13 things about The Lion King that you (probably) didn't know 1 year ago

13 things about The Lion King that you (probably) didn't know

The Lion King is one of those Disney movies we can watch again and again.

Even with that Mufasa scene, which reduces us to tears without fail every single time.

And with the live-action reimagining of The Lion King set to hit cinemas this week, we figured there's no better time to revisit the 1994 classic.

In particular, 13 things that you may not have known about The Lion King. 

1. It wasn't always going to be called The Lion King 

It was going to be called King of the Kalaharithen it was King of the Jungle/King of Beasts. But Disney changed it when it was pointed out that lions don't actually live in the jungle.

2. Sean Connery and Liam Neeson were originally in the running to voice Mufasa

This would have definitely changed things.

3. The wildebeest stampede took more than three years to animate

But in the final film, it lasts just a few minutes.

4. Pumbaa is the first Disney character to fart

...there's not much else we can say about that, to be honest.

5. Can You Feel The Love Tonight wasn't going to be in the final cut of the movie

But, thankfully, Elton John saw the movie a few weeks before its release and reportedly encouraged them to put the song back into the film.

6. And Hakuna Matata wasn't in the original script

Instead, there was a song about eating bugs called He's Got It All Worked Out. However, co-director Rob Minkoff admitted they had a bit of trouble it it as "we couldn't convince everybody that making the entire song about eating bugs was a good idea".

He added:

"Soon after, the research team came back from their trip to Africa with the phrase ‘Hakuna Matata'. We talked about it in a meeting with Tim Rice — and that’s when the idea struck. I remember Tim saying, ‘Hmmm… Hakuna Matata. It’s a bit like Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.’ A song was born!”

7. Disney's top animators were sent to work on Pocahontas because executives thought that would be the bigger hit

The Lion King was reportedly seen as a 'gap year', filler piece to give Disney fans a new film while the next big project was underway.

8. The voice actors behind Timon and Pumbaa originally auditioned for very, very different roles

Yes, that's right – Nathan Lane (Timon) and Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa) auditioned to play hyenas at first.

But they had so much chemistry when they auditioned that the filmmakers cast them as our favourite singing meerkat and warthog instead (thankfully).

9. The movie was originally going to end with Simba being thrown off a cliff

Apparently, it was in one of the earlier drafts of the script. And while he would have survived, we reckon this was way harsh.

10. I Just Can't Wait To Be King was originally meant to be a song for Mufasa

It was going to be called To Be King; but ended up being reworked after it was discovered it didn't work with James Earl Jones' singing voice.

11. Scar wasn't related to Mufasa in early versions of the script

But the writers thought it would make it more interesting if the two were related – and, yeah, that definitely makes sense.

12. Mufasa wasn't going to appear again after his death

It turns out that the producers wanted Simba to have a solid reason for returning to Pride Rock, and thought the ghost of his father could help.

13. It wasn't always going to be a musical

It's hard to imagine The Lion King without its iconic songs, but it turns out that when they were first coming up with the idea of the movie they were looking at more of a realistic, documentary-vibe.

Lyricist Tim Rice is said to have urged them to reconsider, which led to us having singing hornbills, hyenas and warthogs.