King of the Jungle (or King of the Beasts) was a working title of The Lion King. In 2012, two screenplays were released: one written in January 1990 by J.T. Allen, and another one in May 1990 by Allen and Ron Bass. Both early screenplays are extremely different from what the final version is today—violent, suggestive, featured blatant incest, and was essentially family-unfriendly. In the end, they were scrapped, and very few traces of story material remained to be ingrained into the final film.
January 1990 version (The Lion King)
In the middle of day in the Serengeti, as vultures continue to fly overhead, Simba is play fighting with his "girl cousin," Nala, over a stick they found on the ground. There, two spinster ratels (or honey badgers), Rina and Rada, take note of the cubs' playfulness. Rada calls for Simba and Nala, and Simba replies by asking how they are. However, Simba quickly dashes away from the ratels, and runs to catch up with Nala. He eventually does, and Nala questions how he will be king until she starts to pounce a locust. The locust leads them to Daabi, a young female aardvark with a slurred dialect, who later hides back behind a termite mound. Simba goes after her, and they merrily chase each other from one mound to another. Daabi asks Simba some questions about being the king until her mother panics when she sees her daughter with a lion. Daabi tries to explain, but she is carried away from Simba by her mother. The same thing happens when Simba approaches baby ostriches.
Soon, he approaches a baby baboon who tells him that Nala is up in the tree. With the help of the baby baboons, Simba climbs up the tree, and approaches Kwashi, an elderly but dignified baboon with a silver beard, about Nala. He replies he doesn't know Nala. Soon, the mother baboon shrieks in horror of Simba, and carries her children off. Kwashi dismisses the young prince and Simba leaves, disappointed. However, Nala comes up mocking Kwashi's "little imposter" comment toward Simba, and Banagi, a hyena, pops up before them. The cubs run in different directions, and Banagi runs after Nala. Simba goes after the hyena until Kwashi, Mufasa, and Zazu arrive to scare off the hyena. Mufasa takes the cubs back home, and the narrator is revealed to be Kwashi.
Back home with the Ndona pride, Mufasa, Zazu, Simba, and Nala watch as Sarabi, Naanda, and other lionesses hunt down a zebra. Along with Diku and Dwala, Sarabi's sisters, the lionesses successfully pin the zebra down. After the pride finishes their fill, the young vulture, Kobi, and Banagi along with Baasho, another hyena, charge to eat the remains of the deceased zebra. The scene transitions into night time where the pride begins to sleep. Simba, however, approaches his father about why he stays up all night. Mufasa replies to report all that he sees to the Great Lion. Simba goes to sleep with his mother, who sings him an African lullaby assuring him he will be the next king.
Soon, the scene transitions into Simba being an adolescent who sees Nala with the lionesses. While going after her, he receives compliments from Rina and Rada on how much he has grown. Simba then pounces Nala while she is hunting, but Sarabi dismisses her son telling him that he and Nala have different roles in the pride now they are older. Simba questions this, and Sarabi tells her son to ask his father about. Simba awakes his sleepy father, and Mufasa answers by stating male lions have to protect the pride from intruders. Dissatisfied with the simplicity of the role, Mufasa and Zazu escort Simba to the termite mounds where Simba tries to hunt down Daabi, and then the grown-up ostriches. Kwashi approaches Mufasa, and tells him that Simba will never learn how to hunt if he hunts his friends. Zazu tells the young cub if all else fails, follow the vultures for food and water. Mufasa scolds his son to not show favoritism while hunting, but Simba rebels against his father's instructions claiming "nature is wrong".
Soon, Naanda and Dwili approaches Mufasa about an intruder who attacked Sarabi. The intruder is discovered to be Scar, who is twice the size of Mufasa; he and Mufasa enter a brief battle with Scar being defeated. Zazu escorts Scar to the border and leaves, and there, Banagi, who watched the fight, compliments Scar on the fight, and persuades him to the next "king of the beasts".
Back at the den, Nala has a quick conversation with Simba, but Scar returns to the pride with a pack of hyenas. Mufasa charges at them, but Scar and the hyenas overwhelm him while the pride looks on helplessly. Sarabi tells her son to run, and the hyena chase after Simba. Despite the assistance from Kwashi and Herr Rhino, the hyenas are still in hot pursuit of Simba, but Simba climbs up on a dead tree branch which breaks and falls into the ground. An exhausted Simba is awakened by a tickbird who tells him he is on territory belonging to the Sametu pride. Three lions beside him scare him off, and Simba gets lost in a sandstorm. Meanwhile, back in the Serengeti, Zazu receives assistance from Rina and Rada who repair his injured wing. The lionesses are gathered at a rock plateau weary and pale over the shortage of food to eat. An angered Sarabi makes a quick duel at Baasho, but it is put down by Scar. Naanda tries to calm down her sister, and Nala questions her mother why they can't they just run. Naanda replies that this territory has belonged to them since their descendants.
Simba awakens from the sandstorm, and sees two vultures. Simba then remembers Zazu telling him earlier that "you can always follow a vulture to food and water", which leads him to follow the birds when he finds cheetahs eating a Thompson's gazelle. Back at Pride Rock, Banagai harasses the lionesses to hunt for more food while Kwashi talks with Zazu about finding a lion to champion Scar. Meanwhile, Nala tries to approach Scar romantically as Scar has been looking for a mate for some time. Back to Simba, he asks of the Lion in the Moon to tell him the status of the pride. Soon, he is approached by Timon who tells him that younger meerkats are trying to sleep. Simba learns of Timon and Tesma's species and Simba replies back he is a lion.
Back in the Serengeti, Nala grows tired of Scar telling him she wishes to go back to hunting. Scar refuses this, and slaps Nala causing her to run farther from him; then, Nala tells Scar that the pride will never alone with the hyenas, and that Banagai is controlling him. Scar angrily objects to this, and attacks a nearby Baasho. Back at the meerkat mounds, Simba is with Timon and his wife, Tesma, who is on sentry duty. There, Timon, along with the Kombli Rangers, scout for food. Timon grabs hold of a seven-foot yellow cobra, who attempts to attack the colony. The Kombli Rangers eventually bury the cobra alive by digging dirt under it.
While Kwashi and Zazu continue to search for a new lion to take over the pride, Timon accepts Simba as a Kombli Ranger and welcomes him any time after saving him from a Marshal eagle. Simba soon departs from them learning that size does not always equal strength. Soon, Kwashi and Zazu awaken Simba who tells them he was to return home to approach Banagai and the hyenas. Before he returns home, Simba invites Herr Rhino to accompany them in the fight. When Simba returns home, he is shocked by the emptiness of his homeland, and organizes a strategy plan. Within the pride, Scar is told by Bangai and Baasho that Nala is responsible for rebelling against Scar. Throwing an angry outburst, the lionesses protect Nala, and when Scar breaks through their resistance, Nala flees into the marshy borderland where she finds Simba. Simba asks Nala about Scar's weaknesses, and she replies that Scar is fearful of lightning. Along with Nala and the rhino, Daabi and her cousin aardvarks, and Kwashi and the baboons become Simba's allies. Simba orders the aardvarks and ratels to dig a tunnel for Scar to fall into while the baboons gather rocks overhead.
The sky begins to start lightning, and during then Nala gets Scar to follow him into the tunnel, in which Scar does. Nala falls into the tunnel, and because of his fear of lightning, Scar falls into the tunnel. There, Nala springs out of the hole, and fill in in the hole covering Scar. The baboons throw rocks at the fleeing hyenas, and with the help of the lionesses, Simba disperses the hyena pack. However, lightning strikes a part of the Earth explodes causing Scar to spring up from the lava, and Simba and Scar enter into a fight. Unable to defeat Scar, Simba stops at a dead tree, and there, a dead branch falls on Scar crushing his body. After the fight, Simba banishes the hyenas to the desert and becomes the rightful king. The land eventually recovers, and Simba grows into a full grown lion with a fleshed out mane. He joins his cub, his mate Nala, and the pride where they are more cubs playing at their feet.
May 1990 version (King of the Beasts)
As the moon is set high in the nighttime sky, a fire is ravaging over the grasslands. Simba, a young lion cub, observes the fire in fear between his mother, Sarabi. Also, Dwala, Diku, Naanda, and Nala observe the fire. Simba asks his mother why aren't the animals running, and Sarabi replies because they haven't received his father's orders yet. Mufasa and the three other male adolescent lions emerge from the fire. One of the lions approach Mufasa asking for a safe passage through his territory to which Mufasa agrees. As the fire rages on, an ancient acacia tree on the far side of the gorge topples over, crashing onto an arena-like plateau in the middle of the gorge. Mufasa grows concerned, worried that the sparks from the burning tree might leap from the plateau to the near side of the gorge. Soon, Mufasa gives his mate the signal to run, and the Ndona pride, the animals, Mufasa, and Zazu flee.
The next morning, Simba is playing with his friends, Lemuta, a zebra colt, and Daabi, an aardvark, running down a slope with his friends chasing after him. Simba slips into a pool of water, with his friends laughing at him knowing his dislike of water. Soon, the three friends see the lionesses hunting down Lemuta's herd and gazelles. Lemuta is relieved that his mother escaped unharmed and leaves to join his herd, but Simba and Daabi continue to go play. Daabi knocks Simba over into a mound, and as the friends brush themselves off, Nala emerges. Simba invites her to play, but Nala, who dislikes Daabi, decides to play another time. Feeling snubbed, Daabi leaves "hearing" his mother calling for him.
Simba decides to catch up with Nala, and asks her to play "King of the Beasts". Simba tells her that he must sleep, and Nala must hunt for something to eat. Nala retrieves something to eat, and the cubs playfully wrestle with each other, and roll down into a dark hole. There, the cubs run into an angry warthog who charges at them, and Simba runs up into a tree. Unable to get to the cub, the warthog smashes into the tree, breaking it, crashing Simba to keep his balance. Meanwhile, Banagi, prince of the hyenas, Baasho, his lieutenant, and three other hyenas are discussing whether to let a fourth hyena join their "brotherhood" or not. Their meeting is suddenly interrupted when they hear Simba fleeing the warthog. Banagi quickly makes a decision, the looks at Baasho and "nods him into action". Banagi save the running cub from the warthog telling his father to give him his best wishes. In the nick of time, Sarabi and Nala come to the rescue astonished by this. The relieved cub tells his mother all that occurred, and Sarabi is not pleased that her husband is in debt to the hyenas.
Next, some vultures gather on top of a baobab tree, and below them, a pack of jackals and hyenas come forward. The lionesses of the Ndona pride come shortly after, and Mufasa arrives asking for Banagi. Banagi steps forward and Mufasa offers him a kill in payment of the debt. The hyenas viciously devour the meal while Simba sees a rogue lion named Scar, who is half the size of Mufasa. Sarabi holds her son back, and Zazu tells the lion to leave the territory. Scar ignores the warning, and enters into a fight with Mufasa. The rogue retreats leaving Banagi intrigued by him.
Back home, Simba and Nala have their final play for the night, and when Simba goes to lay with his mother, he asks about the whereabouts of his father. She tells that he went to look out for the rogue lion, and after that, she sings to him a lullaby promising him he will be king. A few years later, Simba, now an adolescent lion, is awakened when a fly flies into his ear. He sees his friend, Daabi, fully grown, and he asks Simba to come play. Simba, who is very sleepy, turns down the offer, and jolts up when the aardvark tells him that his mother is looking for him. Simba scans the horizon seeing Nala, also grown, hunting with the lionesses. He pounces her, and Sarabi tells him that his father was waiting for him at the hungodo tree by the riverbank. Simba races down to the riverbank and when he arrives, Zazu scolds him for his irresponsibility. Zazu escorts the young lion to his father, while Simba apologizes for his lateness, the proud king orders Zazu to complete a census of the nearby herds. Meanwhile, Mufasa takes his son to the grasslands, where Simba sees his friend, Lemuta, who has grown up. Mufasa tells his son that Lemuta can no longer be his friend. Simba questions this, and Mufasa replies that it is how the "Lion in the Moon" designed nature so lions can eat and zebras won't overpopulate.
The two lions later go to take a drink, and at dusk, Mufasa is teaching Simba how to fight in the midst of a grove of fever trees. Simba throws himself at his father repeatedly, but always ends up on his back. Mufasa stresses the importance of knowing how to fight another lion, and informs Simba of a special, little-known maneuver which will defeat an opponent by biting the back of his neck. Mufasa demonstrates the move by standing at a 45-degree angle to Simba and telling Simba to charge him. As Simba does, Mufasa rolls into Simba's charge, springs to his feet as Simba whirls around to come after him, then leaps onto Simba's back and pushes him to the ground, ready to sink his teeth into his son's neck. He tells Simba to try the move, but predictably, Simba fails. He tries unsuccessfully two more times, but Mufasa tells him that he's doing well so far. By this time it is night, and they decide to stay where they are and sleep in shifts.
The next day, at a meerkat mound, Timon Vandmeer, headman of the meervillage, is approached by Mufasa, and is amazed by the new members in the Raiders. Timon introduces to the king to Desma, Jamila, Mandisa, Ozina, Lambida, and a meer baby named Nute. During a banquet with the meerkats, Mufasa is informed that the Mbala pride have recently reached the Ngoro ridge along the Ndona river. The lions leave the meerkat colony, and approach the edge of the river. After a quick chat, the lions dive into the Limpopo River (taken straight out of Runyard Kipling's Just-So Stories), and after brief encounters with crocodiles, they successfully cross over the river. At the Ngoro river, the three Mbala lions with three tickbirds quickly notices Mufasa and Simba. The three tickbirds approach Mufasa, and the Elder Lion of the Mbala pride dismisses them upon Mufasa's request. Mufasa and the Elder Lion reach an agreement that the two prides can share the river peacefully giving the newly formed ridge over to his pride. As Mufasa and Simba leave, the Elder Lion tells Mufasa that they have the rogue, Scar. Mufasa thanks him for the notification.
Back at Pride Rock, Simba boasts to Nala how he "saved" his father from the crocodiles, while the lionesses question Mufasa about being away from the pride for so long. Mufasa replies he must in order to protect the pride from Scar. Meanwhile, at the hyena's den, Banagi approaches Scar, and persuades him that he can overthrow Mufasa with help from his "half-dozen" hyena pack. Scar dismisses this until he sees that Banagi's pack contains countless hyenas, and grins with pleasure. The next morning, Banagi approaches Mufasa telling him that Scar has captured Baasho, and challenges him to a fight at the fire tree bridge. Simba suggests to his father that they could ambush Scar, but Mufasa disagrees with the strategy, and plans to challenge the rogue at high noon. At noon, the Ndona Pride arrives at the bridge formed by the huge acacia that fell across the gorge at the beginning of the story, forming a blackened, hollow bridge from the Ndona Pride's side of the gorge to a huge plateau in the center, bordered by rocks and bushes. During the fight, Mufasa, knowing he cannot win the fight, uses the 45-degree angle to Scar, in preparation for the move he taught to Simba, but the hyenas interfere in the fight in which Scar yells to stay out. The two lions continue the fight, and with Mufasa wore down, Scar leaps on top of Mufasa breaking his bones. Sarabi tells her son to run, but Simba stares wanting to take on the hyenas. Zazu and Nala convince Simba to run away, and Banagi orders the hyenas to pursue him, and to not return without Simba's tail. After nearly a day of running, the hyenas grow weary, and Simba with Zazu continue to flee.
However, Baasho along with some of the hyenas catch up to Simba, and after a brief fight, the young prince continues to flee. Along the way, Simba and the hyenas fall into an edge of a cliff, save for Baasho. Nearby vultures try to feast on the nearly dead prince, but Zazu tries to shield him from the buzzards. One of the vultures grab hold of Zazu, but an awaken Simba roars scaring off the vultures. Simba then complains to Zazu that he is hungry, in which Zazu states there isn't any food for miles. After seeing a cheetah hunt down a gazelle until scared away by a vulture, Simba leaps into action, and scares off the vulture. Shortly after, the young lion consumes the prey, where Zazu instructs him to always "follow a bird to water".
Back at Pride Rock, Nala complains about the hyenas wanting them to hunt when there's not enough proof for them to eat. Soon, Scar approaches her, and asks her to sit down and talk about the situation. Suddenly, Baasho reports to Banagi and Scar confirming that Simba and Zazu are dead giving them Simba's tail hair. The lionesses weep at the sad news of the "death" of the young prince until Sarabi tries to attack Baasho. Scar blocks Sarabi from attacking, and Naanda calms down her sister, and the lionesses live. At the bottom of Pride Rock, Nala complains why the lionesses tolerate Scar and the hyenas, and asks why not run away. Naanda replies because there is nowhere to go, as all of the surrounding territories are occupied by rogues and other prides.
As the day transcends into night, Simba, depressed and homesick, stares at the moon, and complains to the Lion in the Moon for allowing the past events to happen. Zazu tries to console Simba by telling him to go sleep, but Simba decides he will later on. Zazu then requests Simba to join a local pride, but due to Zazu's elegant language, Simba mistakes him for requesting him to take over a pride. Zazu is astonished by this, but Simba carries the dialogue stating how horribly his pride is being run by Scar and the hyenas, and that the Lion in the Moon has a plan for his life, although he doesn't know what it is. Touched by this, Zazu tells the young lion to sleep, in which Simba does shortly after. Unbeknownst to the two, a marshal eagle swoops down on Zazu, but the two fend off the eagle. Simba then remembers his father's words of sleeping with guards, "you sleep with one eye".
The next morning, in the Pride Lands, after Scar finishes a meal, he approaches the lionesses thanking them for the meal. Then, Scar asks Nala if she wants part of his meal, but Nala declines, and leaves. The other lionesses follow her lead only to complain privately about their situations, and having little to do to solve it. However, Nala requests to run away to find an ally, but Diku, Dwala, Naanda, and Sarabi shoot down the idea.
At an undisclosed termite mound, Banagi and Baasho plot behind Scar's back to get rid of Nala fearing she is coming between their relationship with Scar. Daabi overhears their conversation, and tells Nala the next night. Nala thanks the aardvark for saving her life, and runs away.
After using Zazu as a compass, Simba decides to head east to return back home. Zazu requests Simba's decision knowing that Scar will easily defeat him, but Simba decides he can handle him if he can defeat Banagai. Finally recognizing Simba's courage, Zazu decides to escort the prince all the way back home. As the two march on the way home, they decide to lay down to sleep at a rock steepe until approached by Timon. Timon instantly thinks Zazu and Simba are looking for Nala, and tells them she is at a forest of fever trees. Zazu and Simba quickly run to find her, and at the fever trees, Banagi and the hyenas are also looking for her as well. Simba finds Nala attempting to camouflage behind a bush, and takes her to their "secret kid place". The two begin a conversation on how much they matured, and Simba tells Nala his plan.
The next morning, as Scar drinks a water spring, Nala approaches him. Scar thinks Banagi and the hyenas found her, but Nala tells the wicked king that another lion found her. Scared at the notion of this, Nala tells Scar that the new lion wants to challenge him in a match (without the hyenas) at the fire tree bridge come nighttime. Suddenly, Banagi arrives finding the two lions, and is told about the challenge by Scar. After being told he wants no interference from the hyenas, Scar orders Banagi to escort Nala back to Pride Rock. At Pride Rock, Nala tries to blockade the hyenas by starting a fight with the lionesses. Then, Zazu arrives to guide the hyenas to the fight, and the hyenas quickly follow him.
At the fire tree bridge, Scar waits to challenge the lion. Simba arrives telling Scar that this land belongs to his pride, and the fight quickly ensues. Zazu and the hyenas arrive to watch the fight angering Scar. The fight resumes with Scar and Simba giving each other vicious blows. Knocking Simba off his feet, Scar lunges at Simba, but Simba pins him down suffocating him until the last breath. After defeating Scar, Simba asks Bangai to challenge him, and Bangai summons the hyenas to defeat him. With incredible strength, Simba defeats the hyenas, and asks Baasho to challenge him. Trembling with fear, Baasho and the rest of the hyenas bow before Simba. The lionesses arrive there too, and welcome their new king.
Now fully matured into an adult lion, Simba tells Zazu to complete a census of the herds while he takes his newborn son to watch over the Pride Lands much as his father did when he was a cub.
The Lion King
King of the Beasts
Mel Shaw, of all the concepts drawn up, drew the most centered around this version
More concepts can be found on the Disney Second Screen: The Lion King Edition site.
- The Lion King - A Screenplay For Feature Animation by J.T. Allen
- King of the Beasts - A Screenplay for Feature Animation by J.T. Allen and Ron Bass
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