Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About ‘The Lion King’


The Lion King is perhaps one of those Disney movies that will mesmerize you and even make you cry, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. So, let’s get to know some unknown and surprising facts you had no clue about.

The Original Name

Strange to think of this movie with another name, right? But, did you know that this wasn’t the first choice, at all? In the beginning, the movie was calledThe King of the Kalahari and King of the Jungle. Since this didn’t sound catchy enough, they came up with the name The Lion King, which was the perfect choice.

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The Opening Scene

The opening scene of this movie is probably one of the most memorable scenes, if not the most memorable scene ever. But, did you know that at first, it was just a plain narration of the main characters? Up until, the producers heard one song that changed it all: “The Circle of Life”. This scene, after redoing it, was in fact so powerful, that it was used as the original trailer for the movie, which was also the first time that Disney had ever done that.

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Hakuna Matata

The iconic song “Hakuna Matata” wasn’t always named like that. Originally, it was called “Warthog Rhapsody”, but it didn’t take too long before it was scrapped and changed to “Hakuna Matata”. The aim of the filmmakers was to focus on the carefree life that Timon and Pumbaa enjoy, and it was perhaps one of the best decisions they made for this movie.

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Disney’s First Original Storyline

Pretty much all of the Disney movies until then had been retells of classic fairy tales, except for The Lion King. So, you can say that it was the first original storyline that the filmmakers came up with. But, there are some who debate this and argue that this movie has influences from both Shakespeare’s Hamlet and a Japanese cartoon called Kimba, the White Lion.

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Highest-grossing hand-drawn animated film of all time

What you perhaps didn’t know is that the Lion King is a hand-drawn film, that was actually drawn by people and not a single scene was done using CGI or 3D effects. The worldwide box office numbers showed that the movie had ranked in just under 1 billion dollars, which is pretty crazy, especially for a hand-drawn animated movie.

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Real Lions in the Studio

Did you know that during the making of this movie, there were actually real lions present in the studio? They were brought in so the animators could learn how they moved and interacted, in order to make the drawings as realistic as possible. It may sound crazy now, but back then, this was really a special move they made.

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Animators travelled to Kenya

Apart from the bizarre interaction with the lions in the actual studio, a handful of animators travelled to Kenya. They explained: “We would drive out to the savanna in open-topped vehicles to observe the animals – but there wasn’t much sketching because the animals were far too quick. Instead, we took loads of photographs.”

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Simba and Nala Are Related

This may have never been revealed in the movie, or even by the filmmakers, but it turns out that Simba and Nala are related. From what you can observe in the movie is that there are only two male lions: Scar and Mufasa. Doesn’t that sound a little suspicious to you? So, in the best-case scenario, this could mean that they are first cousins, but more likely they could be brother and sister.

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Hidden Mickey Mouse

In every Disney movie, if you look carefully, there are some previous characters hidden in some way. In the case of this movie, you can spot some Mickey Mouse heads in the backdrop. If you pay close attention to the scene where Timon and Pumbaa teach Simba how to catch some food, you may be able to spot those little heads!

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