Many Disney fans remember Scar (Jeremy Irons) from 1994’s animated classic The Lion King as the villainous and treacherous brother of Mufasa (James Earl Jones), cementing his status as one of the most iconic animated villains of all time. While the villainous and treacherous part is definitely true, the brother part isn’t. It’s been confirmed by one of the film’s producers that Mufasa and Scar aren’t brothers, at least biologically speaking. In an interview with HelloGiggles, the producer, named Don Hahn, dropped this piece of info and quickly followed with an explanation:
“[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 explained. “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.”
Then why are there two male lions in the same lion pride? Hahn was quick to explain this also:
“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.”
This may come as a surprise to many fans of the beloved animated classic. This piece of info is actually referenced in a very subtle way by Scar in The Lion King, as confirmed by Hahn:
“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.”
Even though a Disney animated film, especially one with talking animals, doesn’t call for much logic, one of many great things about The Lion King was its accurate portrayal of the traditional real-life lion pride, which is made truer by Hahn’s statement. And its understandable that they left off the brutal and violent fact that a male lion kills all his brothers when he takes charge of the pride (we can all agree Mufasa getting stomped by hundreds of Wilda-beasts is enough brutality for a kids movie).
This also sheds new light into Scar’s motivation since it’s natural that with two lions on the same pride there would be a power struggle since they’re not equals, with the inferior deciding to take the place of king of the lion pride. That is pretty accurate to Scar’s relationship with Mufasa. And even if they were related, Hahn’s statement shows that blood-ties don’t stop lions from killing each other.
As for Disney fans, they’ll definitely be glad to add another interesting piece of trivia to their knowledge of Disney properties.
Written by: Miguel Coelho
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