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Trivia / The Lion King

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The Musical

  • What Could Have Been: In early writing phases, Julie Taymor devised a much stranger Act II, where Simba stumbled upon a Vegas-like City of Lights home to a population of Funny Animals in the desert, ran by the villainous Boss Croc. Boss Croc made a deal with Scar to divert the water to provide hydroelectric power to run the city and Simba is forced into a fighting ring at his Pussycat Club, where he gains the title "The Lion King" in the tournaments there. Nala finds him there and after being forced to fight Timon and Pumbaa in the ring, all four make their escape back to the Pride Lands.

The Video Game:

  • Christmas Rushed: Virgin Interactive was given a meager six months to complete the game (as Disney wanted the game to coincide with the movie's release). They started work on it ahead of time before they had even signed the contract for the game because they knew time was not on their side.
  • Creator Backlash: The lead artist for the game apologized for the games infamously difficult second level on Reddit.
  • Development Gag: The codes to enter the cheat menu are self-inserts by the lead programmers. On the SNES, it was B-A-R-R-Y after Barry Green, while the Genesis one has R-A-A-B after how Rob Povey felt the Americans pronounced his name.
  • Early Draft Tie-In: All versions of the game are this for the movie, since the game and film were worked on concurrently, which resulted in some orphaned references. Additionally, the Game Gear and Master System versions of the game are this for the 16-bit versions, which resulted in the following holdovers from early SNES/Genesis prototypes:
    • Hyenas using A.I. Roulette instead of following a specific behavior pattern.
    • The level known in other versions as "Simba's Return" being called "Hyena Lairs" instead.
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    • The 1-up icon being a picture of Simba's face instead of text saying "1UP".
    • The Elephant Graveyard using graphics based on early concept art for the movie rather than the final film; the 16-bit version had its art updated to better match the film, but this version did not.
    • Hippos being present in Hakuna Matata.
    • Cub Simba's Idle Animation depicting him chasing his tail instead of watching a butterfly.
  • Orphaned Reference: Two levels are based on concepts cut from the movie. If you guessed that "Be Prepared" was one of them, then... congratulations, you have eyes. Less obvious is the identity of the other one: "Hakuna Matata". This might have been more obvious if the final level had gone by its in-development name of "Willow Cascade".
  • Role Reprise: Surprisingly, per word of the games lead artist, James Earl Jones briefly returned to rerecord one of Mufasa's lines just for the game. Most surprising is that James Earl Jones, who was the most expensive actor in Hollywood to hire at the time, did it for free.
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  • What Could Have Been: Disney originally wanted it to be a fighting game as opposed to a platformer (yes, really), but Westwood Studios pushed back and told them it wouldn't fit the movie's style and would've been impossible to program a brand new fighting engine from scratch in just six months. Elements of that original idea are sort of seen in the adult Simba levels where he fights various cats, but mostly it was scrapped.

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