WMG / The Lion King

     Guesses about Simba’s offspring 

Zazu is secretly shipping Nala/Simba throughout the whole movie

Alternative Kopa/Kiara explanation
The end of The Lion King takes place after The Lion King 2. Instead of Kopa being murdered by Zira as typically assumed, he wasn't born yet. Kiara was born during the "reconstruction era" of Simba's reign, where the defecting lionesses would have been a force equal to the loyalists.

Evidence against canon:
  • Canon “truth” is that Kiara was the cub born at the end of Lion King.
    • The story books that included Kopa should either be disregarded or reimagined with Kiara.

  • Cubs are born at different times of the day.
    • Self-explanatory.

  • Cubs are given different coloration
    • Compare Simba to Mufasa or the cub at the end of Lion King to Simba at the beginning of Lion King. Even if we included Scar/Kovu/Nuka in the equation it’s fairly obvious that male and female Lions are given different colorations (Male: Gold and Brown/Red and Black) (Female: Offwhite/Pale/Peach). Kiara’s “feminine” coloration is obscured yet visible at the beginning of Lion King 2.

Evidence against the “Kiara is the younger cub” theory:
  • Official fanon states that Kiara the younger cub.

  • Kovu was born before Scar died.
    • Kovu knew who Scar was (or at least what he looked like). And unless Zira was lying, Scar chose him as his Heir.
  • Kovu and Kiara are around the same age
    • We can assume Kovu is a bit older, yet we see them grow up around the same time in the Movie’s timeline (Kovu is a cub while Kiara is a cub, rather than being in the “teenage” Lion stage we saw with Simba in Lion King (1 and 1.5)).

  • Timon and Pumbaa
    • They seem to be more concerned about Kiara’s birth more so than the cub at the end of Lion King. With Kiara’s birth they fanaticize about the old days with Simba. With “fluffy’s”(Kopa’s) birth they are more concerned with the fanfare.

  • Simba likely wouldn’t ignore the death of his first cub if he died by Zira’s hands (paws).

Simba and Nala don't have just one or two cubs, they had three.
In the DVD commentary for the Lion King, the producers called the cub presented at the end of the movie Fluffy. Fluffy probably perished of natural causes since it's still the 'circle of life' that sometimes we die young and in keeping with the popular theory that Kopa lost his life to Zira. His younger brother is Kopa and Kiara is their baby sister. He and Kopa might have been litter-mates and likely presented separately.

Kopa named Kiara.
Nala was having her new baby when Kopa was still alive. One day, he came up to her and asked her if the baby could be a girl, because he liked the name Kiara. Nala told him that there was no way of knowing if the baby was a boy or a girl, and Kopa persisted that he wanted a sister so they could name her Kiara. For added sweetness, this was just minutes before his death by Zira, so it doubled as a final request.

The second film is Scar's Dying Dream.
It started as him wondering how things could have been different if he had wisely decided to take a mate and continue his line at Pride Rock, his bitterness against the system contributing to why he imagined choosing someone other than his oldest son to be his heir. He started having regrets about his actions and wishing to reconcile, hence the cubs from both sides coming together. Also, with him dying before the presentation of Kopa, it would explain why he was unaware of that cub and imagined a female named Kiara instead.
Timeline of the cubs' births
There's quite a bit of controversy over the birth of cubs at the end of the first Lion King and their connection to Simba's Pride, so I'll try to make sense of it all. The first thing to note; lions go through a gestation period of a little over three months, and typically reach adulthood after 3 years. A lion cub would only look like Simba (prior to his father's death) during the first year of its life, so Simba was about a year old when Mufasa died.

Scar's reign lasted anywhere between two and thirteen years, but we'll assume it was on the shorter side, as Mufasa, Scar, and Sarabi are clearly older lions in the film (we'll say around a decade old, which would be the equivalent to a human in their 40s). Simba, meanwhile, looks like a young lion even in Simba's Pride, so he was probably closer to five or even younger when he overthrew Scar.

One year before the end of Scar's reign, Scar realized he had no heir and tried to seduce/rape Nala. She rejected him and ran off, becoming a rogue lion like Ni, who she'd met and taken a liking to during her childhood, and who is suggested below as being her father; not canon, but worth mentioning. Nala spends nearly a year as a rogue before finding Simba. With Nala gone, Scar takes Zira as a mate. She loves either Scar or the power that comes with being his mate, but when they produce a child, it's the runt Nuka, who is mangy and scrawny. Scar is disappointed with him, and either keeps trying for another heir, or, more likely, gives up altogether. This is why Zira shows such disdain for Nuka during his life.

Three months before the end of Scar's reign, Nala meets Simba in the oasis. One thing leads to another, and next thing they know it, they conceive Kopa. (Word of God is that they do have sex during the "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" segment). Around the same time, Zira has an affair with a rogue lion and conceives Kovu and Vitani as one litter. Scar doesn't care about this too much (he never really liked Zira anyway, see the question of his sexuality below) and deems the strong cub Kovu as his new heir.

Simba returns to the Pridelands, and Scar is killed. Kopa is born shortly afterwards, and presented as the new prince of the Pride. Kovu and Vitani are newborns, and Nuka is getting close to a year old, meaning he would look like Simba at the start of The Lion King and Kiara, Kovu, and Vitani in Simba's Pride.

Less than a year after Simba's return, Kopa dies. This is either the result of an accident, or, more likely, he is killed by Zira to put Kovu back in line for the throne. There's also the possibility (inspired by a theory below) that Zira was indirectly connected to Kopa's death. This happens around the time of Kiara's birth; she has either been conceived, is conceived shortly after, or has already been born by this time. Judging by how she looks older than Kopa and Simba at the time of their presentations, she was likely already born, and then presented as soon as Nala and Simba finished their grieving period. Kovu and Vitani would be young cubs at this time, while Nuka is getting to be an older cub.

About a year after Simba's return, Kiara and Kovu meet in Simba's Pride. Nuka is over two years old now, an adolescent lion, and Kovu and Vitani are just over a year old, while Kiara is a bit under a year under. Three more years pass, and Kovu is deemed ready to assassinate Simba, and Kiara goes out for her first hunt. These don't correspond exactly with the two lions becoming adults, likely because Zira wanted to train Kovu a little longer and Simba wasn't ready to let Kiara hunt yet.

Hopefully this makes the timelines more plausible.

Simba and Nala's first cub died.
The cub we see at the end of the first movie is obviously not Kiara—instead it's their son who was killed sometime before she was born (an illness, accident, or Zira it did). That’s why Simba's so protective of Kiara.

Scar was physically unable to sire cubs.
This is the only way to explain why, although his wish from the musical to have a mate (or at least a psychotically loyal fangirl) was apparently granted, he had to choose an heir from among her offspring that weren't his.
  • "Shallow end of the gene pool" and all.
Kopa and Kiara actually exist in different timelines.
The reason why Kopa is never referenced at all in the sequel, the reason why Simba and Nala never make any mention of him even when they're alone and all that is because in their universe, they never had a male cub. Simba's paranoidness and nervousness is due to his first time as being a father and his reasons for exiling Zira are because under suspicion for loyalty to Scar, not because for the alleged reason that she killed his son. Simba's Pride is basically a story as to what if the cub was a girl and can be classified as the primary canon timeline.

Kopa's timeline is the same except for a few differences. While his counterpart is shown to be dismissive of her parents, Kopa exhibits a stark personality contrast of being curious and enjoying a good tale every now and then. He seems to be more close to his parents and Simba in turn shows a more casual and relaxed side to fatherhood. The reason we see nothing further on from his timeline is because it wasn't meant to be. Or someone tampered with the space time continuum and collapsed it, I don't know. This is called the secondary canon timeline (because it was planned in the start but discarded for the events proceeding Kopa's life would not fit in under the circumstances).

Lion King 2 was an alternate reality
Building upon the above guess...

Scar had his own pride of lions as well as the hyenas, meaning the conflict between Simba and Scar lasted much longer than the battle we saw in the first movie. A deleted scene from the first film outright says that he has no family of his own or his own species. Zira and her Lioness companions is the nail that changes reality.
  • In fact, Scar's pride may have overran Pride Rock for a limited time due to his larger number of forces.
Sarabi and Sarafina died during that conflict which is why they don't appear in Lion King 2 (yet they both appeared at the end of the original Lion King). Most importantly, Simba actually killed Scar, and Zira saw him do it (which is why Simba never outright denies killing him).
  • Kovu was around the same age as Kiara yet he knew who Scar was/looked like growing up. The beginning of the film when we see Kiara's birth Scar was still alive (or had just died a few weeks/days earlier).
    • Although they exist in different timelines Kopa and Kovu are around the same age.

Ni is Kopa from the future.
Kopa was sent back in time but raised and adopted by a pride which he left when he was of mature age. He decided to return to his 'home' but upon saving Nala who he immediately realised was his mother as a cub, complications arose. Being savvy about time travel and remembering his mother's story he quickly fabricated some lies about his name and past, per accordingly, and stole the quick chance to return to his home.

The reason why he left was because if he stuck around he would either:
  1. Get killed or driven out anyway
  2. Create an alternate timeline
  3. Invoke a temporal paradox

His last words "Lions who listen to the chattering of monkeys will never learn to roar. A wise old baboon told once me that - and he was right." parallel his past (future?) experiences as a cub. The reason why he seems so serious and hides his emotions (most of the time) is because he's just coming to terms with the situation but doesn't want to seem unusual. Assuming that he lives during the time where his cub self is born the universe goes through a period of instability due to the two identical presences living in the same timeline (which is why Kopa disappears and Kiara comes along as a suitable replacement).

Kopa is Kiara's son.
That way the timeline isn't mauled.

Kiara is the cub at the end of the first film
After Scar was killed and the Pridelands were restored to their original state not all of the animals came back, so Simba held two ceramonies for the same cub: The one at the end of the first film and the one at the begining of the second film, which was held after most of the animals had returned. Also, notice how the ceramony at the end of the first film seems smaller than the one in the begining of the first film.

Zira killed Kopa and was banished for it
Had to be put here, seeing its one of the most wide spread Lion King fanon guesses in existence. Pretty much, Zira murdered Kopa to avenge Scar and Simba banished her out of pity for the children (he would've killed Zira, but he didn't want to orphan her children).

Simba's Firstborn Died
This actually makes a lot of sense, if you consider that in the second movie you all seem to insist exists, Simba is a very overprotective father of his young daughter. This troper has always been of the firm opinion that the cub at the end of the only movie was male, since it would really complete the "Circle of Life" theme that started at the beginning with Mufasa's son being born. However, there must have been a tragic accident, during which this firstborn was brutally killed. This makes the actions of Simba in the imaginary second movie make more sense, especially if you think about why the banished lions were banished, perhaps they were somehow responsible for the death of Simba's son, which would explain why he is so reluctant to forgive them.

Kopa and Kiara are twins
Kiara either hadn't been born at the end of the first movie or was hidden; the version from the sequel is a retcon or what they told Kiara. Kopa died as a very young cub, possibly due to Zira.

Zira did not kill any of Simba's relatives, at least not direct relatives or in cold blood.
It's possible Zira killed one or more cousins of Simba's in a battle, but if Zira had killed Simba's child or mother he'd act a lot more hostile to her than he already does, especially when he catches Kiara playing with Kovu. It just doesn't fit. Kopa was Kiara's brother—either her twin who was originally the heir, or born before her conception— and he died of natural causes. Sarabi likewise died of natural causes, assuming she's even dead at all. Simba's protectiveness over Kiara coincides with having lost a cub previously, but Simba's interactions with Zira are not consistant with the "Zira killed Kopa" theory.

     Other theories about the original film. 
Humans do exist, but...

Years ago, human scientists found out that the animals around an insignificant mountain were sentient. How they found out? They saw that a baboon was somehow holding a baby cub on the mountain, showing him off to a horde of herbivores that were calmly standing under the mountain's ledge. They decided to do an experiment - how that civilization would work out if there were no obstacles. Basically, all of the humans were forced out of the area, and only scientists were left, watching the lions and herbivores do their daily things through their digital cameras.
  • Humans do exist but through a wild animal's eyes they are strange monsters - they can't talk but they're still horribly dangerous. And they control starlight, and fire, and thunder. Oh, and they're edible.

Wildebeests weren't unwilling murderers, but, in fact, they allied with Scar all along

Somebody on the Headscratchers page asked why a horde of wildebeests ran off a cliff from three hyenas and didn't even stop at a full grown lion, which resulted in Mufasa's death. Now you know why...
  • Adult male lions are not good hunters because of their manes. The wildebeests also vastly outnumbered Mufasa.

The incest problems going on in the pridelands are worse than they seem.
Sarafina gave birth to Nala, who was the daughter of Scar. Now, Sarafina may not have cared for Scar, but Mufasa was already taken. (in this universe, lions are meant to be monogamous) Perhaps she agreed to it because of the shallowing gene pool due to Mufasa's, err, prominent genes. Nala was never intended to be betrothed to the Prince she was related to, but Sarafina didn't want to admit to having a cub with such an unpopular lion. Nala looks like her, so she just said it was a wandering rogue. When Nala was chosen as Simba's future mate, Sarafina couldn't object without revealing her secret. When Scar became leader, who did he want as a mate in the broadway show and longer rough draft? Nala, his own daughter. Scar was a vain, egotistical lion, and who better to be the mother of his lineage than someone who shared his own genes? As well, she, again, looks like Sarafina, who he apparently didn't find bad-looking. If he had succeeded in raping Nala, this would have went even further. If Kovu is also fathered by Scar, then that means his original goal of having his lineage carry on actually worked and he in fact succeeded in a sick kind of way.

Simba and Nala have an incestuous relationship.
Riddle me this: Simba and Nala are from the same pride. How many adult males are there? Just two- Scar and Mufasa, who are brothers. Nala is either Simba's cousin born from Scar or his half-sister born from Mufasa (but from another lioness, rather than Sarabi). The latter might seem like Mufasa's cheating on his mate, but male lions mate with every single lioness in their pride (very often), so it's not too far-fetched. Lion incest is perfectly normal, but it's not the sort of thing Disney wants you to think about.
  • This also means that the original intention of the writers to make Kovu Scar's son (instead of just his protege and heir) is true; he and Kiara are indeed having an incestuous relationship of their own.
  • Every lioness in the new generation would have to be sired by Simba, and later Kovu. This is what happens when you try to superimpose a monogamous marriage-based relationship onto a traditional pride structure.
  • Unless Nala's Mom left her pack and was taken in by Mufasa while she was pregnant with Nala.
  • There's also the possibility that Scar is Nala's father. Which would make his attempt to rape her in the musical even more dastardly.
  • You can take this even farther. Lion prides are typically made up of a group of lionesses who are all sisters or otherwise closely related, plus a single male who mates with all of them. Female cubs stay in the same pride while juvenile males are kicked out to find another pride to call their own. Based on this information we can reasonably assume that Simba and Nala are at least cousins (as children of sisters Sarabi and Sarafina, respetively). Now if Mufasa is expected to have sired all of the cubs in the pride, this would make Simba and Nala somewhere between half-siblings and full brother-sister in relatedness. Even if Mufasa isn't Nala's father, the only other reasonable alternative is for Scar to be her father - making Simba and Nala close to half-siblings.
  • This troper once read a fanfic where Nala's father was a rogue lion.
  • The Lion Guard makes mention of Nala's father, although briefly. It doesn't explain where he went, but the assumption some people are making is he was killed by Scar along with the rest of the last Lion Guard

Mufasa's death was deliberately planned by Mufasa, so Simba could develop as a leader on his own without being able to constantly rely on Mufasa.
When Mufasa confronts Scar about not being at Simba's presentation at the beginning of the film and Scar calls Simba "the little hairball," Mufasa replies "That 'hairball' is my son—and your future king." Whoa, whoa whoa. At that point, the only way Simba would be Scar's future king is if Scar outlived Mufasa—which did come to pass, but how would Mufasa know that at the time, unless he were planning exactly that? While it's reasonable to assume that Mufasa is the older brother, presumably Mufasa and Scar aren't widely different in age, so the only reason Mufasa could be so certain that Scar would outlive him is if he were arranging it.
  • Is it ever actually stated that the king has to die to pass on the throne? Maybe Mufasa had retirement plans.
  • While that is a strange thing to say, now that you mention it, Mufasa would have needed a much stronger motivation than that. Even if he was willing to sacrifice himself for such a nebulous goal, he couldn't have expected Simba to survive a royal coup.
    • Except Mufasa survived and knew he would. Maybe he and Scar planned the events together for some reason we don't know...
      • Apart from that being fantastically unlikely beyond all traditional forms of reason, Mufasa's survival would invalidate the premise, such as it was, of the original theory. So no.
    • Why couldn't he have expected Simba to survive a royal coup? He figures Simba is strong enough to do it, and tenacious enough to kill Scar. Neither does Mufasa necessarily endorse this plan; it is sufficient that he suspects Scar will kill him.
    • It doesn't mean that Mufasa expects to die before Scar (though as Scar is the younger brother, Mufasa might think that he will), but... well, if he was to get pedantic about it, he'd just end up sounding like a colossal jerk. "That hairball is my son, and your future king. Well, that is, unless you die before I do. Come to think of it, with how frail and weak you are you are, you're very likely to snuff it long before me, so I guess there's no actual chance you'll ever live to see him on the throne." Doesn't seem much like something Mufasa would say, does it?

Scar didn't fail as a king because he was an evil tyrant, but because he had no idea of the responsibilities of being a king, only the perks.
While we don't necessarily see how Scar handles his failings as King of the Pridelands in the movie, the musical shows that he has absolutely no idea how to rule a kingdom; he's completely baffled why things have turned out so poorly, starts to doubt his own ability to lead and gain the adoration of his subjects, and even asks for Zazu's advice on how to solve the problem. Clearly, he - like Simba as a kid - only knew of the major perks to being king, not the massive responsibilities that come with those perks. Don't get it wrong, Scar's ambition and jealousy are what lead him to a fall, but if he was halfway-competent enough in the affairs of state, it's likely he could've become a Villain with Good Publicity instead of someone with a 0% Approval Rating, making his continued reign - and Simba's defeat - iron-clad.
  • The musical did a good job fleshing out his madness, but the movie still had his scene with Sarabi to paint a clear picture of how bad a job he was doing. In particular, as noted above, his declaration that "I am the king! I can do whatever I want!" can be seen as a callback to Simba's juvenile "just can't wait to be king" philosophy. Then the grown-up, sane (not to mention alive and legitimate heir to the throne) Simba showed up... either way, is this even a WMG?
  • Scar specifically says "We're not going anywhere" and I don't believe he was just talking about the lionesses. He wasn't allowing any hyenas to leave either, even though usually the males will either leave or be kicked out. It wasn't like the hyenas didn't notice things were getting bad.

Scar was neglected by his and Mufasa's father because he was supposed to be a female lion.
This is completely alternative to the short stories, but I came upon those after my theory so I am ignoring any mention of their father, because I really like my theory. This takes a while but it's totally worth it. Okay. So there are two clues in the movie: "There's more to being king than getting your way all the time" versus "I am the king I can do whatever I want." If we're assuming past behavior from present—and Mufasa's dad had a HUGE influence on him, via the "kings of the past" scene—that means Mufasa's wisdom was passed down from HIS father, and Scar's lack of wisdom points to a negligent father. So Mufasa was the favorite child.

Now, Simba and Nala are (apparently) half-siblings, and already betrothed as chidren—probably from birth, if our nobility are anything to go on; in short, an arranged marriage. When Scar was born, there was probably talk of another arranged marriage back in his day as well, and Scar, if a female, would have been the chosen mate. I can imagine their father having high hopes for whatever dynasty that would come of a Mufasa-Scarina marriage if he had been a she. But, as so often happens, Scarina turned out to be Scar, the disappointed parent scorned him, and the rest is The Circle Of Life.

The Outlanders are Amazons.
During Scar's reign, a small Pride of Lioness' come to the Pridelands from the desert, they have no male, no king. Hense the name really. They came because while the worsening situation in the Pridelands were bad, things were worse in the desert. Scar let them stay supposedly to help the Pridelanders to adapt to the growing leaniency of game. Eventually Scar and their leader became smitten.

The alliance between the hyenas and the lions actually was successful and beneficial to both parties...at first.
Hence why Scar still had diehard loyalists among the lionesses, who would rather allow themselves to be exiled than have Simba replace Scar. Hyenas are powerful predators in their own right, and the mutual hatred between the hyenas and lions mostly stems from the way they're constantly in competition with each other - when the two stongest carnivores in the savannah joined forces and began to help instead of hinder each other, the number of kills made skyrocketed and allowed the pride to enjoy a brief golden age before the drought hit and everything went downhill.
  • Actually 'driver ants' are the strongest predator in Africa. So blame the ants.

Scar was not a bad leader, BUT he was hated by the lionesses- because he did what male lions still do in real life.
  • Remember when we saw all of those cubs being licked at the beginning of the movie? Where were they at the end of this movie? There were no cubs at all when Simba returned. It's very probable that Scar had killed all of those cubs fathered by Mufasa- This would not make him popular with the other lionesses.
  • That does make a lot of sense now!
  • That doesn't explain why Nala is still alive thou, and even if their canonicity is debatable, the Six Adventures books show other cubs as well.
  • When did we ever see cubs besides Simba and Nala, in the first movie? This troper spend her entire childhood searching for other cubs in that pride throughout the movie, and wondering why there were only two cubs in the entire pride. The only cubs being licked were Nala and Simba.

The fate of the cubs of the Pridelands
Related to the above, the comics based on the first film have a whole slew of cubs (Kula, Tama, Chumvi, Tojo, and Simba's two unnamed cousins), not to mention the fate of the scrapped character Mheetu and an off reference to Simba's cousin Mtoto in a puzzle. These characters can still exist in the film's universe, although not part of the film itself, as unseen members of Mufasa's sprawling pride. While Kula and Tama, who are female, would probably grow up to be part of Simba's pride, Chumvi, Tojo, Mheetu, Mtoto, and Simba's cousins, all of whom are male, would likely have been driven off or killed by Scar.note  Since this is a Disney film and adult males are present in both Simba's and Mufasa's prides, we can assume that Simba and Mufasa would not do this, even though it's normal for lions.
  • My personal opinion is that Scar had the hyenas kill them. At least one didn't get killed, returned BEFORE Simba, and became the father of Kovu - but didn't have backup, so Scar had the hyenas kill him too.

The real reason Zira was exiled was because Sarabi and Scar were involved.
If you see the story as a parallel to Hamlet, obviously Sarabi is Gertrude. She was behind her mate's death, or was willing to be with Scar once the murder happened, and Scar used her to legitimize his claim to the throne a la Claudius. Simba isn't upset about this because he wasn't around for it, but Zira was present through the whole thing. She was probably popular with the other lionesses, hence why she has such a large pride in the sequel - her friends left with her. She was banished because there were many pride members who didn't know that Sarabi and Scar were together.

The Hyenas are naturally a democratic power and their involvement with Scar is just the result of his political seduction.
To be more precise, they're intuitively Jacobins, and the only reason they fall for the "fascist leader" Scar is their own political inexperience. However, their first intuition after Scar proposed to kill the king was to kill him without replacing him - which clearly shows that they intuitively not only oppose the present king, but monarchy itself, and see the death of the king as a means to get rid of monarchy as such. But they're inexperienced and unorganized, and Scar promises to teach them how to organize, so they get behind him without really realizing what they're supporting.
  • Which makes it a clear case of The Good, the Bad, and the Evil. Also seconded.
  • This actually makes a lot of sense, given that they have no clear matriarch (If Shenzi was actually the matriarch, "Be Prepared" would likely have included Scar pretending to share power with her. Also, you'd think she would be able to get other high-ranking females to join her when confronting Scar about the drought, instead of two males, one of which can't speak properly). Thirded.
    • I think if Shenzi wasn't the Matriarch why would Scar pay her any attention at all? He wants ALL the hyenas to side with him, and he has to negociate with the boss to make that happen. But I do suspect due to ages given in supplemental material that she was new to the job.
  • Another thing to notice here is that in the last image of "Be Prepared", the placement of the moon sickle in the background reminds a bit of the communist Sickle and Hammer.

In the Elephant Graveyard, some of the "elephant" skeletons are actually the bones of mammoths and mastodons.
The skull that the hyenas climb out of is far too large to be that of a modern elephant. Would an elephant's head really be that big compared to Simba? Big enough for hyenas to climb through the eye sockets and nose?
  • The graveyard is obviously very old. Many of the bones break easily, suggesting that they've been decaying away for a while. Also, elephants often cover their dead in sticks and leaves. In the case of the Elephant Graveyard, any sticks and leaves have clearly all disintegrated long ago.
  • If Africa is the wrong location for mammoths and mastodons, we can say that humans dragged the bones down there for cultural reasons, and then wound up abandoning them.
  • Thing is; even mammoths and mastodons weren't that large. And the few that could approach that size were on different continents and never could have gotten there; human influence or not.
  • Maybe the "skull" that the hyenas climbed out of was actually just a large rock oddly shaped like an elephant skull.

As mentioned on Poison Oak Epileptic Trees, the way male lions co-rule with their brothers raises several alternative character interpretations: namely, the entire story is just a tragically overblown lovers tiff. Pass the Brain Bleach please.
  • But Scar and Mufasa don't rule together. But maybe that was the problem. Mufasa didn't want to share the power and... umm... other things with his little bro, and Scar takes it personal. And to think all of this could have been avoided with a quickie!

The ruling family of lions in Lion King are the descendents of the Nemean Lion.
This is where their legitimacy comes from. The lion hide in the Hercules movies wasn't actually Scar, he just bares an uncanny resemblance to his ancestor. This is also why Scar needed such an elaborate set-up to kill Mufasa as well as the lack of marks on Mufasa from Scar's claws or the wildebeest's hooves. Also why Simba wasn't particularly bothered by the thorn bushes. Scar figured the hyenas would be able to end Simba's life with a bite though thanks to the spectacular crushing force found in a hyena's jaws. It would also explain the lack of human presence in the setting. Why bother with the area surrounded by wastelands and inhabited by nearly unkillable super lions? Regular lions are bad enough.

Scar is the Nemean Lion.
He is in Hercules, although that was an In-Joke, because the same animator who drew Scar also drew Hercules.
Simba was actually being merciful by exiling Zira and her supporters.
He could have killed her children, including the one Scar chose to be his successor and would only grow up with a contested claim to the throne if allowed to live, and added all the lionesses to his harem (as male lions do in the real world when they take over a pride), but he didn't. Like Macbeth in "City of Stone," he chose to exile his now-dead rival's son to eliminate any threat he and his supporters may pose rather than kill him. (In both cases, of course, this backfired.)

Nala was the equivalent of the pride's throne princess.
She wasn't betrothed to Simba per se but to the next king, hence Scar's desire to make her his mate in the musical.
  • Having a crown princess makes a lot more sense than trying to superimpose the human tradition of male heirs onto this lion pride. Imagine that Nala was the crown princess, and that Scar killed Mufasa solely for the sake of overthrowing Mufasa—with the added bonus that it helped him drive off Simba, which he would have done anyway (Disneyfication of the IRL lion habit of killing the old alpha male's progeny). Furthermore, it explains what happened to Kopa between films—he simply grew up (being Kiara's older brother) and went off to find a pride of his own to rule. Meanwhile, Kiara became the new crown princess, and it was expected that she would marry a Pride lion or a rogue male (such as Kovu pretended to be) and eventually rule beside him.

The "Lion King" story we know was heavily Bowdlerised; the original was an epic about hyenas.
In certain respects, the "traditional" roles that lions and hyenas play in fiction are switched: hyenas actually hunt more than lions, and lions are more than happy to scavenge or steal their food. If one were to inverse the cast of the story as it stands, it'd be much closer to fact.

The real story follows a pack of hyenas, who rule the "Packlands" under the head of their empress, Sarabi. She and her mate, Mufasa, have just produced a baby girl, Shenzi, who has been chosen to be heir to the throne. However, there is a schemer amongst the hyenas: Scar, king of a small pride of bedraggled, depraved lions. The pride had been exiled to the Outlands long ago, but Scar had managed to keep hyenas and lions on friendly terms otherwise. With the arrival of Shenzi signaling a new dynasty, Scar seizes the opportunity and kills the queen, leaving the Packlands to be taken over by his legions of lionesses. Shenzi runs away, only to be adopted by 2 exiled hyenas, known only as "Banzai" and "Ed" (Timon and Pumbaa were added to the story for comedic purposes). Shenzi grows up, returns to the Packlands, and you know the rest.

Disney decided, for the sake of the audience, to drastically alter the story. The hyena protagonists were switched in favor of lions, and Scar was made a brother to the king instead of a 3rd-party warlord. Shenzi was demoted to an extra minion, along with her mentors whose traditional names are not known. The pride of evil lions appearing in the sequel are thus a leftover from the original tale, or possibly a simple nod to the story's previous villains.
  • You know, I think I'd actually watch this version.
    • Agreed. Someone oughta write this...

The hyena's were forced into a ghetto like wasteland because otherwise, being better predators, they would out-compete the lions.
Hyenas and lions are competing predators in real life. Hyenas are actually more successful in killing prey than lions. The lions used their brute strength to drive the hyenas to the Elephant Graveyard, where there was so little to eat the lions hoped the hyenas would soon all die of starvation and not eat everything in the Pridelands.
  • Other, superior hunters are bad royal PR.

The Lion King is a racist story.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin- The Pride falls into disrepair under the black mane and his lower class cronies and it takes a tannish mane, his British advisor, a Magical Negro and his suddenly white girlfriend to set things right. The only snag in this theory is Mufasa, whom I have no explanation for. Also, just so we're clear, I don't ascribe to any of these beliefs- just taking a Wild Mass Guess here.

The Lion King is all capitalist propaganda.
This is clearly an attempt to show the Russian revolution as evil and damaging to “the circle of (capitalism)”. The lions form an absolute monarchy and a dictatorship in which they rule the pride lands in immense decadence and luxury. The Hyenas, on the other hand, live in filth and starve. It is generally taken from the theme of the film that this is acceptable. Just as the Russian aristocracy believed it was the way of things for them to live the high life whilst the workers starve.

Scar offers the Hyenas a revolution of the common man. He leads them to revolt against their oppressors and take power for themselves. In the film, this is portrayed as leading to famine, starvation and a complete destruction of the eco-system. Clearly capitalist scare-tactics in order to warn against a workers uprising.

Mufasa is the Tsar, Simba — Anastasia, Rafiki — the Orthodox Church, and the Hyenas are the workers.

Cracked ads further to this allegory, stating:

''That's the only way to explain how Scar got an entire army of these animals behind him with such dissident slogans as "Stick with me, and you will never go hungry again!" Scar wasn't promising them unlimited power, just the ability to eat and function as members of society. The hyenas were pissed because the oppressive lion regime had reduced them to second-class citizens, hoarding all the pie for themselves.

No wonder they followed Mufasa's brother. What Scar offered the hyenas was a revolution of the common man. He was more or less their four-legged Lenin.''
  • This works in other ways - Communism can work, if the leader isn't corrupt. Unfortunately when it doesn't work, it brings everybody DOWN rather than pushing the lower classes up. Remember how hungry the hyenas were? The smallest of scraps would seem like an improvement.
  • Then Simba comes along and the lionesses vote for him. The hyenas, being illegal immigrants, black people and the mentally disabled, have no vote.

  • An alternative theory is absolutely opposite.
Mufasa's rule may symbolise the Communist dictatorship of the Soviet Union. Scar could be an obvious hint on Gorbachev (remember that Gorbachev has some red spot on his head and Scar has on his eye ... well ...) The death of Mufasa and rise of Scar to power symbolises Perestroika and the later years, including what had happened after the 1991 - the hyenas may symbolise the capitalists, who came to power in the former USSR, who opress the lions (workers) and make them work for them day and night. Exiled Simba may represent oany of the current Russian politicians - for example Putin or Zyuganov. Mufasa's ghost may symbolise the Neo-Stalinist tendencies in the present-day Russian society, especcialy in the CPRF. After Scar was overthrowned, he was killed by his former allies, just like Gorbachev is now forgotten by the capitalists who came to power with his help.

The whole thing was an Evil Plan on the part of Rafiki.
As shaman, omnivore, and Savannah primate, Rafiki was the equivalent of the Pope to the many animals that inhabited the Pridelands. However, that alone could not quench his thirst for power. After all, he was of the same order as humankind: the desire to control and destroy were in his blood. But, Rafiki knew that to go about destroying others to get what he wanted would accomplish nothing. So, he took a diplomatic approach, and sided with the lions, the kinds of the Pridelands.

For a long time, Rafiki and the lions more or less ruled side by side, until the arrival of a new king: Mufasa. Mufasa had it all; he was charismatic, kind, selfless, and a very efficient hunter. Rafiki just couldn't compete, and he began to fall in influence. He and Mufasa were still as close as he had been with every king, but Rafiki knew something had to be done. He needed a pawn, someone who could be easily controlled. With the birth of Simba, the newcoming king, and the lingering memory of Scar's humiliation, the gears started turning, and Rafiki concocted a plan.

First, Rafiki convinced Scar through a few vague words that he was the rightful king, not Mufasa. The monkey was there to hear all of Scar's plans, and with a few choice words, he pushed the maniacal lion along a certain path. At the same time, Rafiki would suggest that Zazu try and keep Simba in line, so Simba would thus act out and go against the stuffy hornbill's wishes. This was all in preparation for the final stroke, when Scar would kill Mufasa, leaving Simba to pick up the pieces.

Unfortunately, Scar went against Rafiki's wishes and ordered his hyenas to kill Simba. While said hyenas weren't successful, Rafiki was furious at Scar and distraught that his plan had fallen through so easily. As Scar took over the Pridelands with his legions of giggling carnivores, Rafiki wept for the apparent death of his ticket to the throne.

Rafiki returned to his old tree-palace, with influence as a shaman but not as the king's friend. Of course, he was elated when word of Simba being alive was carried in on the wind. It was time to put the plan back into motion all over again.

With a little smoke-and-mirror magic, Rafiki was able to convince the exiled prince he was destined to return to the Pridelands and reclaim the throne. In the epic battle that followed, the old monkey made sure he played a significant enough part as to factor into the new king's crowning.

So, Rafiki, the jolly and wise baboon/mandrill shaman, took hold of the throne as Simba's head advisor. Finally, he could manipulate events and make decisions through the king just as he always did. He had to share that privilege alongside Timon and Pumbaa, but they didn't use their power at all, and they could be easily controlled.
  • In Lion King 2, Rafiki then worked to bring Kiara and Kovu together so he could increase the number of lions he had influence over.
  • This guess requires too much Offscreen Villainy in my opinion.
  • Mufasa would have been terrible at hunting. The manes of adult male lions make them stand out, which is detrimental to a successful hunt.

The Lion King takes place after humans have gone extinct.
We see no evidence of humans in the film, which is a bit odd even for a secluded area like the Pridelands. At some point in time, humans were wiped out in a cataclymic WWIII that failed to go nuclear, at least not to the point that it could collapse Earth's biosphere entierly. The Outlands are actually the edge of the bombed out wasteland that covers most of the planet, with the Prideland being one of the few areas so devoid of human life that it saw no fighting.
  • Possibly Jossed in Timon & Pumbaa, since sometimes on the show, Timon and Pumbaa meet humans. There was even a human recurring villian named Quint.

Ed is Ed.
Mostly since they're both spotted hyenas (though the former is a weird, dark-gray variety) with the same name. They obviously do not possess the same intelligence, so either Digger's Ed, after he died trying to destroy the heart, was reincarnated by a vengeful She-Is-Fiercer and cursed with serious mental retardation, or the Lion King's Ed became Digger's Ed, either over time or through reincarnation.
  • Alternately...

Ed is Ed.
...and the other hyenas are the other Eds. Shenzi is most likely Double D. (most feminine of the trio), elevated to the rightful role of leader due to her being comparatively more competent, while Eddy became a bitter Butt-Monkey as Banzai.
  • Hmm.... I'd say Shenzi fits Eddy much better in personality, and Banzai as a Double D gone slightly off his rocker after having been somehow transformed into a hyena.

The Hyena's were banished due to their numbers
This occured to me watching Be Prepared. Look at how massive in numbers the Hyenas are. Now, Hyenas are good predators in real life, there being so many was a major problem of overpopulation. There's no way the Pridelands could've supported them and the lions (as seen in Scar's reign). There are far fewer lions than there are Hyenas, the Lions are actually pretty reasonible in number. Mufasa had two options, get rid of the hyenas or get rid of the lions. If the lions had left, the Hyenas were still too numorious for them to be supported and too dim-whitted to realize this (as shown, the Hyenas aren't very clever). Thus, from that view, it's possible he told them to leave for the sake of everyone. However, it's possible they weren't even banished, just told to leave and thought they were banished or possibly Scar made them think that. It fits into the movie well because Scar's reign shows the Pridelands can't support both groups, so there's good reason to get the Hyenas out as they're the bigger problem than the lions are.
  • This theory is pure brilliance, except for one thing; Mufasa is clearly shown driving off hyenas from the Pridelands, so it's most likely that they were actively banished. Other than that, this theory works perfectly.

Scar was gay
Because he's just so fabulous. This would explain why he (possibly) had no direct male heirs, and might even be why he didn't get to be king when his heterosexual male brother was around.note  There's a link elsewhere on the page that says that two ruling male lions will often "strengthen their bond" by feelin' the love. This doesn't apply to Mufasa and Scar, as Mufasa is clearly leading on his own; but maybe Scar wasn't opposed to the idea?
  • My mother agrees with you. The fact that in the Latin American dub the Surrounded by Idiots line was said in feminine form doesn't help at all.

The character of Scar/Taka is, among other things, also a Shout-Out to Tony Montana.

The hyenas weren't evil
Not really a WMG, but there you are. The hyenas were Punch Clock Villains at worst.
  • The hyenas never did anything malicious: they were ordered to kill Simba, and though they had the chance, did not kill Zazu.
  • They were confined to the Graveyard, which didn't look terribly fertile- no wonder they took orders from the only guy who bothered to feed them. Note that in "Be Prepared", they sing that "We'll have food, lots of food, we'll repeat".
  • Speaking of "Be Prepared", one of Scar's lines is "I know it sounds sordid, but you'll be rewarded"- if the hyenas were truly evil, they would not have to be persuaded.
  • When they fought against the lionesses, they were well aware that they wouldn't be very popular if there was a revolution.
    • Seconded. Also, this theory fits together very well with my "Hyenas are democrats" guess above.

The story is not told from Simba's point of view, but Scar's
Bear with me.

Scar never controlled the hyenas. What happened was this: Some hyenasnote  had decided to go hunt some wildebeest. Unfortunately, they ran into a cliff, where they screeched to a halt. The wildebeest, however, kept going. Unfortunately, Simba had been chasing a butterfly into that same ravine. Scar saw this, and alerted Mufasa. Skip to the part where Mufasa is dangling off a small ledge. Scar tried to help, but he was too weak (it's strongly implied he's a runt, and Mufasa is a really buff and presumably heavy loin). Mufasa realized so, and told Scar there is no way he (Mufasa) would survive, just before falling. Scar inherited the throne because Simba was a kid at the time, and suffered a severe case of survivor's guilt, driving his bonkers. He spent most of his time crying and just getting more and more insane, shirking his responsibilities. Soon, the Hyenas took over. What happened to Simba? The Hyenas convinced him it was all his fault. Soon, Scar believed the events happened the way the movie presented it. When Simba came back, the Lionesses filled him in, and he exiled Scar. The Hyenas then killed him.

Yes, I just made a Disney movie Lighter and Softer.

After Scar took over, the whole wildebeest herd was executed under charges of Regicide
Thus why the stock of ungulates was depleted so dramatically during his reign.
  • That's something I can actually see Scar pulling off, just to further blur his own involvement in the incident.

The Outlander Lionesses (apart from Zira) are Scar's daughters.
Think about it. This explains both why they were still devoted to Scar long after his death, and why they couldn't help him at the end of the first film: they were still cubs/ very young at the time.

The movies all exist in alternate universes
No, 1 1/2 was not just an embellishment, it actually happened...in an alternate universe. There is no evidence of Scar having a mate, cubs, or any lion allies in the first film (especially if you take the stage show into account, where Zazu points this out), and yet he apparently did when you consider the sequel. No, this was not Disney failing to take continuity into account in a quick cash grab; IT'S AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE.

The cub in the first movie was Kiara's twin brother
Kopa never existed in the TLK 2 verse, the timing isn't right, as Kovu has to have been alive when Scar was around and yet still be pretty young. However, drafts for the TLK 2 script gave Kiara a twin brother, Chaka, who even had a betrothed, Timira/Kirajah. At at the end of the first movie you see a golden newborn cub being presented. This is Chaka being presented as heir, either because he is older or male. Kiara is neither, and thus just stays in the den, meaning most of the pride don't even know about her. Now, Zira is still in the Pridelands at this point because she has very young cubs, only living on the fringes and thus isn't one of the few who knows about Kiara. She manages to kill Chaka, Simba's 'only heir' before getting herself and her followers exiled. Kiara, clearly older than the cub at the end of the first movie, is then presented as the new heir. Zira, in the deleted scene, is so freakin' delighted because Simba's only SURVIVING cub is female. Timira/Kirajah and her mother were expelled from the pride due to being unwelcome reminders of Chaka. Simba is now super-protective of the one child he has left. Kiara never knew about her brother, because no one wanted her scarred for life.

Zazu is a reincarnation of C-3PO as a hornbill.
Even droids may take part in the process, and C-3PO was one of them. Unfortunately, while R2-D2 too was reincarnated, in his previous life he had been small, compact, hard-shelled, and hiding a large assortment of tools, thus he was reincarnated as a beetle. R2-Beetle was forced to leave and live elsewhere thanks this new constant danger of Zazu/C-3PO's diet. Despite the loss of his friend, C-3PO learned to enjoy his new life as a hornbill, still faithfully serving his masters, "finally getting the hang of this flying", and still keeping his position as the universe's Butt-Monkey.

Years later, R2-D2 turned up again while being hunted by a ravenous warthog, but before he could open his shell and unleash an oil slick/jetpack combo on him, a bigger fish/lion completed the job for him.

The Hyenas go on an epic Exodus
I'm rewatching the original at the moment, and I vaguely remember that by the second movie the Hyenas have all fled the Pridelands. Where did they go? Judging by some other entries on this page, the Hyenas weren't as evil as the movie suggests when you look at their motives, and what I'm basically saying is that it would be interesting to see a story of some kind of the Hyena's journey from the Pridelands to wherever they end up. Not really WMG I know, but just a thought.
  • Yeah! And throughout the journey they constantly argue about whether or not it was a good idea to do that, as well as disputes over whose idea it was to team up with Scar in the first place, and at the end of every argument and spat the Hyena tribe continues travelling. And at the end of the feature length journey they reach their own 'promised land' much like the one Simba's pride currently owns, but not ruled by lions or anyone.

Ed is the smartest of the Hyenas
After rewatching it in 3D, I came to realize that Ed may be smarter than he looks and acts, because towards the end he drops his stupid hyena act and lets out some scary laughs before attacking scar, my theory he just can't transfer his thoughts into words, so he laughs them in hyena language instead, which is why the others can understand him well.
  • In "Be Prepared", when Scar sings "It's clear from your vacant expressions / The lights are not all on upstairs", Ed winks at the camera as if to say "Yeah, that's what HE thinks!"
  • It is canon that "Ed knows the score". Still, there's obviously something wrong in his head.

The 'circle of life' was propaganda to justify an oppressive caste system based on species.
Every animal is bound to their social station based at birth. Lions of a certain bloodline were meant to rule. Hyenas were born to struggle in poverty on the brink of starvation. Herbivores were destined to sacrifice their lives for carnivores (even though lions in this universe were just as healthy eating insects which lack human-equivalent intelligence). When Scar failed as a king, the lionesses claimed it was because he didn't keep the hyenas in their place, not because he was corrupt and power hungry. Either way, they still wouldn't overthrow Scar because it would go against the 'circle of life' for anyone but the rightful heir to take the throne.
  • Going with this, the hyenas were oppressed for having conflicting beliefs. And while that's terrible, when they came into the Pride Lands, these conflicting beliefs just added further tension between lions and hyenas.

Sarabi hired Scar as a hit man to kill Mufasa.
Mufasa was just doing what normal lions do, aka sleeping with every female in the pride. It wasn't until Sarafins gave birth to Nala that Sarabi realized what was going on. She confronted Mufasa about it, but he refused to listen. Then she came up with a plan. She went to Scar, unaware that he had just tried to off her kid, and made a deal with him; if he killed Mufasa, she would give him the throne and become his queen. Scar agreed, but things went badly when he killed Simba as well, securing his place as king. Sarabi was heartbroken at the loss of her cub, but rejoiced at the death of her mate and became Scar's queen, although she was always wary of him. Simba's death always stood between them. A little while after, however, Scar met the younger and prettier(in his head at least) Zira. He took Zira as his mate and demoted Sarabi to pride member. Now furious beyond belief and wondering why she can't keep her mates loyal, Sarabi sends Nala to find someone to kill Scar. When she returned with Simba, her long lost son, Sarabi couldn't have been happier. However, by this point her mind was cracked beyond all repair. She began hallucinating, thinking her son was actually Mufasa come back to punish her. When the Outsiders were banished, Sarabi went with them, which is why we never see her in the sequel. She dies sometime before the final battle, alone and crazy.

Sarafina was killed by the hyenas.
In the musical, it is mentioned that Sarafina killed Banzai's father. Since he and Ed appear to be brothers, and Shenzi is either their sister or in love with Banzai, It's Personal for all three. The result: My Name Is Inigo Montoya and Make It Look Like an Accident at some point during Scar's reign.

The title card has a black background because of a deleted scene.
According to Heihachi Mishima in Tekken: The Motion Picture, lions throw their cubs off cliffs and only raise the ones that climb back up. During the presentation of Simba, right when the title card cuts the scene off, is Rafiki promptly dropping the cub off Pride Rock, followed by Mufasa calling down "Now climb back up, son; you're not prince until you do! Now, uh, that's probably going to take a while, so in the meantime, I'm going to chide your uncle for not attending." After Mufasa and Zazu confront Scar, there is another deleted scene with Mufasa joyfully finding that his son has successfully scaled Pride Rock. Simba does not remember the incident because of his extremely young age, hence why doesn't resent his father for the incident.

Scar and Mufasa were only half-brothers.
This one seems obvious when one reads "A Tale of Two Brothers", one of the children's books. Putting aside the fact Scar looks different from his relatives, there is the matter of his birthname; Taka. Which means Dirt. This troper is forced to conclude Mufasa's father is not Scar's father, and the aforementioned lion knew this and named him accordingly. Taking it further, Scar complains to Zazu in the musical that "Nobody loved me! ...Not even as a cub!", implying that his parents weren't that great at showing him affection. Perhaps for good reason.

The Lion King and Tarzan take place in the same universe.
And Rafiki and the baboons in Tarzan are the same species, non-existent in our universe, with mandrill-like faces but baboon-like tails.
  • Only the alpha male baboon (the one that floats down with Jane's umbrella) has a mandrill face.
Ed is the only character aware of the concept of the fourth wall.
I don't know how he could know, but perhaps Ed knows that everything going on around him is a work of fiction in a movie. He knows everything's going to be okay since it's all not real, that's why all he seems to do is laugh - he's laughing at the absurdity of everything in his eyes. He's just having fun cause he knows it's a movie.
  • So Ed is the hyena version of The Joker?
  • Timon and Pumbaa seem aware of it as well, what with the "not in front of the kids" line and Aside Glances. They seem to handle it a lot better, though.

Scar wasn't the first lion to ever murder his brother
  • Not OP but this seems.. Obvious. Do you mean in the pride or lions in total?
    • I meant in the pride.

Mheetu was Scar's son
He has the same "Outsider" ears as Scar.

The Lion King was originally going to be a straight-up Remake of Kimba, but...
  • Disney then realized how incredibly difficult it would be to get the rights to the anime - it had been in the hands of various animation studios in japan, numerous dubbers, and everything - but it was too far along in pre-production to change most of the story, so they changed Kimba to Simba, Claw to Scar, and added elements of Hamlet. Unfortunately, this still wasn't enough to keep Fan Dumb from attacking it as a rip-off when it's more like how The Magnificent Seven was a re-telling of Seven Samurai, only this time, instead of it being the Seven Samurai replaced by cowboys, it was Kimba's characters with the plot of Hamlet, making it a very strange - and ultimately, very great - variation of Recycled In Space.

Timon and Pumbaa are an odd example of Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • Although their actors have come out and said they thought of them as a gay couple, it seems to be that both of them are sexual minorities. Timon is gay, mainly due to Nathan Lane being openly gay, while Pumbaa seems far more like an Asexual.

Scar is faking that accent (or rather, the lion equivalent of a posh accent, which we hear through Translation Convention) because he is so full of himself and wants to sound clever and classy. That's why none of the other lions sound that way.

Simba wasn't the only cub Mufasa and Sarabi had.
Cats generally have multiple cubs in a litter. The fact that Simba was named heir out of all of his unknown amount of siblings means he was just the first born of the litter.

Scar is a low tier Reality Warper.
In the novels, Scar's name was said to be "Taka" which loosely means "trash" or "want" in Swahili. Not only are his actions deplorable, but anything he gets near seems to become utterly corrupted, destroyed or morally "unclean" in some fasion due to his desires. His father, brother and nephew seem to keep this in line with their presence, and he seems to have little effect on Pride Rock until he actively starts taking control of the pride. When he takes command of Pride Rock, things go downhill due to his rule. While he's briefing the Hyenas in "Be Prepared", the area begins to shift under his full, unchecked presence. In short, Scar seems to project an aura of pure unadulterated wrong that warps the area around him if he stays around long enough, and his brother's bloodline acts as a counterbalance.

Mufasa is the REAL monster in the story.
When he was told that he would be king, he bullied and tormented his little brother about it. Also, he's racist against hyenas, banishing them to the elephant graveyard and leaving them to starve to death for no good reason, just because he thinks he's better than them. Hey, it's not their fault that they have to scavenge, Trollfasa! What happened to "Circle of Life"?! He doesn't really love his son and wife. He's only pretending to so that he looks like a better king. The reason he's so protective of his son is because he knows that he'll look like a bad king if his son dies. If was able to, he would let his son get killed.
  • This doesn't work too much beyond the Fantastic Racism, because it completely kills the premise of the movie. Also, Mufasa tries way too hard for someone who's just doing it for appearance's sake.

The hyenas were Chaotic Neutral mercenaries with no true loyalty to Scar, and that became his undoing.
(And by extension, one of the more mature themes of the story is of the dangers of securing followers by way of fear and the promise of resources as opposed to the loyalty of true friends.) Think about it. Lions and hyenas were natural enemies - or at least competitors for food. Hyenas are scavengers - they're going to go where the food is. Scar promised them food, so they followed him. By the time the end of the movie had rolled around, Pride Rock was a wasteland - likely because Scar was forced to allow the Hyenas to eat up all the resources in order to keep his mercenary army well-fed and happy, which took priority over the lionesses and perhaps even Scar's own health (he doesn't seem much healthier during his rule, although that could be chalked up to aging as well). Thus, when Scar was defeated and attempted to throw the hyenas under the bus, he was no longer of any value to the hyenas...except for food, which they hadn't had in a while. Scar's last mistake was the assumption that he had earned the hyena's loyalty to him. Mufasa didn't have any dealings with the hyenas during his rule because he knew that tendency. As soon as resources between them became scarce, the hyenas would have turned on him in a heartbeat.

Additionally, in Lion King II, Zira's mistake was the assumption that everyone on her side was fanatically devoted to her cause as she was. Vitani's case was obviously familial loyalty...which went out the window once Zira threatened to kill her. Nuka cared less about his mother's power base and really only wanted her approval. And the lionesses that were with her were looking at their situation and realizing that it was in fact not better than what they'd had at Pride Rock.

Kopa, from the end of the first movie, was Scar's biological son.
Thanks to Scar's advanced age, the elder lionesses couldn't carry any cubs to term. Nala, whose belly was hanging low in a lot of shots in the Oasis (not "has to be pregnant" low, just low, like other lions including Simba have shown) was the only one young enough to make up for Scar's age and give birth to even a single one of his cubs. Simba just adopted Kopa because he's cool like that; unfortunately, Kopa died soon after he was born, be it from congenital or genetic disorders caused by parents of advanced age, such a problem making him unable to get himself out of a bad situation before it turned fatal, or even one of Scar's detractors or fangirls kidnapping or killing him (not Zira; we've seen Kovu as a cub, and he's all wrong for the look). The reason Kopa looks like Simba instead of Scar and/or Nala? He just looks like most of the male lion cubs on his father's (or both parents') side of the family than his father in particular. This isn't meant to be a Poison Oak Epileptic Tree, just a "lions do all sorts of things humans think of as wrong, including this, so this is totally plausible" guess.

The Pride Lands are a Fisher Kingdom, but they didn't die because Scar was a bad king...
They died because the King was absent. The literal spirit of the King of the Pride Lands came with Simba when he left, as the young king. When he returned, the spirit of the Kingdom and Its King went ahead on his path, in the form of the storm that lit the dead grass and decay on fire (providing nutritious, albeit probably a bit alkaline, ashes) and gave the land much-needed water. Shortly after The Lion King 1 1/2, with Timon's enormous, transplanted family and no avatar for a Spirit of the Land, the grub ecology is going to collapse and bring down the rest of the food chain of the oasis with it... just like when Simba left the Pride Lands and Shenzi's, Banzai's, and Ed's enormous, transplanted family moved in and ate all the zebras and antelope and whatnot more quickly than they could reproduce.

The Hyenas live in a desolated graveyard not because of Fantastic Racism, but because of their own stupidity.
This is one thing I always felt since I first watched the movie. The land the Hyenas lived in was actually fertile and fresh like the Pridelands once before and Hyenas and Lions lived in harmony, each in their respective land. However, because The Hyenas are gluttonic morons, they overhunted (much like in the movie) and turned their land into the Mordor we see in the movie. The Hyenas, still hungry for more food, invaded the Pridelands and tried to take over, Mufasa drove them back ("You already ruined your land, don't try to ruin ours") and thus the Hyena-Lion feud was born.
  • While I don't accept this as MY favoured argumant, it is kind of the best way to keep the lions from looking like complete assholes for banishing the hyenas.

The hyenas haven't actually been there that long
  • In some of the books they go ON AND ON about the hyenas constantly causing trouble like some kind of Chaotic Evil Race. They were banished for this, but it was only meant to be a stop-gap; they were supposed to be allowed to find different territory to the lions, so that there wouldn't be too many predators. But they felt really sour about being kicked out of their original home.

Zazu is the animal version of Blackadder.
And his Baldrick is a hyena so filthy the other ones can't stand him.

Scar was pampered by his parents.
While fangirls tend to give Scar a Freudian Excuse by saying that he's The Unfavourite, that doesn't really fit with Scar's personality - if anything, he sounds like he was given the right to be king, and could be considered the Evil Counterpart to Simba. His parents pampered him, either because he was originally going to be king or because they wanted to comfort him in the fact that he wouldn't. Being pampered did nothing to make him a capable ruler, and as Mufasa was more focused on actually learning how rulership works was chosen as king instead. Scar believed that he deserved to be king because of this pampering, along with thinking that being ruler=getting what I want. He used this to justify killing Mufasa, along with the fact that he believed that Mufasa "stole" his rightful position. Unsurprisingly, he had no skill when it came to actually ruling. Mufasa was trying to temper Simba because this he didn't want something like Scar happening again, though he didn't think Scar was willing to kill him the way that he did.

Simba died when the Stampede initially came towards him. The rest of the movie is what would've happened had he lived.
Bear with me here, I won't try to make a really big explanation. Based on a discussion had with a friend, this WMG happened as such: He literally couldn't move from shock and was trampled by the wildebeest. The only doubt I have about it being a WMG is that this might not actually be that uncommon for really young lion cubs in Real Life. Given the possibility of being small and inexperienced, either the situation I described would happen or the cub would be killed while trying to run.

Scar is the Avatar.
During 'Be Prepared', he uses earthbending to make the ground open up when he jumps down from the cliff, and to make the rock columns rise up into the air with him on it. He also uses firebending to make fire flare up behind him towards the end of the song for dramatic effect. As he is not a fully realized Avatar, he has only mastered earth and fire, and in trying to learn waterbending and airbending he somehow screwed up badly enough to make the rivers dry up and cause a drought.
  • And Scar's personality and apparent feeling that he should get the throne just because he wants it comes from his power and his status going to his head. He believes that since he's the Avatar, he is entitled to anything he wants, and any measures taken to get it are perfectly justified.

Zira and her followers didn't just kill Kopa.
They killed Sarabi, too. That's why she never shows up again and is never mentioned again. Like Kopa, she just kind of... disappeared, without any explanation. Possibly Sarafina too, but Zira only wanted to hurt Simba, so it'd make sense if it was just Sarabi.

Kovu and Scar are relatives, but not father and son
Assuming Scar is only Mufasa's half-brother, he has to have other relatives. Kovu was fathered by a rogue that was related to Scar.
  • Scar and Mufasa are full siblings. Scar's appearance comes from his father Ahadi according to the text of A Tale of Two Brothers(despite what's depicted in the art). Kovu might be related to one of Scar's Half Siblings(whoever they are).

The hyenas are an invasive species that only migrated to the Pridelands two or three generations ago.
That's why they're outcasts despite the whole "Circle of Life" thing, which essentially refers to the Pridelands' ecosystem. When they first migrated to the Pridelands, they totally messed up the local ecosystem, as invasive species in real life tend to do, creating a situation very similar the one that happened when Scar allied with them. Thus, Mufasa's ancestors led the lions to drive them out, which is why nobody except Scar will even consider letting them back in. The events of the movie are what finally convinced the hyenas to give up and move somewhere else.

Tying in a bunch of theories I've seen and a few of my own for Kovu's time period...
The lionesses refuse to hunt for Scar as part of a protest. So the ones that ARE loyal to him are the ones to go out and hunt. This causes them to be away for the fight scene. During one of these extended hunts, they come across a rogue. Lionesses sometimes mate with other males when the leader isn't around. Zira mates, as she wants to make sure the genepool stays diverse enough so that none of Scar's heirs have to leave, especially if the child he has impregnated Nala's mother with is female. (Despite the whole reprise thing, it couldn't be Nala, due to her obvious non-pregnantness when she finds Simba) Scar is so delighted at both this and her loyalty, she names the child heir instead of Nuka, who was incompetent and frail, which is why he did nothing for Scar during the battle with Simba, opting to tell the Scar-Loyalists instead so they could be prepared (pun not intended) upon returning, and his frailty and stupidity are also why Simba drives him out instead of killing or at least severely injuring him, as Simba knows he will never pose a threat. When the lionesses return from their interrupted hunt, they are banished, along with Nuka and the newly-born, recessively-eyed Vitani, who would technically be Nala's half-sister. Zira's rogue pregnancy could have happened near the end of the hunt before the one they go on at the time of the battle, putting Kovu's conception right around the time of Kiara's, if you assume that she was conceived during 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' and that the lionesses went on multiple hunts within a short time, as crossing the desert probably took at least a week, and with the food shortage, hunts would need to be more frequent to feed everybody. Unfortunately, I could not work this to also include Kopa. I wish I could've.

Mufasa caused the drought.
Recall the clouds Mufasa used to show himself to Simba with? I say he has been saving it up for a long time, drying out the Pride Lands.

Scar's hyena clan are 'outlanders'
There's obviously got to be living space for hyenas; they can't all live in the graveyard. The normal clans would probably be a more natural brown color, possibly with golden individuals, not unlike the lions.

There is more than one Clan
Hyena males leave their Clans at 2 years old to find another, so guys like Banzai and Ed are from another clan. Scar made his deal with the Graveyard Clan. After it went through, they contacted the other Clans, who rolled on in because who doesn't enjoy a free buffet? Scar wasn't expecting that - but he did nothing to fix it. This also explains Janja and Jasiri being from different Clans.

Actor Allusion

Scar and Mufasa took over the pride together.
While prides are normally led by a single male lion, sometimes brothers will work together to take over a pride and rule together. Mufasa and Scar did this, with Mufasa being the dominant brother. Scar resented that Mufasa was seen as the king when they were supposed to rule together.

Ed isn't stupid or crazy—he's deaf.
This Troper's family has a pit bull who behaves much like Ed—he'll eat most anything, is easily distracted, and exhibits manic behavior, often making weird noises. It's quite possible Ed's behavior owes to being severely hearing-impaired. Note how he seems a bit slow on the uptake and won't respond unless directly addressed. Ed follows visual cues such as watching Banzai and Shenzi's behavior (and Shenzi's none-too-gentle physical prompting), following scents, or reading Scar's lips during speeches, and can usu. gauge pretty well how he should act, even if he's a beat behind the other two at times.
  • This theory makes the ending a little bit of Fridge Horror, considering Ed just stares at Scar until he starts laughing. That would mean he wasn't prompted by Shenzi and Banzai after all (Ed never breaks eye contact with Scar); he just cracked from lack of food and decided that Scar looked delicious.
  • I wish I'd thought of something like this before I'd start writing my latest story.

Ed is the true leader of the Hyenas.

A bizarre case of The Dog Was the Mastermind and Obfuscating Stupidity. Ed is actually the one calling the shots and makes up all of the final decisions for the pack. He IS weird, but only when he lets Shenzi and Banzai do most of the work. This is more of a case of Pragmatic Villainy, since it would probably be more tactically advantageous to let most people think that your subordinates are the ones who are at the front and in charge, and assume you to be a brainless oaf.

Some time after the end of the story, the pride is exterminated
By who? Humans looking for rugs, of course.

The movie is anti-Jacobite propaganda

  • 1. Lions are a symbol of England
  • 2. Like the Jacobites, scar's main supporters live in the more difficult fringes of the area, while the main characters live in the more central area.
  • 3. Scar and Mufasa being brothers represents the two side's supported leaders being close relatives.

Hades brought Scar back to life.
Jafar wasn't the only Disney villain Hades brought back to life to kill Hercules.

Mufasa and Simba's manes are red due to gourd juice.
  • When Simba is born, Rafiki wipes a small dab of gourd juice across his forehead. This is essentially the animal's version of a christening, only performed when the next Lion King is born. This could explain why Mufasa's mane is red, yet Scar has a more natural black mane.

There will be a film about Scar
As Disney continues its trend of making live-action/CGI adaptations out of its classic films, they could eventually give another villain the top billing like Maleficent. What better choice than Scar — it starts off with his childhood, showing how he and Mufasa were once close brothers. Then we see how Scar gets his namesake scar and eventually grows to envy Mufasa. Followed soon by a closer look of his reign over the Pridelands. It would introduce characters such as Ahadi and Uru (Scar and Mufasa's parents) as well as providing depth on the Hyenas, Zira and other followers of Scar.

Scar was sterile.
He's scarred in more than one way; either by accident or due to some predator, Scar suffered a major injury that essentially sterilized him. Though he recovered, being emasculated felt humiliating, so he acts prideful/power-hungry to compensate. He's jealous of Mufasa not only because he's leading the herd, but because he can produce cubs. Despite having his own mate, he never had children because of this Crippling Castration.
  • Except lions lose their manes when castrated. Still, let's say for a moment that this is true. Honey badgers which live in the same habitats as lions are said to bite the testicles off other, larger animals. Maybe Scar had an unlucky encounter with a honey badger...

The Movie is Propaganda for Simba's Family
The story was, in fact, commissioned by Simba's granddaughter in order to justify Simba's seizure of power and unfairly portray Scar as a monster.

Simba secretly ate meat behind Timon and Pumbaa's backs
Think about it - if he ate nothing but bugs his whole life, Simba would be very malnourished and wouldn't stand a chance against Scar (or Nala, depending on her health during the Pridelands' drought). So the only logical explanation is that, while Timon and Pumbaa were occupied, Simba would sneak off and hunt larger prey.
  • While this theory would make sense, someone actually did a study on Africa, it's bugs and how hard it would be to catch them and the conclusion was that it was entirely possible for Simba to eat nothing but bugs and still be healthier than Scar.

Shenzi helped Nala escape
When Nala was subjected to Scar's Captain Rape-esque behaviour, Nala wanted to escape but she couldn't because hyenas patrol everywhere. Shenzi took pity on her and, because she knew Scar was going crazy, helped her get out to try and find help. She never actually expected Nala to come back with Simba. And because she helped Nala, Nala stood up for the hyenas at the end to Simba and they were simply banished to the Outlands.