The Alternate Ending To Lion King That Was Too Dark For The Makers

Sure, Disney movies can be surprisingly dark. If you look closely, you’ll find some pretty intense moments hidden beneath the magic.

Parents often meet tragic ends, and villains often face brutal fates. This darkness often stems from the original stories Disney adapts, which can be even grimmer than what we see on screen.

Take “The Lion King” for example. It’s loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” but it’s got its own dark twists. Mufasa, meets a tragic end when he’s thrown off a cliff and trampled by stampeding wildebeests.

Then there’s Scar, the villain, whose reign ends in a grisly way as he’s torn apart by his own minions, the hyenas. These moments stick with us, even amidst the humor and catchy songs.

The last big fight in The Lion King is super intense. Scar’s evil plans are exposed as he stands on top of Pride Rock, which is on fire. Then, in a really dramatic scene, he and Simba, the rightful king, have a showdown.

It’s one of the most intense villain showdowns in Disney history, even if it’s not directly shown. After the battle, Simba stands on Pride Rock.

The skies clear up, and everything gets better as he becomes the true king. It’s kind of like a Shakespeare play, but with animals.

The Lion King (Credit: Disney)

What Was The Alternate Endling Like?

In another version of “The Lion King,” the ending was going to be way different. Simba and Scar still fight on Pride Rock, but this time, Simba almost falls off the edge.

Scar throws him off, saying “Goodnight, sweet prince,” like in Hamlet. Scar thinks he’s won as he stands on top of the burning rock, laughing like a maniac.

But Simba grabs onto a branch and doesn’t fall to his doom like his dad. This ending was considered too dark and not exciting enough for the final movie.

In a deleted scene from “The Lion King,” Scar gets more screen time as the bad guy. He decides he needs an heir to make himself look better, so he picks Nala to be his queen.

Yeah, that’s right, Nala, Simba’s friend since they were little cubs. (Pretty creepy, huh?) This scene got cut too, but it shows how different the movie could’ve been.

Even though the darker scenes were cut from the original movie, they didn’t disappear completely. When “The Lion King” became a franchise, some of these ideas resurfaced.

Still from the movie
Still from the movie (Credit: Disney)

In the stage adaptation by Julie Taymor, there’s a scene called “The Madness of King Scar,” where Scar tries to make Nala his queen.

The musical and the 2019 remake also feature final battles that resemble the alternate ending, where Scar is still killed by his minions, but Simba’s fakeout death is added in.