'The Lion King' at 25: How the Disney classic was rescued from the jaws of defeat

Some of the major differences between the start and finished product were that Scar would raise Simba, Rafiki was a cheetah, and Timon and Pumbaa didn’t even exist.

The first song Rice wrote was Can You Feel the Love Tonight, and it’s inconceivable now to think of The Lion King without it being sung by Simba and Nala, but it could have been totally different if it went how the producers wanted it to.

Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella were originally cast as the hyenas Banzai and Shenzi (played by Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin in the final film).

Tim Curry and Malcolm McDowell were originally considered for the role of Scar, both were unavailable, and eventually it came to Jeremy Irons, who initially rejected it, ended up saying that he felt it was his first real villain .

The original was released right in the middle of Disney’s renaissance period, from 1989 to 1999, and despite it being a family friendly film, it also teaches children important life lessons and complex issues, such as death, grief, and the search for your true self.

L-R Melina M'Poy (Nala) Gugwana Dlamini (Rafiki) and Johnathan Andrew Hume (Simba) pictured at the launch of The Lion King musical at the Project arts centre in Dublin.

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