While you might not have watched The Lion King recently, you can still recite the story off the top of your head: The current lion king is killed by his vengeful brother, this brother takes over and destroys all of the pride lands; meanwhile, the young son of the king runs off and becomes friends with a warthog and meerkat, before returning home to take his rightful place as king. You know how it goes. Same old.
And while the story of The Lion King isn’t changing anytime soon, we do need to amend one small fact about the 1994 movie: Mufasa and Scar were never actually brothers — at least, not by blood.
Ahead of The Lion King’s rerelease on Blu-ray and DVD on August 29th (it’s out on Digital HD right now), HelloGiggles sat down with Rob Minkoff and Don Hahn, the director and producer of the animated classic, respectively. Now that you’re older, and wiser, and understand what’s actually going on during the musical number, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” it’s time to take a closer look at Mufasa and Scar, and understand exactly how lions live out in the wild. There aren’t really lion “brothers” out there — and there’s a reason for that.
“[While making the movie] we talked about the fact that it was very likely [Scar and Mufasa] would not have both the same parents,” Hahn explains to HG. “The way lions operate in the wild…when the male lion gets old, another rogue lion comes and kills the head of the pride. What that does is it causes the female lions to go into heat [to reproduce], and then the new younger lion kills the king and then he kills all the babies. Now he’s the new lion that’s running the pride.”
Never thought about that while singing along to “Hakuna Matata” before, huh?
“There was always this thing about well, how do you have these two [male] lions?” Hahn continues. “Occasionally there are prides that do have two male lions, in an interesting dynamic because they’re not equals [since they don’t have the same parents]. One lion will always kind of be off in the shadows. We were trying to use those animal truths to underpin the story so we sort of figured Scar and Mufasa couldn’t really be from the same gene pool. In fact, that’s what [Scar] says. There’s a line, he goes, ‘I’m from the shallow end of the gene pool.’ When he’s talking to Mufasa, when Mufasa gets mad at him for not coming up to the coronation of Simba.”
And this also gives a good reason for Scar to have a huge chip on his shoulder — and be hungry for whatever he can get, even if it means he has to kill the king. Even though Mufasa calls him “brother,” and he’s very much part of the lion family, he — along with everyone else — knows that he doesn’t *really* belong there. He’s the lesser of the two male lions in the pack. And that causes him to go rogue, kill the king…and well, you know what happens next.
Update, 8/21/2017 — Disney reached out to HelloGiggles, to clear up the comments from Minkoff and Hahn: During the interview, we had a speculative conversation that has been misinterpreted and I wanted to confirm that they are indeed brothers.