The Lion King

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The Lion King
1996 VHS cover for the original 1994 film.
Created byWalt Disney Feature Animation
Roger Allers
Rob Minkoff
Original workThe Lion King (1994)
Owner(s)The Walt Disney Company logo.png
Print publications
Book(s)The Lion King: Six New Adventures
Films and television
Film(s)The Lion King (traditionally animated; 1994)
The Lion King (computer animated; 2019)
Short film(s)Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable (1995)
Animated seriesThe Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa (1995–1999)
The Lion Guard (2016–present)
Direct-to-videoThe Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998)
The Lion King 1½ (2004)
Theatrical presentations
Play(s)The Legend of the Lion King (1994)
Musical(s)The Lion King (1997)
Festival of the Lion King (1998)

The Lion King is an animated film that was released by Disney in 1994. It is also the name of a media franchise that grew out of the film. It is popular in the furry community and is reported by some as their first introduction to the fandom,[citation needed] especially since it was released right at the beginning of widespread public use of the Internet.

Many participate in The Lion King MUCK or on one of the other large number of multiplayer worlds inspired by The Lion King. In 2001, there were "about 10 or 12 TLK mucks out there, some doing better than others. There are about 40 or so private TLK RPG's out there (non forum) that are invite only. There are 40 or 50 or so forums".[1]

The Lion King is the third movie ever produced by Disney to feature a cast formed entirely of talking animals, after Bambi and Robin Hood.

The 1994 film is part of a film series consisting of three traditionally animated films:

  • The Lion King, released in 1994
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride or The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, released as a direct to video film in 1998 in North America.
  • The Lion King 1½ (The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata in Europe), released as a direct to video film in 2004.

A photorealistic CGI remake of the original 1994 film was theatrically released in 2019.

Plot summary[edit]

The movie centers on a pride of lions living around the area of Pride Rock, a fertile region providing enough to sustain the pride and other inhabitants. Mufasa is their wise leader, and when his mate Sarabi gives birth to Simba there is much rejoicing - except with his brother, Scar, who decides that in order to control the pride he must eliminate both Simba and his father.

Through a series of unfortunate events, Scar manages to eliminate his brother and make it look to Simba as if he is responsible for the death. Wracked by guilt, Simba leaves the pride in Scar's control. However, he later returns with his friend Nala to cast his uncle out and reclaim his rightful place as leader.

During Scar's reign, the land became barren, due to either mismanagement or other untold environmental issues. This might also be a form of the old myth of the intimate relationship between the King and the Land: the virtue of the King is reflected in the health of the land.


Stop hand.png The factual accuracy of this section is disputed. (discuss)

There were a few points of controversy with the first movie:

  • In one scene, Simba flops down into the grass and stirs up some pollen. The pollen hovers in the air for a moment and appears to make a word in the sky before drifting off. Many people claimed they saw 'SEX' as the word, however, Disney claims the word is 'SFX' as in 'Special Effects'. While the scene was not modified in the VHS release of the movie, the DVD release has the word darkened out and hardly visible at all, as well in Disney+, as they completely censored it all together.
  • There are many recorded similarities between the movie and the Japanese anime series called Kimba the White Lion. Originally, The Lion King was to be called King of the Jungle and was to include a white lion as the lead. There are many allegedly parallels in characters and story points between the two movies that did make it into the final production. As well, as indeed of have one concept art, have a proto-Simba as a white cub, which some people thought, must've been a tribute to Kimba. This page goes deeper into the similarities between the two movies, including images of the two. However, over the years, after the original film released or the 'controversy' happened, it was concluded by some Disney historians, YouTubers like Yesterworld Entertainment[2], or websites like TvTropes[3] to be a coincidence (or indirectly inspired of the latter), of these two mediums to just happen of they share the kid-friendly African wildlife tropes as an example to disprove it.

Usage of African languages[edit]

Although many people believe that the movie takes its inspiration entirely from the Swahili language, all of the songs in the film are written in Zulu (while both are Bantu languages and therefore related[4][5], they are not mutually intelligible). It should be noted, though, that many of the names and phrases in The Lion King are words in Swahili, although other non-African words are used. The most popular of these examples is the phrase Hakuna Matata (lit. "there are no worries").

Characters with Swahili names include:

Stage production[edit]

The Lion King musical stage show is an adapation of The Lion King movie. The stage show uses a combination of masks, puppetry and models to depict the animal characters. All of the costumes are designed to allow the human actors' faces to be seen as well as their animal personas, creating a deliberate duality. The show has been enormously successful, both on Broadway and in London's West End.

The Lion King currently plays at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway and the Lyceum Theatre in the West End.

Several new songs (many in Zulu) were added for the Broadway production.

Impact on furry fandom[edit]

The film played a formative role in the development of the furry fandom's Internet presence. The Lion King Fan-Art Archive and The Lion King MUCK were both established in 1995 by Joshua C. Templin and Brian Tiemann and indirectly attracted untold numbers of Internet users to the concept of furry and anthropomorphic media. This occurred at the time when the World Wide Web was still considered to be an especially young platform for communication over the Internet, and a few other anthropomorphic media hosts were established in the same year to accommodate newer furry fans across wider distances, extending the furry presence on the Internet.

Multiple other Lion King MUCKs were established over the next 15 years, and other franchise-themed fan-operated roleplaying destinations were established soon after TLK MUCK.

TV series[edit]

The franchise has received two TV series. The first one, The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa, aired from 1995 to 1999, focusing on the adventures of the meerkat and warthog. The other characters only appear in cameos, however. The second series, The Lion Guard, aired from 2016 to 2019. This series focuses on the previously unseen son of Simba and Nala, Kion, the younger brother of Kiara, as he leads a team of animals who protect the Pride Lands and defend the Circle of Life. This series takes place during the time gap within The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, except for the final two episodes of the show, which serve as a continuation to that film.


  1. The REASON Muck talk isn't liked by a lot of furs here.. August 12, 2001 post by Magnwa to TLK-L. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
  2. The Lion King Lie - Did Disney Steal the Lion King? (Simba vs Kimba The White Lion Controversy) on YouTube
  3. Popular Culture Urban Legends - Animated Films on
  4. Zulu on
  5. Swahili on

See also[edit]

External links[edit]