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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Lion King can be found here.
The Lion King is an animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and its story was written by numerous Disney storywriters, with its screenplay written prominently by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. They confirmed that the story was influenced by the Shakespearean plays Hamlet and Richard III, the Biblical stories of Moses and Joseph, as well as by Disney classic Bambi (1942).
In the real lion world, male lions can have dark manes, some of them even turning black, due to age or genetics. However, Scar was Mufasa's younger brother, and Mufasa doesn't have a darker mane so most viewers conclude that Scar was given a black mane so as to distinguish him as the evil lion, rather like the bad cowboy always wearing a black hat. In actuality, Scar and Mufasa were not originally designed to be related. In early drafts of the script, Scar was a rogue lion and not Mufasa's brother. They look different because their relation was added later but their original designs were kept.
Male lions maintain a pride of female lions, young males, and cubs. When the young males reach adulthood, they are chased out of the pride by the adult males. In each pride, it is the females who do the hunting, and they usually stay with their birth prides their whole lives. It is not uncommon for two males (who may or may not be related) to protect a pride. Some prides even have three or more males, in which case the males are almost always related or grew up together. Male lions without lionesses often form "bachelor prides" of about 3 to 5 members and attempt to win lionesses from other males. In a real lion pride, Mufasa and Scar likely would have ruled equally.
With help from Rafiki, Simba sees Mufasa in a vision. Mufasa convinces Simba to return to Pride Rock and take his place in the circle of life. Simba finds that the land is as Nala described it—barren and black, thanks to Scar having turned it over to the hyenas. While Timon and Pumbaa distract the hyenas, Simba and Nala sneak past. Simba locates Scar and, while watching from behind a rock, Simba sees Scar reprimanding Sarabi for not bringing back any food. Angered when Scar slaps Sarabi, Simba orders Scar to step down, but Scar makes Simba reveal his role in causing Mufasa's death. Scar backs Simba against the cliff edge until Simba is hanging with only his front paws keeping him from falling into a fire that has been started below from a strike of lightning. Scar then boasts about how he did the same thing to Mufasa, causing him to fall to his death. Simba rallies his strength and leaps on Scar. The hyenas leap on Simba while the lionesses, led by Nala and Sarabi, leap on Scar. An all-out fight between lions and hyenas breaks out, resulting in Simba and Scar at each others' throats. The hyenas overhear Scar telling Simba that it was all the fault of the hyenas, so they turn on Scar, killing him. As rain starts to put out the fire, Simba hugs Rafiki and climbs to the top of Pride Rock where he lets out a loud roar. In the final scene, lushness has returned to the land and the herds have come back. Simba and Nala nuzzle each other, and Rafiki presents them with their new lion cub.
The Morning Report is a song that was featured in the Broadway version of The Lion King but not included in the movie. It describes the life in the pride lands for Simba and Mufasa. The song appears on the special edition version, and it is written by the original songwriters, Sir Elton John and Tim Rice. As of June 27th 2010, The Morning Report was completely removed from the Broadway musical.
In the scene where Simba and his father go to the grassland and Zazu flies to them to tell them his morning report, additional footage with music was added. Since it was not possible to integrate the footage into the scene seamlessly some changes had to be made. The Special Edition runs approximately 43 seconds longer than the theatrical version. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.
Several, actually. Probably the biggest difference is that the character of Rafiki is changed to a female in the Broadway version. This is because the producers felt there weren't any truly strong female characters in the film. In the musical, most of the scenes are extended and new songs are added. For instance, young Simba and Nala running from the Hyenas is extended, with a new song called "Chow Down" inserted. Additionally, many of the songs from the film are reprised throughout the musical, including Be Prepared. Additionally, the Broadway version has entirely new scenes that never even took place in the film. Amongst these are a scene between Zazu and Mufasa, which implies Zazu was the majordomo to the previous king (Mufasa's father) and that young Mufasa ran off and got into trouble all the time, much like young Simba—a scene also featuring a humorous moment of Mufasa joking about firing Zazu. Another scene later on involves Scar trying to make Nala his queen, in an effort to gain more respect from the tribe. Some things are changed based on where the play is going on. For instance, when the play is shown in Vegas, Zazu sings an excerpt from "Viva Las Vegas" while locked in Scar's cage (whereas he sang "It's A Small World" in the original film).
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