The Lion King Has an Alternate Ending, And It’s Lowkey Horrifying

The Lion King Has an Alternate Ending, And It’s Lowkey Horrifying
Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

It could be the most dramatic animation for children out there.

The Lion King is a bright, emotional, heartfelt animated film from the Disney studio that more than one generation has grown up with. It introduces children and adults to Simba, a young lion cub born to Mufasa, the king of the jungle.

The baby runs away from the pride after the tragic death of his father. During his travels, Simba makes new friends and finds true love.

At the end of the day, The Lion King is an animated film for children that has a happy ending, and it's hard to imagine a different finale. However, it turned out that Disney originally came up with an alternate ending that was extremely cruel. This is clearly not something that you would want to show to your kids, and here's why.

In the ending, which remained in the final cut, there’s a fight between Simba and Scar. The main character defeats his uncle, but does not kill him. Simba's decision is noble, but Scar still dies – torn apart by his own hyena servants. It's cruel, but the original ending could have been even more dramatic.

The Lion King Has an Alternate Ending, And It’s Lowkey Horrifying - image 1

Many people know that The Lion King, no matter how kind and childlike it seems, is inextricably linked to one of the most dramatic plays in history – William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

In both cases, the good king is killed by his evil brother, who soon becomes king in his place. The sons, Hamlet and Simba, see their fathers appearing as ghosts and telling them that they must become the rightful rulers of their kingdoms.

The creators of The Lion King originally wanted the ending to channel the Shakespearean passions. Scar had to win the final battle – he threw Simba over the cliff and said, "Goodnight, sweet prince," which is a direct reference to Hamlet.

Scar himself did not survive – after throwing Simba off the cliff, he failed to notice the fire that eventually engulfed him, and the lion was burned alive.

Well, a finale like that feels more like a dark fairy tale that could have been made by someone like Guillermo Del Toro or Tim Burton.