The Lion King is a beloved piece of Disney history as well as being a gargantuan hit, earning $968.4 million dollars worldwide to make it the third highest grossing animated movie of all time. But that all might have been different had Disney went with the original script that would have changed everything for Simba and altered the story. The new Disney signature Blu-ray release of the movie is shedding some light on just how different the original script was.
The Sun U.K. is reporting via the signature Blu-ray release of The Lion King, that the original script was much different than the one that we all know and love. We all know that Simba’s father, Mufasa, was killed by being pushed off of a cliff by his uncle Scar. Young Simba witnesses the murder and later runs away from the African plain where he becomes friends with Timon and Pumba. Producer Tom Schumacher spoke to Matthew Broderick, the voice of Simba, for the DVD release of The Lion King and Broderick brought up that he always thought that the story was loosely based off of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and was surprised to hear of the changes.
Schumacher tells Broderick that the movie was initially going to be called The King of the Jungle and that Rafiki was originally a cheetah. Those are completely minor changes when compared to how the story was originally written. As it turns out, Scar still killed Mufasa, but he was also going to kill Simba as well. After Scar pushed Mufasa off of the cliff he put Simba in his mouth to break his neck. Schumacher said, “The whole idea was that Simba didn’t run off with Timon and Pumbaa. Scar was going to kill Simba at the same time he kills Mufasa.”
As Scar has Simba in his mouth, a group of animals rolls up and thinks that Scar is actually saving Simba from the stampede below. All of the animals treat Scar like a hero, but he was actually just trying to kill off Mufasa and Simba. Simba in turn was supposed to be raised by his evil uncle Scar and grow up to be a Ferris Bueller-type of character. While talking to Broderick, Schumacher told him about the original outcome. The producer explains.
“And the idea was you (talking to Matthew Broderick) were gonna grow up with Scar and be the goof-off kid. And so it was all supposed to be this throw-off kind of Ferris Bueller, delightful scamp. And so we cast you as that and you became this heroic lead.”
It’s a good thing that Disney did not go with the original script for The Lion King because honestly, the original script sounds terrible when compared to what it became. Would The Lion King still be praised as a classic if the original source material had been used? Probably not. Jon Favreau might not be making the highly anticipated live-action remake of the movie right now had they used the original script, but we’ll never know for sure. Be sure to pick up the Disney signature edition of The Lion King digitally on August 15th, 2017 and on Blu-ray on August 29th.