There Are Some Very Recognizable Voices Behind The Hyenas In The New 'Lion King'

by Casey Suglia

The 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King is filled with a star-studded cast voicing the life-like animals. The outstanding ensemble might be hard to distinguish when they're voicing their animal versions, which might have some audience members wondering things like who voices the hyenas in The Lion King.

Every epic villain needs a loyal sidekick willing to do anything for them, and the hyenas serve this role well in The Lion King. Throughout the film, Simba's enemy (and uncle), Scar, relies on the hyenas to help carry out his evil plans and do whatever he says — until they turn on him. These scenes with Scar and the hyenas are pretty dark, if not a little different from the original animated film, according to NPR, and the hyenas certainly help contribute to this. In this newly updated version of The Lion King, the hyenas are seen as a "dangerous force in conflict with the rest of the population", according to Forbes, and the actors that play them definitely make this possible.

The trio of the vicious hyenas are played by three notable actors: comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Eric André and actress Florence Kasumba.

Key, who plays the hyena named Kamari, is most notable for having his own sketch comedy show on Comedy Central from 2012 to 2015 with his friend, Jordan Peele, called Key & Peele, but also voiced Ducky in Toy Story 4. André, who voices Azizi, is the star of Adult Swim's The Eric André Show, where he interviews celebrities and tells jokes. And audience members might recognize Kasumba, who voices Shenzi, from her role in Black Panther and The Avengers: Infinity War as the character, Ayo. Since The Lion King has such a star-studded cast, it only makes sense that everyone, even the chorus of hyenas, would be major stars, too.

Key told USA Today that he and his fellow hyenas had some creative liberty in their role, putting their own hilarious spin on the characters that originated in the 1994 film. "The fact that the bones were there but we were allowed to put in the drywall and the electricity and the plumbing was great," Key told USA Today. "We were given a lot of license to do what we wanted, and I think that we got to develop a little more nuanced relationship than you saw in the original film."

Instead of them being so goofy and so loyal to Scar, viewers will get to know the hyenas a bit better in this new film.

Key also told USA Today that these hyenas are less like the caricature version of hyenas and are much more realistic, which makes sense since the actors are lending their voice to extremely real looking hyenas in the film. "They were pure, and I thought they were necessary, comic relief in the original version," he told the news outlet. "In this version, I feel like we got to step into another territory simultaneously."

Disney fans surely can't wait to see the hyenas and the rest of the talented Lion King crew in the new remake.