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Scar was originally supposed to raise Simba himself in The Lion King. The iconic Disney animated movie released in 1994 to critical acclaim and overwhelming commercial success. The film nabbed two Academy Awards – for Best Original Score and Best Original Song – and grossed an astonishing $968.4 million at the worldwide box office, thus becoming the second highest-grossing film at the time (unadjusted for ticket price inflation), behind only Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Jurassic Park , which released the year prior.
For those that don’t know (or perhaps don’t remember), Simba’s father, Mufasa, was murdered by his villainous brother, Scar, in The Lion King . Scar had brought Simba into an empty gorge and had his hyenas lure a herd of wildebeest toward Simba in order to kill him. Scar had then informed Mufasa that Simba was in danger with the hopes that the herd would also, presumably, kill the king. Instead, Mufasa managed to save Simba, only for Scar to betray his brother and send him falling into the gorge. Soon thereafter, Simba had fled the kingdom after the hyenas’ failed attempt to kill him, but it turns out, that wasn’t the original plan for the movie.
MTV News has obtained a clip of a conversation between actors Matthew Broderick (Simba) and Nathan Lane (Timon), and Disney Theatrical President Tom Schumacher, who oversaw production on The Lion King . The clip was originally supposed to be included in The Lion King‘s Walt Disney Signature Collection release later this month but had ended up being cut. In the clip, Schumacher explained that Scar was originally going to raise Simba as his own following Mufasa’s death:
“We cast you [Matthew Broderick] because of Ferris Bueller [from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off] because the character was supposed to be a goof-off. And the whole idea was Simba didn’t run off with Timon and Pumba. Scar was going to kill Simba at the same time he kills Mufasa. He’s holding Simba in his mouth and is about to break his neck, and everyone comes in and says, ‘Oh my gosh, you saved him from the stampede.’ And the idea was that you were going to grow up with Scar and be the goof-off kid. It was all supposed to be this throw off, kind of Ferris Bueller, goofin’ around, delightful scam. And the story got rewritten, but we cast you as that, and then you became the heroic lead.”
The decision to rewrite the story must have been made very early on because Broderick said that he never knew that was the original story. Besides the obvious revelation, what’s interesting is that Schumacher says they cast Broderick to essentially play another version of his classic Ferris Bueller role, not as the heroic character Simba ended up becoming. If Schumacher and Disney had decided to rewrite the story prior to casting Broderick, it stands to reason that the actor possibly wouldn’t have landed the now-iconic role.
Considering how beloved the animated movie has since become, Disney ultimately made the right decision, and they’re hoping to recapture some of that magic with Jon Favreau’s upcoming 2019 CGI remake – starring Donald Glover as Simba and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar , with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa.