Though Jon Favreau’s live-action remake was certainly visually impressive, no attempt could ever outshine the majesty of the original Lion King. At one time, this film was the peak of Walt Disney’s animation achievements. With a beautiful art style, a grand scale and scope, and a timeless story, The Lion King was Disney’s crown jewel for years.
It’s been 25 years since the film premiered and we’re still talking about it, but upon further rewatching, we have some questions about a few plot points. That’s not to say it’s a bad movie — it’s still one of the greatest of all time — but it’s not without its flaws. Here are ten plot holes we noticed when we rewatched Disney’s The Lion King.
10 Where is Nala’s Father?
Right out of the gate, we’re hitting the ground with a big question that’s been floating through the Disney fandom for years: where is Nala’s father? It would appear that Mufasa and Scar are the only males other than Simba in Pride Rock, so there has to be a third, right?
Since Disney wanted the pride to have more human relationships, we can nix both Mufasa and Scar as candidates, though certain speculation refuses. We don’t know where Nala’s dad went, but according to Disney’s The Lion Guard, a third lion did exist at one time. Supposedly, the filmmakers figured this out late in the game and simply hoped no one would notice upon release. Well, we did…
9 Where Did Zazu Go in the Elephant Graveyard?
This is more of an unanswered question than a glaring plot hole, but it’s one we simply couldn’t ignore. After Zazu catches up to the cubs in the Elephant Graveyard, he gets nabbed in the chase scene and Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed have some fun with him by plunging him into a geyser and sending him rocketing off into the distance.
As goofy as it is to see Zazu dropped into the birdie boiler, where did he go while Simba and Nala were being menaced by Scar’s giggling goons? Presumably, after his rear stopped smoldering, he went and informed Mufasa, who comes charging in later. It just felt a little weird seeing Zazu suddenly absent.
8 Zazu is Slapped and Remembers Nothing
Staying on the subject of Zazu, why is it that when he gets in a flitting, fluttering, freak-out during the stampede in the gorge, Scar slaps him against the stone to eliminate any witnesses to his murder scheme? That makes perfect sense until Zazu see him looking totally uninjured when the other lions mourn Mufasa’s death.
Here’s what we don’t understand: why on earth would Zazu forget the fact Scar knocked him out him just before Mufasa’s death? That’s a pretty suspicious piece of information. If the blasted blue bird can sustain getting squashed by a rhino, he ought to be able to handle a pelting from Scar’s paw.
7 Scar Could Have Offed Simba Then and There
We’ve talked about this one before, but due to the sheer infuriating nature of the situation, we believe it bears repeating. Scar is one of the few Disney villains who actually axes off one of the main characters. No song and dance, no witty banter, he just straight-up mercs the guy. Scar should have won if it wasn’t for one big mistake.
If you want something done right, you’ve gotta do it yourself. But does Scar do this? Does he end Mufasa’s bloodline and snuff out any claim to the throne with one fatal swipe of his claw? No, he gets his halfwit hyenas to do it. They fail, Simba comes back, Scar gets eaten alive, and it’s all his fault. Roll credits and Hakuna Matata.
6 How Does Simba Survive on Bugs for years?
We’re calling straight-up nonsense on this one — but it’s Disney, we can’t stay mad at them forever. That being said, we want to know what kind of bugs Timon and Pumbaa were hoarding if the little “cream-filled” creepy crawlies were able to sustain a full-grown lion for years.
Either Simba’s been eating his Wheaties or he’s snuck a zebra or two while Timon and Pumbaa were out rustling up some grubs. There is no other way Simba could look half as fit as he does when crossing that log, let alone have more muscle than the slender and svelte Scar. Maybe those grubs have got some mean protein?
5 Why Didn’t Nala Just Move the Lionesses to the Jungle and Ditch Scar?
According to Sarabi’s revelation, the herds have moved on, there is nothing left, and they must leave Pride Rock. But Simba has been shacking up with Timon and Pumbaa amidst a lush and tropical paradise for years. If Nala was smart, she could have led the lionesses to Simba and they would have had a new home in the jungle.
And yeah, we know this could have some ramifications on the environment, but given the right planning, the lions could have practically thrived. After all, what is a mob to a king? We might be speculating, but it’s a thought.
4 Mufasa Could have Told Simba the Truth
The scene where Mufasa’s ghost appears in the sky is one of the most breath-taking and inspirational scenes in any Disney movie. When Rafiki summons the king from the stars and clouds, Simba and the audience are entirely spellbound. But despite Mufasa’s wise words of encouragement, he left out one thing — Scar murdered him.
We know, this would have totally botched the whole “past can hurt” message of the film, but it would have saved Simba some anguish. Think about it, he’s been living with guilt for years over a crime he didn’t commit. That would have been more of a pick-me-up than any amount of cosmic wisdom.
3 How is Scar Responsible for the Drought?
Back on the subject of Pride Lands ecology, we know that Scar and the hyenas are responsible for overhunting and depleting the savannah’s food supply. We can accept that, right? A pride of lions and a pack of hyenas are a lot of hungry mouths to feed. But that still doesn’t explain the sudden drought that strikes the Pride Lands.
When Simba and Nala return home, we find the Pride Lands have practically gone to pot. The trees are dead, the river is gone, and it’s an absolute wasteland. Are we really supposed to believe Scar’s regime is responsible for all this? We don’t know about you, but we can’t believe he should take all the blame.
2 The Lionesses Do Not Back Simba Up
When Simba is finally able to confront Scar on the top of Pride Rock, it seems that hope is restored for the lions of the Pride Lands. But when Scar tries to play the guilt card and force Simba into falsely admitting his father’s murder, none of the lionesses, not even Nala, want to come to his aid.
There is literally no reason for the lionesses not to rebel against Scar and save Simba. Even when he admits it was an accident, they just stand there and watch. They should have at least got the hint something was up when Scar launched into his monologue.
1 Scar Survived?
This is more of an observation than a flaw, but it’s one we and the rest of the Disney fandom find ourselves asking. We see Scar absolutely torn to pieces at the hands of his hyena henchmen before Simba belts out his land-cleansing roar. Then why do we see Scar’s pelt virtually unharmed in Hercules?
We know we’re picking at an Easter egg thrown in by a cheeky animator, but we want to know how Scar got away unscathed from his mutinous minions before being turned into a demigod’s fashion statement. Either Disney isn’t telling us something, or Hercules knows the best tailor in the world.
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