While it might not be the "tale as old as time," Beauty and the Beast claims to be, The Lion King is still one of the most iconic Disney classics. The 1994 animated film has everything you could want in a Disney movie: music, family drama, the makings of a great catchphrase (Hakuna Matata, anyone?), and a plot inspired by one of Shakespeare's finest, Hamlet. Or, does it? As one of the most important pieces of investigative journalism of our time has pointed out, it's time you forget just about everything you know about The Lion King, because, as it turns out, Scar and Mufasa aren't really brothers as we all believed for more than a decade.
Yes, you read that right. Speaking to HelloGiggles, Rob Minkoff and Don Hahn, the director and producer of The Lion King dropped one serious bombshell: Scar and Mufasa, two of the movie's main characters, and the sources of the film's tension and emotional moments, aren't actually brothers. Well, in the typical way, that is.
Seeing as how The Lion King is about to be rereleased on Blu-ray and DVD on Aug. 29, Minkoff and Hahn's interview isn't surprising, although the plot twist they delivered certainly was. As HelloGiggles pointed out, "There aren’t really lion 'brothers' out there — and there’s a reason for that."
Considering the way the world actually works, Animal Planet style, Hahn told HelloGiggles:
[While making the movie] we talked about the fact that it was very likely [Scar and Mufasa] would not have both the same parents. The way lions operate in the wild…when the male lion gets old, another rogue lion comes and kills the head of the pride. What that does is it causes the female lions to go into heat [to reproduce], and then the new younger lion kills the king and then he kills all the babies. Now he’s the new lion that’s running the pride.
So, yeah. Not exactly the feel-good family film you remember, is it? Not that a movie about an evil lion killing a good lion in a power-coup was ever really all that light-hearted, but still. Hahn went on:
There was always this thing about well, how do you have these two [male] lions? Occasionally there are prides that do have two male lions, in an interesting dynamic because they’re not equals [since they don’t have the same parents]. One lion will always kind of be off in the shadows. We were trying to use those animal truths to underpin the story so we sort of figured Scar and Mufasa couldn’t really be from the same gene pool. In fact, that’s what [Scar] says. There’s a line, he goes, "I’m from the shallow end of the gene pool." When he’s talking to Mufasa, when Mufasa gets mad at him for not coming up to the coronation of Simba.
In case you weren't aware, African lions are actually the only cats that live in groups, making them highly unique. However, male lions tend to be pretty territorial, which explains Scar and Mufasa's strenuous relationship, as National Geographic explained. So, really, Hahn's explanation of Scar and Mufasa's non-brotherhood makes total sense. Usually, lion prides consist of no more than three adult males, so Scar and Mufasa obviously have been rivals for a while.
Of course, the fact that Scar and Mufasa aren't blood relatives doesn't make The Lion King any less iconic, and actually might mean you'll wanna settle on in with some popcorn and give the classic another go.