Movie Crush Mondays: The Lion King Turns 25 & Here Are 7 Facts You Didn't Know About The Movie!

The Lion King 2019 movie poster
Photo Credit: Disney Movies

The live action version of Disney's The Lion King is set to release in theaters on July 19th but today, marks the 25th anniversary of the original animated version.

The movie itself grossed $8.1 billion worldwide making it one of the most successful in it's genres.

Sure we love the songs and know all about how Simba became the rightful king of Pride Rock again. But did you know these 7 facts about the film?

Ready? Here we go.

1. The original scripts had a ton of characters and a scrapped scene of Simba being thrown off a cliff.

The earlier drafts of the script had Simba being thrown off a cliff but surviving the fall just like his dad Mufasa did. Which would've been very poetic considering that's how he died but I like the idea of having Scar being eaten by his hyena "friends". Karma is real.

Also Nala was going to be a little a scandalous and fall for Scar's sexual advances causing her to be banished. Other things that were cut was a little brother for Nala, a python who was to be Scar's sidekick, a fox named Bhati, a sister for Sarabi, and a second meerkat.

2. Mufasa and Sarabi's voice actors were really royalty.

Well, sorta.

King and Queen of the pride lands Mufasa and Sarabi were voiced by James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair. Wonder why they sound so regal and work together so well? It's because the two also played the king and queen in Coming to America.

3. Disney didn't go with "The Lion King" as their first choice for the movie title.

It seems any other title for this would've been weird so let's be happy Disney opted for "The Lion King". But did you know they were going to with "King Of The Jungle" instead? They changed it because they realized lions didn't live in the jungle. Dursh.

4. The movie looked eerily similar to a famous Japanese cartoon.

Disney was dealing with controversy when The Lion King opened in Japan because of the similarities between Simba and the lead character from the 1960s Japanese animated TV series Kimba the White Lion, which was based off of a Manga comic called “Jungle Emperor Leo“ by animator Osamu Tezuka.

Tezuka was considered the "Disney" of Japan.

Disney denied any influence or knowledge of the Japanese cartoon with co-director Rob Minkoff even stating, “Frankly, I’m not familiar with [the TV series].” Petitions and protesters from animators and fans were sent to Disney asking them to acknowledge Kimba as being the inspiration behind the film. Plus Matthew Broderick (who voiced adult Simba) once revealed that he thought Disney was adapting Kimba when he first read the script.

5. Scar's "Be Prepared" scene was inspired by one of the most hated and vile men in world history.

The 'Be Prepared' scene was allegedly inspired by footage from Nazi Germany, comparing Scar to Adolf Hitler as he stood on the podium looking at his legions of followers. I hate Scar even more now.

6. Sean Connery or Liam Neeson could've been "Mufasa".

It's hard to imagine Mufasa's voice being anyone other than James Earl Jones since he natrually has a regal tone to his voice. But Disney was considering Liam Neeson and Sean Connery to voice the King. Other choices for different characters included Cheech and Chong, as Banzai and Shenzi. However, Tommy Chong couldn't do it so they went with Whoopi Goldberg instead. Patrick Stewart and the entire Monty Python cast were all considered to voice Zazu but Disney decided on Rowan Atkinson after seeing his voice acting skills on Mr. Bean.

7. And finally, could you imagine "The Lion King" without this song?!

My heart would've been broken if this song didn't make the cut. Elton John was the saving grace went it came to keeping 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' . It was originally nixed from the final version but Elton saw the movie a few weeks before the release and the song was added again. It went on to win an Oscar.


This scene is only two and a half minutes long but took over three years to create. Yes three years! So if you're wondering why animated films take so long to come out, now you know why -- it's a lot of work!

The live action version of The Lion King hits theaters July 19th. Enjoy this snippet of Beyonce (who will voice Nala) and Donald Glover's (who will voice Simba) version of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight". It will surely send chills up and down your spine!