The Lion King is by far one of the best, if not the greatest animated Disney movie of all time. It changed the game in more ways then one when it hit the big screens in 1994, raking in massive amounts of money at the box office. But there was a lot going on behind the scenes as they made the movie that we bet you didn’t know.
Here are 10 things about your favorite Disney movie that will blow your mind.
1. The bench really came to play.
The animators that brought us The Lion King were actually Disney’s “B-Team.” The “A-Team” decided that they wanted to focus their time on making the movie Pocahontas instead, forcing Disney to go to their bench.
2. Hakuna Matata wasn’t there originally.
“Hakuna Matata” is more than just a song. After it debuted in The Lion King, it became a iconic part of North American culture. The movie was originally supposed to have a lengthy song about eating bugs, but after a trip to Africa, the research team came back with the phrase, “Hakuna Matata,” and thus a song was born.
3. Timon and Pumbaa were found by accident.
Nathan Lane and Ernie Sambella, who voiced Timon and Pumbaa, originally went to the casting call to read for parts as hyenas. When they both got to the studio they asked if they could read their scripts together, they were so funny during their audition that the casting director decided that they would play our favorite meerkat and warthog.
4. It broke down a barrier for Disney.
The Lion King was actually the first full-length Disney animated movie that was completely original. To that point in the long history of Disney, all of their movies had been screen adaptations of previously written stories (thanks brothers Grimm).
5. Two years for a single scene.
When Disney released their press notes about the movie, it turns out that the scene where the wildebeest are stampeding actually took over two years to draw. The animators even needed to write an original computer program in order to get the job done.
6. Disney was sued over the film.
In the history of strange and frivolous lawsuits, this one is way up there at the top. After the movie was released, someone who worked as a researcher studying hyenas sued Disney for defamation of character because of how the animals were portrayed in the movie.
7. The final fight ended differently in the first script.
That epic fight sequence between Simba and Scar at Pride Rock was originally written to have a different ending. Originally, Simba was supposed to lose to Scar in the fight, only to see Scar die in the fires brought on by the lightening storm. It doesn’t exactly have the same feel does it?
8. Original ideas that would have changed the whole movie.
A lot of changes were made to the original script before they finished making the movie. Scar was originally not going to be related to Simba, but instead be a lone lion who led a pack of violent baboons. Rafiki was also originally supposed to be a cheetah. We’re glad they made the changes now.
9. The opening scene saw some major changes.
We all know the opening scene of The Lion King. It takes us across the African savanna as we hear the beautifully performed song The Circle of Life. It was originally going to be a dialogue-heavy intro that would simply introduce us to most of the main characters, that is until the writers heard the final cut of the song.
10. Rowan Atkinson was the voice of Zazu.
I didn’t even know this before writing this particular list, but it turns out that Mr. Bean himself was the voice of the Zazu. Looking back now, it was literally the perfect choice at the time.
What was your favorite Lion King moment? Let us know in the comments.