Think You Know The Lion King? These Facts Might Surprise You

With the Disney remake of the beloved Lion King screening in cinemas, we hunted down some things you might not know about the children's classic.

“Scar, brother, help me!”

It’s the movie that likely traumatised every 90s kid and since then, 'The Lion King' has taken many forms -- but how well do you really know this story?

The live action remake is in cinemas. Photo: Disney

It was while promoting a lesser-known Disney movie featuring cats, 'Oliver & Company', that the concept of 'The Lion King' was initially discussed back in 1988.

The 1994 film is the first Disney movie not to be based on an existing story, unlike films like 'The Little Mermaid', based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

If this coming-of-age story sounds familiar, that’s likely because it was inspired partly by 'Hamlet'. In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet (Simba), avenges the murder of his father (Mufasa) at the hands of his uncle (Scar).

This is also behind the movie’s nickname, 'Bamblet', as the screenwriter had pitched the story as 'Bambi' with 'Hamlet' thrown in.

It's a coming of age story. Photo: Disney

In one early concept, there was no music planned for the movie, and it was planned as more of an animated documentary on lions.

Luckily music was eventually included, as the film features Africa’s most famous song, 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight'. Recorded by Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds in 1939, it was originally titled 'Mbube' which translates to "lion".

This was controversial, with a copyright law suit over royalties for the multi-million-dollar song continuing until 2006. Linda lived and died in poverty before the movie was created, and relatives settled for an undisclosed amount.

READ MORE: The Most Scathing Lines From The First 'Lion King' Reviews

READ MORE: Can We Really Call Disney's Lion King Remake 'Live-Action'?

Not the only debate plaguing this ‘original’ animation with claims it parallels a Japanese television anime series from the sixties called 'Kimba the White Lion'. No legal action was taken.

The movie almost had a different official title as well -- King of the Jungle -- but this was dropped because lions actually live on the savannah. Although, the film doesn’t follow all the laws of nature anyway.

For example, dark colouring is a symbol of good health and breeding qualities in male lions, so the villain Scar -- far darker than Mufasa -- would be considered a natural leader.

Lions were brought into the studio. Photo: Disney

The African landscape is realistic though, thanks to a research trip to Kenya which also inspired the colouring and digestion issues of Pumbaa, the warthog. For the details, lions were brought into the animation studio.

While techniques and technology have changed drastically in the 25 years since the classic animation, all eyes will be on the live-action remake. It has large paw prints to fill.