different stages of production. Pumbaa was originally named "Harold" and Nala was "Nadra". Nala's father was supposed to be a character.
    • Mufasa's stint as Rafiki's Spirit Advisor was originally planned to be much more obvious, with the former Lion King's ghost actively speaking to the shaman. Wisely realizing this might come across as unintentionally hilarious, or at least a breaking of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief, the directors decided to instead have all interactions between Rafiki and Mufasa symbolized by the blowing of the wind. This fact is later emphasized when the wind blows around Simba, just before he listens to Kiara and accepts the Outlanders back, and explains why he looks so happy and on the verge of tears at the end, even before he hears Mufasa say "Well done, my son."
    • Timon and Pumbaa were nearly voiced by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson. This was suggested by Tim Rice, who wrote Hakuna Matata after watching Bottom. The characters would have also been a lot more jerkish towards each other (basically Richie and Eddie as a meerkat and a warthog). However, Katzenberg thought this characterization was too unlikeable.
    • The film was originally Darker and Edgier. It was to be themed around a war between two prides of lions. Scar (a rogue at the time) was the leader of the "Mbala" pride, with Mufasa leading the "Ndona" pride. There was also a group of hyenas, led by Banagi (who later became Shenzi), who would have served as secondary antagonists. Kwashi was a baboon similar to Rafiki, though not as wacky. Noticeably it was much more violent and incest filled than the final product.
    • Disney has an official app about the movies development.
  • Word of Saint Paul/Word of Gay : Timon and Pumbaa's VA's consider them to be a gay couple. (helps that one is openly homosexual)
  • Working Title: Before it was released, the film was originally called "King of the Jungle." This was scrapped when someone pointed out that, well, lions don't live in the jungle.

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