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30 Mind-Blowing Things You NEVER Knew About ‘The Lion King’

You've probably watched The Lion King a few times, tearing up a little when Simba was raised up in the air and singing along to "Hakuna Matata."
But did you know that song was almost left out of the movie? And that Cheech and Chong were almost added in?
You have to keep on reading to find out just what we mean.
1. King of the Jungle
The movie was originally titled King of the Jungle.
Disney changed the name when they realized that, well,  lions don’t live in the jungle.
2. In the Beginning
The original opening to the film was supposed to be a dialogue-heavy scene.
But the producers and animators were so impressed with composer Hans Zimmer’s score for the “Circle of Life” that they decided to change the beginning to the now iconic opening.
3. Scar Speaks
Jeremy Irons was reluctant to lend his voice as Scar.
But when he saw the animation he fell in love with the character, and now you can’t imagine him sounding any other way.
4. Nope, Not NSFW
When Simba collapses on the cliff, it appears that the pollen that flies off the cliff forms the word “sex,” but it was actually “SFX,” the abbreviation for the special-effects team that worked on the film.
5. The Duet That Wasn't
Originally, producers intended to have “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” be a comical duet between Timon and Pumbaa.
It was storyboarded and even recorded.
6. Twice as Nice
James Earl Jones (Mufasa) and Madge Sinclair (Sarabi) were also the king and queen in Coming to America.
7. Connery, Sean Connery
Speaking of Mufasa, Disney originally wanted Sean Connery to do the voice for him.
8. The Timespan
The beginning of the movie takes place in two days — from when Simba wakes up his dad to when he runs away to never return happens in two days.
Scar really was prepared with his evil plot to rule the Pride Lands.
9. Family Friendly
Initially, the reason an adult Nala wandered so far from Pride Rock was supposed to be because Scar had banished her for ignoring his romantic advances.
This plot point was dropped, as it was considered improper for a family movie.
10. An Unlikely Success
Lion King and Pocahontas were in production at the same time.
And believe it or not, Disney believed that Pocahontas would be the more prestigious and successful of the two films.
11. What a Gas
Pumbaa is the first Disney character to ever fart.
Well, at least on screen.
12. To Be, Or Not To Be
That is the question.
And the answer is that the movie’s plot is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
13. Be Prepared
Reportedly, the Be Prepared scene was inspired by footage of Nazis marching by Adolf Hitler on a podium.
So that’s not creepy or anything.
14. To Be King
“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” was originally written as a song for Mufasa titled “To Be King.”
It was reworked after they discovered the song didn’t work with James Earl Jones’ singing voice.
15. Get In the Spirit
Mufasa was originally not supposed to appear after his death. The spirit scene was added after producers thought Simba needed a reason to go back to Pride Rock.
It was also the last scene created for the movie.
16. Coasting Along
Simba and Scar were animated on separate coasts of the U.S. Andreas Deja, Scar’s lead animator, was working from Florida.
Meanwhile Mark Henn, Simba’s lead animator, was working from California.
The team literally had to go back and forth to create some of our favorite scenes.
17. M-I-C-K-E-Y
One small yellow beetle that Timon finds under a log has Mickey ears on its back.
18. Family Ties
In early script drafts, Scar was not related to Mufasa. However, the writers thought making the two related would be more interesting.
19. That Sounds Familiar
“You have no idea” is the exact same line Jeremy Irons (who voices Scar) says in his Oscar-winning role as Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune.
20. A Twist of Fate
Nathan Lane (Timon) and Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa) auditioned to be hyenas.
We all know how well that worked out.
21. Stampede!
It took approximately three years to animate the two-and-a-half-minute wildebeest stampede scene.
The CG department had to create an entirely new program so the wildebeests wouldn’t pass through each other while they were running.
22. Simba Sings
Although Matthew Broderick — the voice of Simba — is a singer, he does not sing “Hakuna Matata” or “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
Joseph Williams, son of legendary film composer John Williams, provided the singing voice for Simba.
23. Thanks to Me
“Be Prepared” was going to be “Thanks to Me.”
The song was actually going to come later in the movie after Scar took over Pride Rock.
As the story developed, it made more sense to have an evil plotting song.
24. Smoking Hot
Disney originally wanted the hyenas, Banzai and Shenzi, to be voiced by Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong.
Unable to get a hold of Tommy, they instead casted Whoopi Goldberg in the role of Shenzi.
25. It's a Small World
Rowan Atkinson (Zazu) didn’t know the lyrics to “It’s a Small World,” proving that he wasn’t exactly a huge Disney fan.
Atkinson actually had to learn and practice the lyrics for the scene when Zazu sings for Scar.
Thankfully he picked them up quickly.
26. What's In a Name?
Simba, Sarabi, Rafiki, and Pumbaa are Swahili words.
They mean lion, mirage, friend, and foolish.
27. Star, Starry Night
The constellation Leo is in the night sky when Mufasa is talking to Simba.
See the “lion” connection?
28. Hakuna Matata!
“Hakuna Matata” wasn’t originally in the script. Instead, there was a song about eating bugs called “He’s Got it All Worked Out.”
According to director Rob Minkoff, “We couldn’t convince everybody that making the entire song about eating bugs was a good idea. Soon after, the research team came back from their trip to Africa with the phrase ‘Hakuna Matata’. We talked about it in a meeting with Tim Rice — and that’s when the idea struck. ‘It’s a bit like Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.’ A song was born!”
29. A Sellout
The Lion King is the best-selling home video of all time, with over 55 million copies sold.
On the first day alone, 4.5 million tapes were sold.
30. Sing Along
And with over 10 million copies sold, it is also the biggest-selling soundtrack ever for an animated film.
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