1. The movie was originally titled King of the Jungle. Disney changed the name when they realized that lions don’t live in the jungle.
2. The original opening to the
film was supposed to be a dialogue-heavy scene. 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
3. James Earl Jones (Mufasa) and Madge Sinclair (Sarabi) were also the king and queen in Coming to America.
4. Disney originally wanted Sean Connery to voice Mufasa.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Reportedly, the “Be Prepared” scene was inspired by footage of Nazis marching by Adolf Hitler on a podium.
8. Lion King and Pocahontas were in production at the same time. Disney believed that Pocahontaswould be the more prestigious and successful of the two films.
9. Originally, producers intended to have “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” be a comical duet between Timon and Pumbaa.
10. “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.
11. Pumbaa is the first Disney character to ever fart.
12. It took approximately three years to animate the two-and-a-half-minute wildebeest stampede scene.
13. In early script drafts, Scar
was not related to Mufasa. However, the writers thought making the two
related would be more interesting.
14. “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.
15. The movie’s plot is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
16. Mufasa was originally not supposed to appear after his death.
17. 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.
18. Although Matthew Broderick is a singer, he does not sing “Hakuna Matata” or “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
19. The Lion King is the best-selling home video of all time, with over 55 million copies sold.
20. With over 10 million copies sold, it is also the biggest-selling soundtrack ever for an animated film.