via imdb.comAh, The Lion King. Arguably one of the best Disney films of all time, with its excellent soundtrack, iconic comic relief characters, and story of good triumphing over evil. Of course, the classic is not without its share of Disney darkness. Yes, I’m thinking of that little scene where the power-hungry Scar pushes his own brother, Mufasa, off the cliff, and he falls to his death in front of his son, Simba, who then runs away thinking it’s his own fault. Just that.
But that’s nothing compared to the ending that was originally planned for the film. We all know how the movie ends—Scar fights Simba on a burning Pride Rock, reveals that he was the one who killed Mufasa, and is defeated. Simba spares Scar’s life, but then Scar is attacked by his own hyenas, who are apparently fed up with being his servants. But, according to some recently released storyboards, Disney planned an ending where Scar wins. Scar successfully knocks Simba off of Pride Rock—but the darkness doesn’t end there. Convinced of his victory, Scar doesn’t notice the flames creeping up behind him…until, of course, they consume him.
The Lion King is based on Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, after all, and this ending certainly does a better job of capturing the, um, tragedy of the source material. In fact, in this version of the ending, Scar even says a line directly from Hamlet when Simba is defeated: “good night, sweet prince.” (We’re shuddering just thinking about it.) Needless to say, we’re pretty glad they went with the original ending, for the sake of all of our childhoods. We also doubt that this ending would have made for such a successful Broadway musical.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go listen to “Hakuna Matata” on repeat to recover from this one. (Did you know listening to Disney songs can teach you some pretty impressive words?) We can only hope the upcoming live-action remake of The Lion King won’t use this ending, either!