(Hakuna Matata) Here are thirteen thi-ings! What a wonderful phrase! Here are thirteen thi-ings! Ain’t no passin craze! It means more knowledge, for the rest of your days. It’s our Lion King, philosophy. Here are thirteen thi-ings!
13. A few weeks before the film opened, Elton John was given a special screening. Noticing that the film’s love song had been left out, he successfully lobbied Jeffrey Katzenberg to have the song put back in. Later, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
12. The team working on the film was supposedly Disney’s “team B,” who were “kept busy” while “team A” worked on Pocahontas, on which the production had much higher hopes. “The Lion King” became a huge critical and commercial success, whereas “Pocahontas” met with mixed reviews and a much lower box office.
11. The wildebeest stampede took Disney’s CG department approximately three years to animate. A new computer program had to be written for the stampede scene that allowed hundreds of computer generated animals to run but without colliding into each other.
10. In early drafts, Scar was a rogue lion with no relation to Mufasa. However, the story writers thought relating him to Mufasa would be more interesting, a threat within. This is why Scar and Mufasa differ so much; they weren’t originally designed to be related.
9. The animators were so impressed with Jeremy Irons’s performance that they worked Irons’ features into Scar’s face.
8. Besides inspirations from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the story also has elements of the Osirian family myths of Ancient Egyptian mythology.
7. Several character names are based on Swahili words: Simba – lion, Nala – gift, Sarabi – mirage, Rafiki – friend, Pumbaa – simpleton/weak-minded, and Shenzi – barbarous/uncouth/uncivilized/savage. Despite the fact that Zawadi is the Swahili word for gift, Nala’s name also means gift.
6. Jim Cummings (voice of Ed the Hyena) had to fill in for Jeremy Irons for the finale of “Be Prepared.” Irons threw out his voice after performing the line, “you won’t get a sniff without me!” The rest of his recording didn’t sound powerful enough.
5. HIDDEN MICKEY: One of the bugs that Timon pulls out of a knothole during Hakuna Matata is wearing Mickey Mouse ears. When Mufasa tells Simba about the Great Kings of the Past if you look at the stars in the wide shot you can see Mickey Mouse.
4. The best-selling home video of all time, with more than 55 million copies sold to date.
3. Veteran voice actor Frank Welker provided all the lion roars. Not a single recording of an actual lion roaring was used because the producers wanted specific sounding roars for each lion.
2. This was the highest grossing film of 1994 worldwide and the second highest in the U.S. behind Forrest Gump.
1. There is a lost verse of “Hakuna Matata” that was storyboarded which explained Timon’s situation. It was later used in The Lion King 1 and a 1/2, also known as The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata.