Top 10 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About The Lion King

The Lion King is a movie that makes you question your relationship with your father and introduced everyone to destiny. The 2019 American musical drama film provides a festive feel to the audience. The Lion King has a soul to it, so it is one of the successful remakes by Disney after The Jungle Book. The film has grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide despite not being advertised as an animated film. The Lion King surpassed Frozen to become the highest-grossing animated film of all time. 

Hello Everyone! Let’s look at the Top 10 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About The Lion King. 

The king of the jungle on a sunset
Lion in a sunset

10. Inspiration from Kenya 

There is a lot of in-depth information about the jungles in the Lion King. The minute details in the story were mind-blowing. 

What struck your mind first when you saw that movie? 

Disney sent its animators to Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya to do research for the movie.  

The director says, “It was great to get a feel for the scene, the animals, and the country’s flowers through their photos and drawings.” 

9. King of the Jungle

The King Of The Jungle was the first title that was given to The Lion King. The film had gone through different titles before it was created.  

The producer Don Hahn says, “When I first began to work on The Lion King, the movie was called the King Of The Jungle. King Of The Jungle was a comparison of this symbolic story about human behavior. We were recollecting about the concept of how it’s a jungle out there. Simba has to survive in this jungle. However, there was no forest in our story. They’re out on a savannah. But then we started that out because we needed to concentrate on a simple story about a lion king. At that step, we thought, ‘Why not call it The Lion King?'” 

8. Circle of Life 

The film opening scene was featured with the dialogue for all the main characters of the story. The director’s Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, abandoned it when they discovered the ‘Circle of Life’ final version.  

The Circle of Life is one of the best parts of the trailers. It marked the first time Disney had ever used the trailer using a complete film scene. There are no cuts and shots in the film. 

Wasn’t it fun watching the trailer? 

7. The Hyenas 

Who doesn’t love the sync between Timon and Pumbaa’s voice? 

Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, who voiced Timon and Pumbaa, have actually auditioned for the hyenas in the movie.  

The director Rob Minkoff says, “Both Nathan and Ernie came to an audition in New York. They bumped into each other in the lobby, that is when they discovered they were both auditioning for hyenas’ roles. They asked the casting director if they could audition together. Nathan and Ernie were hilarious as they read their lines. Still, they didn’t seem right for the hyenas. That’s when we thought, ‘What if we use them as Timon and Pumbaa?’ It was the perfect fit.” 

Actually, they were the best fit for Timon and Pumbaa. 

6. Hakuna Matata 

Who doesn’t love the song Hakuna Matata? Especially even if you don’t understand the meaning. The song has a punch to it! 

When the original script for the Lion King was prepared, Hakuna Matata was not there in it. A song called “He’s Got it All Worked Out” was about eating bugs in the jungle.  

So it was unusual to make a song on the bugs, so the crew had to change the plan entirely. 

The director says, “Soon after, the inquiry team came back from their trip to Africa with the expression ‘Hakuna Matata.’ There was a talk about it at a conference with Tim Rice when the idea hit. Tim started saying, ‘Hmmm… Hakuna Matata. It’s a bit like Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.’ A song was produced!” 

5. Highest Growing Hand-drawn Film 

The Lion King is the highest-grossing hand-drawn film of all time. The film was broken all the previous records of Disney and even surpassed Frozen. 

That’s how hit the movie was! But, which one is the best according to you? 

The animated film also made a total box office grossing of over $986 million. It is the eighth highest-grossing animated feature and the 42nd highest-grossing film of all time. The Lion King also has the best selling videotape of all time. 

A lion in a night capture
The Lion King by night

4. Animal Movement 

To clearly understand all the animal movements and the body language, Wildlife expert Jim Fowler, bought real-life animals to the studio. Jim bought hornbills and lions so that they can work as models for the animators.  

Imagine drawing the animals by seeing them, watching their movements? 

Jim also taught the greeting styles and body posture of each animal. For instance, lions rub their heads to greet each other, and for romance or to show affection, they lick the chin or rub the cheek against theirs. 

That’s some in-depth research about each animal. 

3. Swahili Words 

When we hear the animals’ names, we feel like the director came up with such different words for each character. 

The names Simba, Sarabi, Rafiki, and Pumbaa, are actually Swahili words. The names mean lion, mirage, friend, and foolish. 

So apt for their characters, isn’t it? 

The director made sure that the names mean what the characters are portraying, like Simba means lion, which is perfect for his righteousness. Pumbaa suggests foolish, which is again who he is in this film. 

2. Constellation 

Have you tried to figure out the constellation that appears when Simba and Mufasa talk to each other? 

The constellation is that of the Leo! The father teaches the son about how to be a great king. 

Behind them, the sky shows the perfect example of it! The Leo! 

Which means the lion.  

The constellation is the perfect example to show the movie’s importance and tell the audience what the film is all about. 

There are more hidden factors about the movie that didn’t make it’s way to the top 10. 

Rowan Atkinson 

Rowan was the voice behind Zazu! Zazu was the one who sings the song “it’s a small world.” But actually, Rowan doesn’t know the lyrics of the song.  

Do you know the lyrics of the song? 

When Disney gave him the lyrics, he was actually hesitant. Still, Atkinson even had to learn and practice the songs for the scene when Zazu choirs for Scar. He did pick them up quickly and with a flow. 

Pride Song 

Remember the song sung by Scar when he was hailed the King? 

The song was actually an evil plotting song and was made to come later in the film.  

However, the director thought that it suited that part the most. He also gave yellow lighting to the set to provide it with an old newsroom look.  

Did you love that song? 

Now with the number one of the list. 

1. Three Years for a Scene 

Remember the scene where the tens of thousands of wildebeests run? 

The stampede actually took three years to complete. 

The scene lasts only for six minutes in the story. However, the entire sequence was stressful. The CG department tried to do the scene using old technology. 

However, they didn’t like it. So the entire team tried to create a new technology for the movie. The technology was designed so that none of the wildebeests don’t run over each other. Such a stressful work it is! 

With so many characters and plotlines, why do you love the Lion King? Share your thoughts in the comments below.