10 Things You (Still) Don’t Know About ‘The Lion King’

Hakuna Matata (1)
It’s been 22 years since Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ hit the big screen – that’s an entire generation of 90’s children who watched, sang, cried and cheered their way through Simba’s story. However, the events in the movie only covered Simba’s childhood and early adulthood, ending with the revival of the royal line.

Like any excited child, we all asked “and then what happened?” but, excluding a second attempted coup in ‘The Lion King 2’, fans don’t have much to go on when it comes to life in the Pride Lands under Simba’s rule.

Until now, that is.

With the upcoming release of Disney’s ‘The Lion Guard’ on the Disney Channels, it’s time for a quick refresher on the original movie. Plus, it’s a great excuse to watch it all over again (with your kids of course!), impart some interesting facts about the movie and have them think you are the coolest parent around!

If you don’t already know, what starts out on the drawing board often gets revised and the finished product is often drastically different from what was envisioned. Here are just 10 examples of how these behind-the-scenes changes led to some amazing results that made ‘The Lion King’ simply awesome.

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1. The iconic opening scene almost never happened.
We all know and love that dramatic vocalisation that marks the beginning of ‘The Lion King’ – the first note of ‘Circle of Life’ is electrifying but that wasn’t part of the plan. Thankfully, when the directors heard the final score by award-winning composer Hans Zimmer, they scrapped their original idea of using nothing more than a dialogue involving most of the main characters. Phew!

Timon and Pumba(1)

2. The actors who formed the perfect pair, Timon and Pumbaa, initially auditioned for different parts.
Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella were asked to audition for the roles of the hyenas, Banzai and Shenzi. However, the directors loved their chemistry and rapport so much that they were cast as Timon and Pumbaa instead. Meanwhile, the hyenas were voiced by Cheech Marin and Whoopi Goldberg.
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3. The first choice for Mufasa’s deep, dignified voice was Sean Connery.
Hard to imagine isn’t it? James Earl Jones (best known as the voice of Star Wars’ Darth Vader) got the part instead (which he reprises in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar! Yay!)
Can you feel the love tonight Elton John
4. ‘Can you feel the love tonight’ was originally intended as a comical duet between Timon and Pumbaa.
Can you imagine ‘The Lion King’ without that romantic Simba-and-Nala-in-the-moonlight scene?
I Just Can't Wait to Be King (1)
5. Simba’s ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’ was supposed to be sung by Mufasa as ‘To Be King’.
Yet another change in the musical line-up gave us Simba’s fun number, filled with comical imagery.
Scar and Mufasa
6. In early versions of the story, Scar and Mufasa were not related.
Scar was supposed to be a loner but making him Mufasa’s brother added a highly personal and much more dramatic dimension to their relationship.
Hakuna Matata (2)
7. Timon and Pumbaa’s motto, ‘Hakuna Matata’ replaced another song about eating bugs.
The research team’s guide in Africa used the phrase often; when they returned, everyone agreed it was a lot better than singing about bugs!
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8. The studios were temporarily closed in 1994 due to an earthquake; as a result, much of the film was finished in the various artists’ homes. Not that fans could tell the difference – ‘The Lion King’ is the highest-grossing hand-drawn animated feature of all time!
What do you want me to do
9. Timon’s most memorable line, “What do you want me to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?” was improvised by Nathan Lane.
Sometimes, something completely original and unplanned for makes its way into the final cut.
Circle of life (1)
10. After 15 iterations of lyrics for ‘Can you feel the love tonight’, the Oscar-winning version sung by Elton John was the first one!
Enough said.

Now that we’ve whetted your appetite for The Lion King (remember to watch it with your kids!), mark your calendars for The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar on Disney Channel (Astro Channel 615) and Disney Junior (Astro Channel 613) and you can also watch The Lion King Tonite at 8pm.

You can also catch the channel premiere of The Lion Guard series, premiering on Disney Channel at 8.30am on Sunday, 17 April and follow Kion and his friends as they learn to use their respective skills to protect the Pride Lands!

The Circle of Life continues with the *Disney’s The Lion Guard contest…simply answer the following questions below to win some original Lion Guard Merchandise consisting of a series-themed plush toys, tote bags, notebooks, tumblers, and plates! Just answer in the comments below and winners will be contacted via email after the closing date.

1. What is the name of the leader of the Lion Guard?
2. Name the animal who saved Kion in the first episode – Don’t Just Judge a Hyena by its Spots?
3. Tie-breaker – I want to roar like Kion because….


*Terms & conditions apply.

*Only applicable for Malaysians and/or those who reside in Malaysia

*Parents with kids up to 12 years old

*Contest closes on April 30 2016

*Include young participant’s details (full name, age, parent’s name & hp number)

*Judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entertained

*Winners will be contacted for prize collection

24 Responses to 10 Things You (Still) Don’t Know About ‘The Lion King’

  1. I love Lion King! One of my favourite Disney movies ever that I watched the following Lion King movies including Timon and Pumbaa plus played the computer game pinball Lion King version! I can’t imagine Timon and Pumbaa’s voice not being the both of them but the hyenas

  2. 1. Kion
    2. Jasiri
    3. I want to roar like Kion because I want to be like the Lion’s Guard and let all animals live in harmony.

    Muhammad Arsyad Hauzan, 5 years old,
    parent’s name:Sharatul Salma Othman, 0134616958

  3. hhaahha.. I love This cartoon when I was a kid…

    1. Kion
    2. Jasiri
    3. I want to roar like Kion because I want to be a protective to my family and I want all thee animals live in a great leading by the lion.. hu3… but but Lion always suka makan daging hahaaa i dont want to be a vegetarian sorry guys I will eat chicken

  4. I use to watch Lion King when I am still a kid! hehe Thanks for letting us know all these wonderful 10 things about Lion King! Good Luck to all who join this giveaway =D

  5. 1. What is the name of the leader of the Lion Guard?
    2. Name the animal who saved Kion in the first episode – Don’t Just Judge a Hyena by its Spots?
    3. Tie-breaker – I want to roar like Kion because….it is awesome being able to protect other animals and life around us with that roar….

    Heheheh…. thank you…

  6. To be honest, i don’t remember this ‘the lion king’ cartoon.Haha i’m 25 now, so i should be watching this cartoon during my childhood right? Iskk, must be nyanyuk already

  7. Lion King is my all time favourite, rewatching over and over again is never a problem! luckily they kept the first scene, that is my favourite scene.

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