PHOTO: Everett Collection / Everett Collection
If you’re a ’90s kid, you’ve seen The Lion King at least 300 times. You can probably recite the entire script from start to finish, but for the three people who haven’t seen it, here’s a quick summary: A diabolical lion named Scar kills his royal brother, Mufasa, in order gain control of the Pride Lands, which causes Mufasa’s son (Simba) to run away. While stranded in the middle of nowhere, Simba meets a friendly meerkat (Timone) and warthog (Pumbaa), who help him get his stride back. After years of confidence-building, Simba returns to the Pride Lands to battle Scar and reclaim his father’s title. It’s standard, Disney tearjerker stuff—and we love it.
But we’ve all been getting a fundamental component of The Lion King wrong for two decades. As it turns out, Mufasa and Scar aren’t brothers—not by blood, at least. The sleuths over at HelloGiggles found this out after interviewing the 1994 film’s director (Rob Minkoff) and producer (Don Hahn).
“[While making the movie] we talked about the fact that it was very likely [Scar and Mufasa] would not have both the same parents,” Hahn said. “The way lions operate in the wild…when the male lion gets old, another rogue lion comes and kills the head of the pride. What that does is it causes the female lions to go into heat [to reproduce], and then the new younger lion kills the king and then he kills all the babies. Now he’s the new lion that’s running the pride.”
So, in other words, Scar was just a strange lion who sensed Mufasa was getting old, so he swooped in and killed him. Harsh, right? (Actually, maybe this isn’t as harsh as your own brother murdering you.)
“There was always this thing about well, how do you have these two [male] lions?” Hahn continued. “Occasionally there are prides that do have two male lions, in an interesting dynamic because they’re not equals [since they don’t have the same parents]. One lion will always kind of be off in the shadows. We were trying to use those animal truths to underpin the story so we sort of figured Scar and Mufasa couldn’t really be from the same gene pool.”
If you pay close attention to the movie, Scar actually confirms he and Mufasa aren’t birth brothers—but it’s subtle. “I’m from the shallow end of the gene pool,” he says at one point.
Mind blown, right? What bombshell are you going to drop next, Disney? That Elsa and Anna aren’t sisters?! I feel bad for even putting that in the universe.