The Lion King: 10 Things You Never Knew About Scar

Scar is among Disney's most beloved villains. Here are 10 lesser-known facts about The Lion King's charismatic antagonist.

Life's not fair, is it? At least it's not for this mangy feline. The Lion King's Scar is one of Disney's most beloved and recognizable villains. With his luxurious black mane, sinister smile, and titular facial feature, he wears his villainous title like a crown and isn't afraid to show his claws.

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For an animated lion, Scar has a resume that would make most villains envious. He murdered his brother, manipulated his nephew, took over an entire kingdom, and had all his subjects under his claw. Today, we're going to pay respects to our favorite mad monarch by exploring a little bit of his background. So be prepared as we look at 10 things about Scar.

10 A Familiar Face

Jeremy Irons in Dungeons and Dragons

We've mentioned Jeremy Irons's performance as Scar many times, but we've got to give credit where credit is due. Irons brings his classical training and signature brand of evil delight to the role, but for the Disney animators, he did way more than that.

Like so many Disney voice actors before him, his appearance and expressions carried over into the style and design for his character. The dark eyes, the hollow features, and even the beard Irons had at the time made it into Scar. How does that phrase about art imitating life go again?

9 With a Little Help From His Friends

Hyenas in The Lion King

We've bragged about Jeremy Irons's acting skills in the role, but what about his more musical abilities? "Be Prepared" is not just a villain song, it's Scar's anthem. So it makes sense that Irons could deliver on performing his big number too, right? Well... half right.

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Though Irons carried the song perfectly well, he couldn't hit that last verse. So, what did Disney do? They asked actor Jim Cummings, who played Ed in the film, to fill in and finish the song. The result is almost entirely unnoticeable, but one worth searching for in your next rewatch.

8 A Reasonable Redesign

When the live-action remake of The Lion King was announced, the response was more than divided. One reason was the redesigns of some of the characters, Scar included. But there's valid reasoning behind the direction the filmmakers took.

The animated Scar has a black mane and almost caramel-colored orange fur. Naturally, a real-life lion of this coloration would not exist. The black mane, however, would exist, just not on Scar. Darker manes are a sign of a healthy, active, and happier lion, definitely not Scar material. Favreau's redesign brings Scar to life with more natural and stylized features.

7 Brotherly Beatdown

Say what you want about the remake, but you can't deny there's a little more turmoil in Scar and Mufasa's relationship with the 2019 update. It's somewhat subtle, but its quite possible that Mufasa is the one responsible for Scar's namesake. That doesn't exactly paint our favorite lion dad in the best light.

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Think about it, Scar outright says he wouldn't dream of challenging Mufasa AGAIN. Which implies that he earned his scar by fighting his brother. That also implies that Mufasa is the one who sacked him with the name Scar. Does that mean Mufasa is responsible for creating his own villain? You decide.

6 A Tragic Backstory

On the subject of scars and backstories, Disney developed Scar's character in a set of children's books serving as prequels to the original film. Mufasa's brother, Taka, was jealous and resentful of his brother. So, he hatched a plot involving an angry water buffalo and Mufasa's humiliation.

Obviously, the idea did not go according to plan, resulting in Taka getting hurt and walking away with a familiar facial feature. He assumed the moniker, Scar, as a reminder of his failure. It should also be noted that his original name comes from the Swahili term which means to wish or to want. Because he desires what his brother has.

5 Tyger Tyger

Though the final product was heavily inspired by Jeremy Irons, original concepts for Scar came from another famous Disney villain. Seeing how The Jungle Book was another Disney film involving a cast of talking animals, the animators took a few cues from the 1967 film. Scar's cue, however, was more of a reskin.

In concept art done by Chris Sanders, creator of Lilo & Stitch, there are obvious influences from Shere Khan in some of Scar's earlier designs. That smile, pronounced chin, and whiskers make him look like Sher Khan with a paint job. All he's missing are a set of Beatles-inspired buzzards.

4 The Art Of Villainy

Scar in Disney's The Lion King

When casting the role of Scar, Disney wanted a very Shakespearean actor for the part. Of course, Irons was the natural fit due to his training on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company, but he was not the first choice. In fact, Irons was originally reluctant to play the part.

Seeing that the film was partially inspired by Hamlet, it would make sense to cast an actor with Shakespearean vibes. Aside from Irons, two other names were thrown in the ring. Malcolm McDowell and Tim Curry were considered for the role, but after seeing his test footage, Irons was swayed to be Scar and the rest is history.

3 O' Brother, Where Art Thou

Mufasa from The Lion King

In some original drafts of the story, Scar went from being a rabid alpha male baboon to a rogue lion who murdered Mufasa for dominance. The rogue storyline was deemed too dark for the final project, but the filmmakers didn't exactly choose a lighter alternative. To create more humanistic drama, they turned Mufasa and Scar into brothers.

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Originally, Scar, a deformed and burly rogue lion, would have torn Mufasa to shreds and asserted his dominance over the Pridelands, with help from his baboon henchmen of course. The family relationship was introduced to heighten the tension, and show that even those we know and trust can have a twisted agenda.

2 Shady Scenes

When Nala appears at Timon and Pumbaa's oasis, she mentions to Simba she left looking for help, but that wasn't always the case. In a deleted scene, it is shown that Scar banished Nala after she rejected his advances on her to become his queen. Remember, highly successful Disney film, here.

Not only is the scene toeing the line of PG-13 material, but Irons reading of the storyboarded scenes is spine-tinglingly unsettling. His reprisal of "Be Prepared" is a sinister seduction attempt that really freaks us out. It ended up being changed for the broadway show as "The Madness of King Scar."

1 Long Live the King

Scar is one of the few Disney villains whose plans actually follows through. Not only does Scar become king of the Pride Lands, but he also takes out one of the leads. Can Captain Hook or Cruella de Vil say the same?

Scar doesn't go into a monologue, doesn't taunt, or give a maniacal laugh (he already had an entire song to do that). He just does the job with a cold one-liner. If he'd just pounced on Simba himself instead of sending his trio of giggling goons, he would have won the movie. If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.

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