- “I'm surrounded by idiots.”
- ―Scar; referring to Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are the secondary antagonists of Disney's 1994 animated feature film The Lion King. They are a trio of spotted hyenas who were loyal followers and henchmen of Scar. Known for their sadism and haunting laughter, the hyenas dwell in the Elephant Graveyard. Because of their destructive habits, the hyenas are outcast from the Pride Lands. By forming an alliance with Scar, they hope to usurp the lions and overrun the Pride Lands, thus allowing themselves and other hyenas the freedom to eat as much as they desire.
Scar has an extremely low opinion of them, considering them to be stupid and incompetent - but still cared for them by regularly providing food prior to allowing them and the rest of the hyenas into the Pride Lands to gain hunting rights and eventually more to scavenge.
- 1 Background
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Printed media
- 4 Video games
- 5 Musical
- 6 Disney Parks
- 7 Gallery
- 8 Trivia
- 9 References
The hyenas were featured in two spin-off books of The Lion King, set before the events of the original film.
In one of the six new adventure books A Tale of Two Brothers, the young hyenas appear at the beginning where they surround a helpless Rafiki who had just arrived in the Pride Lands. King Ahadi comes to his rescue just in time, with his sons Mufasa and Taka (Scar) in tow, and demands that the hyenas leave. Later, Scar meets with the hyenas, the story revealing that he asked for their help. Shenzi advises Scar to make himself look good by making Mufasa look bad. Taka is intrigued by the suggestion and plans to incite a cape buffalo called Boma to fight Mufasa. His plan goes badly and his eye is wounded by the buffalo herd in the process, hence the nickname "Scar".
In one of the non-canon six new adventure books Friends in Need, the teenage hyenas appear again at the beginning, where they are preparing to boil a teenage Zazu in the elephant graveyard, as in the first film. A teenage Mufasa passes by, scares the hyenas away and befriends Zazu.
Shenzi (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg) is the leader and sole female of the trio. According to Timon in The Lion King 1½, her full name is Shenzi Marie Predatora Veldetta Jacquelina Hyena. Her first name means "savage", "pagan", "uncouth", or "barbarous" in Swahili. Her distinguishing features are five prominent bangs hanging over her face and a mane that reaches all the way to her bangs. She also lacks the dark gray 'stubble' snout of the males, the dark patches around her eyes are shaped to resemble heavily applied eye-shadow, and she has thicker lips with what seems to be black lipstick. Despite the common belief in the Pride Lands that hyenas are stupid, Shenzi's sense of humor hides a ruthless sense of cunning. She is not merely the leader of the trio, but the Matriarch of a Pack of over 200 hyenas, and her powerful leadership and diplomatic skills resulted in incredible gains for her Pack, regardless of the cataclysmic results to the Pride Lands. And at the climax of the movie, Shenzi informs the hyenas that Scar has betrayed them. Additionally, despite not appearing in the sequel, it seems that she has successfully hidden from Zira the fact that the hyenas, and not Simba, killed him, allowing her Pack to escape the Graveyard and leave the Pride Lands. Despite her dislike of Mufasa, Shenzi clearly has a measure of respect and fear for him, as she gets the "shivers" when she hears his name and though she elbows Banzai before he can say the name in front of Scar, she clearly agrees with his opinion that they were better off when Mufasa was in charge (even if he did not like them or allowed them to live in the Pride Lands, he at least treated them better and did not abuse or insult them for amusement like Scar). Despite this, she has shown cowardice, along with her partners, on several occasions: Running away from Pumbaa in the final battle and Mufasa during their first encounter. Shenzi can be just as ruthless as Scar, but unlike him, her first duty is to strengthening her clan rather than the pursuit of personal power. She allies the Clan with Scar even though the hyenas dislike the lions simply to provide for them, lies to Scar that Simba is dead to get them into the Pride Lands and is even unafraid of informing him there is no food or water left, meaning the clan is starving and dehydrated. When Scar tries to pin Mufasa's death on the hyenas at the end, she does not hesitate to inform the clan of his betrayal, resulting in his death. In Simba's Pride, Shenzi presumably has taken the clan away from the Elephant Graveyard to find better hunting grounds.
Banzai (voiced by Cheech Marin) is the second hyena of the trio. His name means "skulk" or "lurk" in Swahili, and it's also a Japanese battle cry. He is the most physically aggressive of the trio. He is short-tempered, violent, gluttonous, and impulsive, thinking with his teeth first. However he always submits to Shenzi, who is both smarter and more controlled than him. However, multiple times in the film, Ed is seen irritating him and Banzai jumps into the fight every time. His most distinguishing feature is his unusually heavy eyebrows. Apart from these, Banzai is the model for most generic hyenas. He is the greediest of the three, frequently making references to hunger, and asking for food. He also speaks and acts without thinking, complaining when the Pride Lands lacks food under Scar's rule ("It's dinnertime, and we ain't got no stinkin' entrees!"). He even quietly remarks to his friends that Mufasa was a better king than Scar, showing his audacity. In addition, when about to commence the Wildebeest Stampede, he complained to Shenzi that he wanted to attack the wildebeest early, which would have thrown the whole plan off, but was stopped by Shenzi, reminding him to wait. He also unwittingly instigates Pumbaa's attack on them during the final battle, as when he notices Pumbaa behind them, he briefly asks Timon, his prey, who the "pig" was in reference to him, with the insult increasing Pumbaa's fury enough that he promptly charged that them and presumably managed to beat him and Shenzi severely enough to force them to retreat. Otherwise, Banzai appears to be Shenzi's intellectual equal. He understands pig Latin, as Zazu tried to keep Simba from calling the hyenas stupid ("Who you callin' upidstay?!"); Spanish, when he immediately refrained from saying "Mufasa" in front of Scar any further ("I said, uh, ¿Qué Pasa?"); and French, for which "entree" and "buffet" are associated with food. He learned that he and his two comrades couldn't defeat Mufasa on their own, let alone kill him, which he explained to Scar after the failed attempt on Simba and Nala's lives; this would eventually lead to the entire clan overwhelming Simba and, at the battle's end, Scar. Banzai seems to have bad luck and tends to take the injuries; in "Be Prepared" he was fired out of a geyser and handled roughly by Scar, Banzai's buttocks were severely lacerated by Mufasa's sharp claws, causing him to be unable to sit down for a week, ("I won't be able to sit for a week!") he tells Shenzi and Ed; and later when he is knocked into a thorn patch while chasing Simba out of the Pride Lands.
Ed (voiced by Jim Cummings) is the only hyena not to have a Swahili name. However, there exists in English the word eddy meaning whirlpool. Ed's distinguishing features are two round cuts on each ear, his tongue often lolls from his mouth and he has no eyebrows. He laughs rather than speaks, and also seems to have difficulty holding back his laughter. Jim Cummings recorded over four hours of various laughter clips for any situation Ed might be in; excited, amused, angry, etc. Ed comes off as the 'idiot' of the trio, but Shenzi and Banzai never actually treat him as stupid. They treat him as an equal, despite the fact that he responds only by laughing, and his laughter to meaningful language. He repeatedly shows lucidity, being the first to notice Simba, Nala, and Zazu escaping while his two peers are busy cracking jokes about lions. When Shenzi comments that the hyenas would be running the show if the lions weren't around, he nods in agreement, listening to the conversation, and when Scar betrays the hyenas at the end, he understands that they have been betrayed just as well as Shenzi and Banzai, and is just as angry as they are. In addition, both Banzai and Shenzi have waited until Ed's reply before deciding on a response or a proper course of action at least twice: The first time when Shenzi and Banzai were rhetorically asking who was present in the elephant graveyard, and the second when noting that Scar had earlier called them their enemies before exacting revenge with the other Hyena Clan members. Banzai seems to be the only one who can translate Ed's laughter to have meaning, suggesting they have known each other for a long time. However, Banzai and Ed seem to scuffle frequently, mostly down to a combination of Banzai's short temper and Ed's total lack of tact. Ed definitely seems to have difficulty with some things, though. When they were attacked by Mufasa and Shenzi and Banzai denied knowing that Simba was his son, Ed confirmed it with a rapid nod; during a scuffle with Banzai, he chews on his own leg obliviously; also, when Pumbaa saved Timon and Zazu from being ganged up upon by Shenzi and Banzai in the final battle, he had no idea what to do and ended up cowering with the rest of the hyenas after Pumbaa beat them up. Whatever his shortcomings, Ed was smart enough to block the entrance to a meerkat tunnel, thus leaving Uncle Max briefly at the trio's mercy. Not only does Jim Cummings insist that Ed "knows the score", we have no strong reasons to believe otherwise.
In The Lion King, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings, respectively. Shenzi was originally going to be male and played by Tommy Chong, reuniting him with his old comedy partner Cheech Marin, who was playing Banzai, but apparently, the two had had a falling out. As such, the filmmakers decided to go with "Cheech and Whoopi." Unlike Marin or Cummings, Goldberg never reprised her role as Shenzi outside of the movies. Instead, she was voiced by Tress MacNeille in Timon & Pumbaa and various video games, and by Jenifer Lewis in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. On the odd occasion that Marin was unavailable, Banzai, was voiced by Rob Paulsen in Timon & Pumbaa and Simba's Mighty Adventure.
The hyenas first appear in the Elephant Graveyard that Simba and Nala venture into. The hyenas, secretly under the orders of Simba's uncle Scar, chase the cubs in an attempt to kill them. While in pursuit, Shenzi catches up with Nala and is about to attack her when she is scratched by Simba, which results in three visible blood-like claw marks on her cheek. The hyenas manage to capture Zazu and push him into a 'birdie boiler' and corner the cubs but are thwarted by the arrival of Simba's father, Mufasa. They try to flee but Mufasa quickly subdued them and pinned them to the ground warning them not to come near his son again. The hyenas are then scared off by a frightening roar by Mufasa.
Later while the hyenas are talking, Scar arrives in the elephant graveyard, to tell off the hyenas for failing to kill Simba. However, after Banzai and Shenzi ask sardonically whether Scar should kill Mufasa to claim the throne while feasting on a zebra's leg that Scar supplied to them (Banzai: "Yeah. What are we supposed to do - kill Mufasa?"), they unwittingly gave him an idea: He then informs them of the newly-formed plan to kill both Mufasa and Simba during the song "Be Prepared" while promising them unlimited food. Shenzi is the first to shout out, "Long live the king!" about Scar, and the entire pack follow her lead as she laughs madly.
Afterwards, they help Scar carry out his plan to kill Mufasa by triggering a wildebeest stampede. Immediately after Mufasa is killed, Scar makes Simba feel guilty for Mufasa’s death then tells Simba to run away and never return, he commands then the hyenas to kill Simba too, but Simba falls into a bed of dense thorny bushes that the hyenas won't follow him through. Shenzi decides that Simba is as good as dead out alone in the scorching desert, and if he survives and decides to come back, they'll kill him then. Shortly after, the entire hyena clan enters the Pride Lands when Scar assumes the throne.
After several years of overhunting into Scar's reign, the hyenas' excessive presence in the Pride Lands has damaged the ecological balance. The trio comes to Scar's cave to inform him that there's no food or water and that the lionesses refuse to follow his orders (to which Scar neglects); even Banzai secretly confesses to both Shenzi and Ed that things were much better under Mufasa despite hyenas living in the elephant graveyard in exile, Mufasa's reign was much better than Scar's, implying some remorse over their role in Mufasa death. Scar is furious, but a nervous Shenzi elbows him and Banzai quickly corrects himself by saying that he simply said "¿Que Pasa?". Still touchy about Banzai's remark and angry at being compared unfavorably of being to his brother, Scar throws them out without listening to their complaints.
When a young adult Simba returns to overthrow Scar, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed grew worried Scar learns that Simba is alive and back away, but they demonstrate their continued loyalty to Scar by joining the fight on his side, but most hyenas are defeated or flee the Pride Lands, and Shenzi and Banzai are ruthlessly beaten up by Pumbaa for calling him a "pig" while Ed watches in horror. Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed follow Scar and Simba at the top of Pride Rock to assist Scar who has been cornered by Simba. However, when they overhear Scar try to thrust all blame for the events on them to Simba, claiming that it was all their idea, they get angry and alert the rest of the clan what they just heard.
After Scar is defeated by Simba, he finds himself surrounded by the fallen hyenas and greets them casually. However, they reveal they overheard him as he desperately tries to explain that he didn't really mean what he said, but Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, and the entire clan are fed up with his broken promises of never going hungry again. Without hesitation, they close in to leap on Scar and devour him alive.
In the direct-to-video sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, They didn't appear in the sequel. Although they were mentioned by Nuka, who says that the graveyard has become more creepy ever since the hyenas left the territory.
It is possible that the hyenas Nuka mentioned weren't Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, but several unnamed hyenas since hundreds were shown during the villains' song, and many were seen running off during the climax in the original film, and only some of them (Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed among them) were sent to the lower area where they eat Scar, and could possibly have been consumed by the flames. Those who did not fall below presumably returned to the elephant graveyard, and later "ran off". It's equally possible that the hyena trio survived the fire after murdering Scar, returned to the Elephant Graveyard, and soon fled the wasteland, leaving it dormant of hyenas. As a result, the fate of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed remains unknown.
Scar's death at the jaws of his hyena henchmen seems to be ignored by (or not disclosed to) Zira as she mentions to Kovu that Simba killed Scar and outcasted the lions who supported him. During Simba's conversation with an adolescent Kovu, it's assumed that Simba informed Kovu of the true cause of Scar's death, and it's likely that after the Outsiders are re-united with the Pride Landers, they were informed of how Scar was betrayed and murdered by the hyenas.
In the direct-to-video midquel The Lion King 1½, the hyenas have a fairly major role in setting the story rolling and serve as the film's main antagonists (seeing as Scar has no lines and makes only brief appearances). Despite being the main antagonists, they only appear twice in the film.
In their first appearance, they attack a meerkat colony while Timon, who is the sentry on duty for the colony, is daydreaming. They fail to catch any meerkats, but this incident drives Timon to leave the colony to find where he truly belongs. This scene occurs shortly before Simba is born.
The hyenas make an appearance again during the film's climax at Pride Rock. Some anonymous hyenas are seen chasing Timon and Pumbaa into a cave (after the Hula song in the first film) and are driven away by Pumbaa's flatulence. Timon and Pumbaa insult the hyenas to get them away from Simba so that he has a better chance against Scar - Ed, as usual, laughs at the joke, and Banzai hits him, while Shenzi tells them, "For your last meal, you're gonna eat those words." Eventually, Timon and Pumbaa are cornered by the hyenas.
Timon first balances plates then performs the can-can, which stalls the hyenas briefly, then breakdances with Pumbaa, which Shenzi applauds to before simply agreeing with Banzai to eat them. Finally, he proposes to Shenzi as a desperate move to buy time for his mother and Uncle Max as they dig a tunnel, which she turns down, becoming more and more disgusted at his proposal. Banzai seems to realize Timon is trying to buy time for something, and says, "I say we skip the wedding and get straight to the buffet!" However, this has bought just enough time and the hyenas then fall into the tunnel and were defeated by them.
The three hyenas made occasional appearances in the TV series The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa. While Jim Cummings reprised his role as Ed, Tress MacNeille and Rob Paulsen replaced Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin as Shenzi and Banzai. While still as vicious and threatening as they are in the movie, the hyenas become more neutral as the show progresses. Though they are at first shown to be more dim-witted in comparison to the original film, they become wiser near the end of their first appearance and in later episodes, often coming up with clever ways to get their meal, though many of them end in failure.
The hyenas have their own segments titled "The Laughing Hyenas", which involve the trio searching for food after running away from the Pride Lands. Outside of their own segments, they appeared in flashbacks in "Doubt of Africa" and "Once Upon a Timon" and made a non-speaking appearance in "Space Ham".
In “Cooked Goose”, two snooty cheetahs, Cheetato and Cheetata, have found that the Hyena Trio is disturbing their hunts, so they decide to send them on wild goose chases to get them out of the way. First, they try giving them a treasure map where X marks the spot, but the hyenas don't know how you spell 'X'. Then they try catapulting the hyenas via Serengeti Shuttle into a volcano, but the hyenas just come back, suspicious about the lack of seatbelts, airbags, and lack of peanuts. Finally, they decide to split the hyenas up, telling each one that they are the brains of the bunch and giving them directions to the North Pole. Unfortunately, the hyenas meet up there and realize they've been conned. Back in the Serengeti, they find the Cheetahs again, who are so stuffed from eating that they cannot outrun the hyenas. Just as the hyenas are about to eat them, a wild goose arrives and asks them which way is south, as he's headed for a wild goose convention. The five of them direct him, then chase him.
In “Big Top Breakfast”, the hyenas are walking along, complaining about how hungry they are. Banzai comments that he's so hungry he could eat a circus monkey, and a crate with Simon the circus monkey on it lands on the three of them. They promptly start arguing about who gets to eat him, allowing him to escape. Shenzi suggests that they pretend to be monkeys and hide in a barrel, and Banzai suggests that "Hey, we can build an environment suitable and comfortable for all species in the class known as Chimpanzee." Ed, however, discovers that the crate the monkey landed with is full of circus stuff. Shenzi promptly constructs an elaborate circus, and posing as ringmaster, gets Simon to dive into their cooking pot. He breaks out and hides in a circus cannon, which Banzai fires. The cannon explodes and the hyenas are left charred and monkey-less. Banzai complains that he is so hungry that he could eat a blue whale, and one promptly lands on the three of them.
In “Can't Take a Yolk”, Shenzi wakes up and wakes up Banzai, who wakes up Ed. While Banzai and Ed fight, Shenzi spots a mother ostrich nursing an egg and persuades Banzai that the egg would make an excellent breakfast. First, they attempt to creep up on the egg but find it's heavily alarming. Then they try to crush the mother ostrich with a large rock but get crushed themselves. Then they try to tunnel up under the egg, but end up tunneling to China, and get crushed by a cart. Then they redirect an elephant to crush both mother and egg but get crushed by the elephant. Finally, Shenzi has them disguise themselves as ostriches and persuades the mother to put her head in the sand, while they steal the egg and substitute a rock. However, as they argue over who gets to eat the egg, it hatches into a huge ostrich, and they are knocked into a canyon and squashed by a large rock.
In “TV Dinner”, The hyenas observe a nature documentary made about an armadillo in the Serengeti. The three of them decide that they too can be stars and get great meals. For the host Martin Pardon, Shenzi demonstrates ballet dancing, Banzai performs a singing act and Ed attempts slapstick comedy, but they are turned down abruptly. When the armadillo gets a movie deal, they are offered jobs but decide that they'd rather be directors and have Martin Pardon for lunch.
Whilst the hyena trio do not return for the 2015-2019 sequel series to the original film, they are heavily alluded multiple times. According to a promotional video for The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, Janja, and his clan (who serve as the main antagonists of the first season) are descendants of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's clan. In addition, in a teaser for the pilot episode, a cave painting of Scar and the hyenas ruling the Pride Lands are also shown. Much like their ancestors, Janja's clan is greedy and over-hunts, and makes numerous schemes to kill the Lion Guard and take over the Pride Lands.
In Season 2, the original hyenas are referenced more, both through paintings of them with Scar, and through mentions by the characters although the trio is not specifically named or referenced to. Janja is apparently unaware of the cause of Scar's death, believing he burned alive during his fight with Simba at Pride Rock, and later decide to summon Scar's ghost in order to battle the Pride Lands. In The Scorpion's Sting, when Bunga and Makini argue over the cause of Scar's defeat, Bunga shows a painting of Timon and Pumbaa distracting the hyenas with their hula dance, which he claims to be the reason why Simba was able to get to Scar (which is technically correct considering the battle between Timon and the hyenas in the third film).
In the third and final season of the series, Janja and his clan are betrayed by Scar, similarly to how he betrayed Shenzi's clan, and they reform and join forces with Kion to help defeat him once and for all.
They appear in the 2019 photorealistic remake. In this film, Ed is renamed Azizi while Banzai (despite his name also being African) is renamed Kamari. While Azizi and Kamari's roles are largely the same as their originals, Shenzi is portrayed as a serious leader and doesn't have any trace of the comical side of her original. Shenzi's position as the matriarch of her group is also shown clearly to the point that Azizi and Kamari fear her (the novelization based on the film's plot also describes her as a hyena queen). She is also far more defiant, openly declaring that Mufasa doesn't rule over her and doesn't hesitate to try to eat Simba and Nala despite being warned by Zazu that doing so would mean starting a war against Mufasa, reasoning that the hyenas and lions have always been at war. However, she's still smart enough to know how strong Mufasa is, so she lets him go when he rescues Simba and Nala so as to not jeopardize her clan's safety. Also, there is a running gag in the film where Azizi has a personal space issue with Kamari and keeps getting too close to him.
Unlike in the original, the hyenas are not allied with Scar from the very beginning. They started an alliance with Scar only after Scar personally came to the Elephant Graveyard and revealed his plan to overthrow Mufasa with a promise that the hyenas will be allowed to hunt in the Pride Lands. Following Scar's plan, Shenzi and the others start the stampede that resulted with Mufasa's death and chase after Simba who survived. Instead of falling and running through a thornbush, Simba falls off a cliff. Shenzi orders the boys to go down and make sure he's dead, then she wanders off. Too afraid to go down the cliff and believe that no cub would be able to survive that fall, Kamari and Azizi decide to tell Shenzi and Scar that they ate Simba. However, Simba is shown to have survived the fall much to the hyenas' lies.
After the hyenas begin to live in the Pride Lands, they became Scar's personal hunting group, with Scar himself leading them, while the lionesses can only watch from the Pride Rock. Overhunting for years, the Pride Lands became a wasteland with most of the surviving herds leaving the Pride Lands in a disastrous famine. Kamari and Azizi later chase Zazu and banish him from the Pride Lands while Shenzi takes Sarabi to talk to Scar about his kingdom's update. To force Sarabi to become his queen so that the lionesses will accept him as king, Scar enforces a law that the lioness can only eat the hyenas' leftovers much to his selfish tyranny.
During the confrontation between Simba and Scar, the hyenas support Scar and defend him when Scar orders Simba and his supporters to be killed. In the ensuing battle, Shenzi spots Nala, whom she failed to eat when they first met, and attacks the lioness as she has been wanting to eat her. Despite being smaller, Shenzi puts up a considerable fight against Nala, but is ultimately overpowered and thrown off the rock. Shenzi survives and she, Kamari, and Azizi race to the top of Pride Rock to assist Scar who has been cornered by Simba. However, when they overhear Scar's attempt to pin the blame of Mufasa's death on them and plan to kill them, they angrily leave to inform the other hyenas that they were being used by Scar.
Furious with his betrayal, the hyenas corner Scar after he is defeated by Simba. Scar tries to reason with them, but they refuse to buy his excuses with Shenzi saying that Scar only ever said one true thing; that a hyena's belly is never full. The hyenas attack Scar, who fights back, but quickly overwhelm him with their superior numbers and eat him alive. After Scar's death, Shenzi, Kamari, and Azizi, along with the whole hyena clan, leave the Pride Lands.
The hyenas made cameo appearances in several House of Mouse episodes. They're notably seen near the beginning of the premiere episode "The Stolen Cartoons".
In "House of Turkey", the hyenas are anxiously waiting to eat Mr. Turkey, but when they learn that he's a guest performer and not an entrée, they briefly try to eat Pumbaa.
In "Donald's Pumbaa Prank", they were seen at their table about to eat Zazu.
In "House of Crime", Shenzi can be seen in a cage along with other villains before they all disappear.
Shenzi and Ed appear in the animated blooper reel featured in the Diamond Edition release of The Lion King. In the special feature, Shenzi is shown showcasing her hyena laugh for a take, while a seemingly annoyed Ed stands by.
In the episode "Scar and Lion King Friends" of Disney Crossy Road: The Animated Series, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are ordered by Scar to capture Simba; they are met with unsuccessful results in their attempts.
In the fifth installment of the saga, Shell Game, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed appear as henchmen to the Overtakers. They are usually guarding important places or objects.
Descendants: Isle of the Lost
Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are among the villains imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost. They are the parents of young hyenas given to the children of the villains (however, it's unclear if the trio fathered the cubs, if just Banzai or Ed fathered the cubs with Shenzi or if they individually mated with other hyenas).
The Lion King: Nature Fun And Learn Series
In this official magazine, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed's ages are revealed in a puzzle. At the beginning of the movie, Shenzi is 2 years old while Banzai and Ed are 3. Following hyena social and biological habits, females become pregnant with one or two cubs every other year, and males migrate from their birth clans at maturity and spend several months wandering to find a new clan, while the females remain. This means Shenzi is not related to Banzai or Ed, and they must have only recently joined the hyena clan. Additionally, Shenzi must have only very recently have become the Matriarch, having only just reached sexual maturity herself, which might explain why she accepted Scar's offer of an alliance.
In one story it is told that the hyenas guard the borders of the Pride Lands, and they are diverted by monkeys throwing rotten fruit so that Nala can escape finding help. In another, it is said that there was a flash flood during Scar's reign that briefly trapped Shenzi.
While hyenas were a common enemy in the Lion King SNES release, none of the hyenas fought were Shenzi, Banzai, or Ed. Even the end-of-level boss hyena on the first level was not one of them. Once defeated, each hyena performed Ed's drooling 'salute' briefly before collapsing, but these hyenas lacked Ed's bitten ears.
Banzai appears at the end of the "Simba's Exile" level, but only to deliver his line "If you ever come back, we'll kill ya!"
Ed appears in the "Shadowlands" section, mostly in two of its games: the Xylobone (he serves sometimes as the player's opponent, or he may let him or her play it freely) and the Stone Card Matching game (as one of three possible movie-exclusive character opponents, the other two being Simba and Nala). He also seems to appear in the maze game, but no hyena is ever specified there.
The hyenas first appear in the "Graveyard" level, chasing Simba as he tries to escape the elephant graveyard. At the end of the level, all three must be defeated before the player can win. The hyenas later appear in the "Return of the King" level, trying to prevent Simba from reaching Scar.
In this video game, Kingdom Hearts II, the trio play a relatively minor role in their homeworld "The Pride Lands", where it largely follows the story of the film.
In the game, the trio and the Clan are desperate for food and try to eat Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Banzai almost killed Sora but were stopped when Scar roared. The hyena trio ran off to Scar to see what he wanted along with the other hyenas.
The hyena trio is seen once again at Pride Rock and was about to attack them, but Scar roared then the hyena trio looked up and saw Scar and Pete. When Nala knocked down Scar and told Sora, Donald, and Goofy to run, the three heroes ran with Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, and the other hyenas in pursuit. Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Nala managed to get away from the hyenas. The hyena trio is later seen again at Pride Rock preventing Simba from getting to Scar. Sora then told Simba to go after Scar while his friends handle the hyenas. Timon and Pumbaa knocked the hyenas into the air but they were chased into Pride Rock by the hyena trio and the other hyenas. Sora, Donald, and Goofy battled the hyena trio inside Pride Rock. The trio was easily defeated and ran out of Pride Rock.
Later on in the game, the trio of hyenas have fought again for information on the source of Scar's ghost. They know nothing of the ghost and taunt Simba about it. They also seem to have somewhat of a grudge against Sora, Donald, and Goofy, as it was thanks to their part in overthrowing Scar that they were sent back to the elephant graveyard to only eat scraps.
The hyenas have also made prominent appearances in the musical, having been given more dialogue and a much more expanded role than in the movie. They even appear during the first part of The Madness of King Scar in which Shenzi and Banzai give their complaints to Scar over a shortage of food and water and tell Scar that he is adored. They also have their own song, Chow Down when Simba and Nala enter the Elephant Graveyard.
Appearances by the hyenas at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are extremely rare. In the parks, they walk upright instead of on all four legs. All three have a very awkward-looking hunchback posture.
To date, their most reliable presence has been as part of the Walt Disney World Resort's annual Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party event. They also made appearances during Unleash the Villains in 2014.
The hyenas appear alongside Scar in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. Here, Hades revives Scar from the dead and recruits him in a take-over plot. Scar, needing henchmen to assist him, convinces the hyenas that he is invincible through magic and must obey his commands. They reluctantly agree to do so and are ordered to start an elephant stampede to crush anyone who interferes. Banzai notices the park guests and battles them, but he is quickly defeated. Soon after, the park guests must reveal Scar's lies by injuring him in front of the hyenas. Once Scar's lies are revealed, Shenzi gathers the clan and departs, leaving Scar without aid.
Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed's likenesses are also featured in Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
In 2004, they were featured in The Lion King Carnival event.
They would also appear in Disneyland Paris for the 2013 event Disney Dreamers Everywhere!.
- Although they are officially spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), they have fewer spots, bigger ears and a streak of mane on their back, like striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena).
- Shenzi's position as leader is like hyenas in real life, as they are a matriarchal society. This matriarchy also tends to run in families as cubs of high-ranking hyenas get aggressive hormonal boosts. To have any power, male hyenas must perform services for high-ranking females, implying that Banzai and Ed may be Shenzi's suitors in order to be allowed to hunt and work with her.
- Ernie Sabella, who voiced Pumbaa in the film, originally auditioned for the role of Shenzi. But after Nathan Lane, who previously worked with Sabella on Guys and Dolls and were already good friends, auditioned for the role of Zazu, Lane and Sabella were instead cast as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.
- During the villain song "Be Prepared", Shenzi starts laughing maniacally, and is the first to scream out to the pack, "Long live the king!". The pack then follows her command, proving that she is the Matriarch of the entire pack, not just the primary trio.
- Shenzi was originally going to be male and voiced by Tommy Chong, who is best known for his collaborations with Cheech Marin, who voices Banzai. However, Chong was unavailable when Cheech Marin chose to voice Banzai. Chong would, however, later voice Yax the Yak in Disney's later success, Zootopia.
- In early production of The Lion King, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed were originally supposed to be cape dogs but were later changed to spotted hyenas.
- Ed's behavior seems to suggest that he is either mentally challenged or has some sort of brain damage but his voice actor, Jim Cummings, insists that Ed is more coherent than he looks. This is shown when he tries to inform Shenzi and Banzai that Simba, Nala, and Zazu were escaping after the two got distracted making puns about their prey. At the end of the film during Scar's death, Ed is glaring straight at Scar and doesn't start laughing until Shenzi and Banzai ask him for his opinion on Scar's fate. However, Ed is still not very bright; when Shenzi and Banzai were pretending they didn't know Simba was Mufasa's son, they asked Ed if he knew and he nodded.
- The way Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, and the rest of the hyenas surround Scar is similar to what the wolves from Beauty and the Beast were originally supposed to do to Gaston at the end of the film.
- In the Kingdom Hearts series, Banzai came the closest to killing Sora out of any villains in the series - due to the hero transforming into a lion cub and being unfamiliar with his new anatomy - and was only unable to since Scar called for him and the others.
- According to The Lion King: The Junior Novelization, when Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed finally kill Scar out of revenge for betraying them and the other hyenas, they describe his death as being "a king fit for a meal."
- Ironically, this was a deleted line from the film which Shenzi was supposed to say when they cornered Simba and Nala.
- Other novelizations such as the Mouseworks Novelization omit the Hyenas' role in Scar's death, and instead indicate that Scar merely fell to his death during his fight with Simba.
- In an early script for the climax of The Lion King, Banzai was originally going to be flung onto the ribcage imprisoning Zazu, thus freeing him and allowing him to peck Banzai on the head, then Ed comes to help. The two come close to killing Zazu when Timon and Pumbaa ram them from behind and send them flying to a burning tree, likely to their deaths.
- In early production of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Banzai was slated to return, once again voiced by Cheech Marin, but was allegedly, for unknown reasons, removed from the final cut of the film.
- It has been revealed that Janja (the main antagonist of The Lion King's spin-off series The Lion Guard) and his clan are descendants of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's clan, but it's still never revealed what happened to the previous clan and to Shenzi, Banzai and Ed themselves.
- Just after Shenzi and Banzai are beaten up and tossed out by Pumbaa in response to the latter being called a pig, the three hyenas make whimpering sounds while scrambling to flee in a similar manner to dogs. In actuality, hyenas are not related to dogs despite their canid-like appearances, belonging to the feliform family.
- Banzai's looks appear to be the base for the generic hyenas of the rest of the clan.
- The only line pronounced by Ed which is not a laugh is in the song Be Prepared, when he recites the verse "Our teeth and ambitions are bared" with the other two.
- Ed's voice actor, Jim Cummings, had to replace Jeremy Irons when recording part of that song.
- In the original film, the first time the hyenas faced Mufasa directly was when they tried to devour Simba and Nala (not counting most of the franchise's early literary material, which is often disregarded as non-canonical due to contradictions with further stories).