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Character Profiles

Click on any of the small pictures for information and images of that character.


Simba

Nala

Mufasa

Scar

Zazu

Timon

Pumbaa

Sarabi

Rafiki

Hyenas



Character synopses, histories, and relationships are sourced from The Lion King, The Lion King 1 1/2, and the hardcover children's book A Tale of Two Brothers released in 1994 by Disney, written by Alex Simmons. This book is not strictly "canon" anymore, in that some of its content (namely the cub Kopa, Simba and Nala's son) has been contradicted by the release of The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride. However, its accounts of the events prior to the beginning of The Lion King with regard to the origins of Mufasa, Scar, Zazu, and others, remains uncontested. Therefore it is still considered "canon" on those points.

This site shows only the principal named characters from The Lion King. For an authoritative listing of all canon characters from all the Disney movies, TV shows, books, and comics based on the Lion King universe, see the TLK Compleat Character List compiled by Criswell.


The Lion King Characters

Simba
Meaning: lion (Swahili)
Species: Lion

Simba is a rowdy, independent little cub who likes to romp and play. When Simba's father dies, it leaves Simba unsure about who he is. Then Rafiki shows Simba his reflection in a pool and the young lion understands that his father's courage and wisdom are a part of him, too. — © 1994 Skybox


Voices: Jonathan Taylor Thomas (cub)
Matthew Broderick (adult)
Animators (cub): Mark Henn (supervisor)
Tom Bancroft
Broose Johnson
T. Daniel Hofstedt
Danny Wawrzaszek
Animators (adult): Ruben Aquino (supervisor)
Randy Haycock
Joe Ekers
Michael Cedeno
Dale Baer
Lorna Cook
Simba is the only son of Mufasa, the King of the Pride Lands and ruler of Pride Rock. His mother is the Queen Sarabi, and he is the nephew of the King's brother Scar, who sees a political opportunity in the young cub's trust in him. Working to his disadvantage as well as defining his character is Simba's mischievous, adventuresome spirit, which he indulges at every chance with his friend Nala, often getting into trouble from which the King's majordomo Zazu is charged with rescuing him.

Blamed for his father's death in a disastrous wildebeest stampede engineered by Scar and the Hyenas, and exiled to the jungle far from Pride Rock, Simba is befriended by Timon and Pumbaa, the unlikely pair of outcasts living the easy life in the land of crystal waterfalls and tasty bugs. He'd be perfectly happy to live there forever, if not for a chance meeting with Nala that calls him back home to face his destiny.

lionking.org images featuring Simba | Original Fan-Art featuring Simba


Nala
Meaning: gift (Swahili—dubious)
Species: Lion

Every bit as rambunctious as Simba, Nala is ready to go wherever he goes or do whatever he does. Best buddies, the twosome are taken aback when Zazu tells them they are to be married. What a yucky idea! But time changes things, and when they meet again, they realize their friendship has deepened into love. — © 1994 Skybox


Voices: Niketa Calame (cub)
Moira Kelly (adult)
Animators (cub): Aaron Blaise (supervisor)
Animators (adult): Anthony DeRosa (supervisor)
Bob Bryan
Gilda Palinginis
Nala's mother is
Sarafina, one of the pride's lionesses and a friend of Sarabi; the question of who her father is remains one of the mysteries of The Lion King universe (though directors Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers have personally, though reluctantly, acknowledged that it must be either Scar or Mufasa). Nala is a close friend and playmate of Simba, with whom she's never afraid to go exploring or get into mischief.

The Pride's traditions dictate that Nala and Simba will one day be Queen and King together; but when Simba is lost after Mufasa's death, she devotes her life to providing for the pride as the Pride Lands fall into ruin. Scar eventually comes to see Nala as a prize, a Queen to his own throne (a subplot that is more fully explored in the Broadway Musical than in the movie); but she spurns him and chooses instead, in desperation, to leave Pride Rock and search for help from outside. The last thing she expects, though, is to find Simba alive again.

lionking.org images featuring Nala | Original Fan-Art featuring Nala


Mufasa
Meaning: none (proper name; last king of the Bagada people of pre-colonial Kenya)
Species: Lion

Regal, commanding and majestic, Mufasa is a great king with a kind, generous heart. Concerned with teaching his son Simba to be a wise, responsible adult and king, Mufasa can seem a bit stern at times, but it's only because he loves Simba and wants to keep the youngster on the right track. — © 1994 Skybox


Voice: James Earl Jones
Animators: Tony Fucile (supervisor)
Phil Young
Chris Wahl
Brad Kuha
Mufasa's lineage is known only through A Tale of Two Brothers, a children's book published at about the same time as the original 1994 release of The Lion King. In this book, Mufasa's father is named Ahadi, his mother is Uru, and his brother
Scar has the cubhood name of Taka.

As a king and leader, Mufasa holds a deep understanding of the forces that make the Pride Lands balanced and healthy. His duties as King of Pride Rock include managing the hunting by his own pride and other creatures, and resolving disputes over feeding and watering grounds, to ensure the land's resources are not exhausted; he also must patrol the boundaries to drive out interlopers and prevent such crimes as killing for sport. Of course, he's also responsible for raising his son Simba to be a wise king like himself—a responsibility that Simba may not yet be ready for.

Mufasa's greatest weakness is his trust and kindness, for because of it the bitterness and jealousy that Scar feels toward him appears as nothing more than common sibling rivalry. But Mufasa does not suspect his brother of being so consumed by these feelings that he would actually go so far as to plot Mufasa's murder in order to usurp the throne.

lionking.org images featuring Mufasa | Original Fan-Art featuring Mufasa


Scar
Meaning: none (proper name; taken as a nickname after "Taka", or "scar")
Species: Lion

As Mufasa's brother, Scar was next in line for the throne until Simba's birth, and he is obsessed with the need to possess it. Although Scar hides his plot with concern for Simba's safety, this evil, cunning betrayer is really Simba's and Mufasa's enemy-- a fact which the great-hearted Mufasa realizes too late. — © 1994 Skybox


Voice: Jeremy Irons
Animators: Andreas Deja (supervisor)
Doug Frankel
Jean Morel
Mark Koetsier
Alex Williams
The younger brother of King
Mufasa and second son of Ahadi and Uru (as told in A Tale of Two Brothers), Scar was known as Taka until an incident in which he ran afoul of some Cape Buffalo (in a botched attempt to embarrass his brother Mufasa) and was struck on the face with one of their horns. He took the name Scar at the urging of his father to remind himself of the price of pride. However, this lesson is lost on him in later years, once Mufasa becomes king; Scar, ever the more conniving and subtle thinker of the two brothers (though by far the less concerned with the well-being and good governance of the Pride Lands), increasingly becomes convinced that the throne of Pride Rock is his by right. When Simba is born, Scar loses his position in line to inherit the throne from Mufasa; so owing to a pact he had made in his youth with the three Hyenas, he develops a plot to kill his brother and nephew and seize the kingship by force.

lionking.org images featuring Scar | Original Fan-Art featuring Scar


Zazu
Meaning: none (proper name)
Species: Hornbill

Mufasa's trusted advisor, Zazu is a prim and proper hornbill with a strong sense of personal dignity. Although Zazu's feathers can be easily ruffled, he is dedicated to Mufasa. The honorable hornbill would give his right wing for the lion king and stays with the pride through good and bad times. — © 1994 Skybox


Voice: Rowan Atkinson
Animators: Ellen Woodbury (supervisor)
Randy Cartwright
Barry Temple
Michael Swofford
Zazu is the steward and majordomo to the King of Pride Rock, as his family has been since the time of Ahadi, when (as is told in A Tale of Two Brothers) Zazu's mother Zuzu was recommended by
Rafiki to the king's service as a lookout and carrier of messages keeping the king informed of happenings within his lands.

Under the kingship of Mufasa, Zazu's position is one that fills him with pride and courtly manners. It's his job to report to the king on any potential disputes or crises over hunting, feeding, or watering rights, or any encroachment by outsiders who must be driven out of the Pride Lands. He takes this job quite seriously, and even the formal-minded Mufasa finds Zazu's fussiness amusing enough to make him the butt of occasional jokes. Yet Zazu is supremely loyal to the king, taking on all responsibilities without complaint, even when asked to babysit Simba and Nala on their adventures.

lionking.org images featuring Zazu | Original Fan-Art featuring Zazu


Timon
Meaning: none (proper name)
Species: Meerkat

Timon is a hyperactive meerkat with a motor mouth. Whether he's making good-natured jokes at Pumbaa's expense or pitching his free-wheeling lifestyle to Simba, Timon always has a fast line. But behind the patter is a loyal little guy who'd give his last wisecrack to help a friend. — © 1994 Skybox


Voice: Nathan Lane
Animators: Michael Surrey (supervisor)
Brian Ferguson
James Lopez
Mike Show
Once a member of a large and thriving colony of meerkats far from Pride Rock, Timon was never in his element digging and guarding the holes as a unit with his fellow meerkats. One too many incidents in which his daydreaming and misplaced ingenuity brought real danger down upon the colony caused his
Uncle Max to kick him out from the clan. Despite protests from his Ma, Timon set out to seek adventure and fulfillment out in the greater world. After a chance meeting with the mystic mandrill Rafiki, who taught him the feel-good philosophy of hakuna matata, Timon met an unlikely partner in the blundering warthog Pumbaa, with whom he sought for the perfect responsibility-free home. They found it in the jungle that lies across the desert from the Pride Lands, and a steady diet of multicolored bugs kept him and Pumbaa well-fed with no need to hunt or forage.

When Simba is exiled from the Pride Lands following his father's murder, he is rescued from near death from exhaustion by the carefree duo, who pass on to him their "put your behind in your past" philosophy (which fits in perfectly with his need to forget about the ghosts of guilt that haunt him). Simba grows into a kingly lion on the same diet of bugs that Timon and Pumbaa eat, but only the unlooked-for arrival of Nala threatens to bring to an end the fellowship of the three outcasts. Timon refuses to believe there's anything more to life than hakuna matata, but eventually his loyalty to his friends wins him over and he plays an instrumental role in the retaking of Pride Rock.

lionking.org images featuring Timon | Original Fan-Art featuring Timon


Pumbaa
Meaning: dull-witted, stunned (Swahili)
Species: Warthog

A well-padded warthog, Pumbaa is a bit clumsy and dimwitted, but his empathy and intuition make up for his slow thought processes. Sympathetic and warm-hearted, Pumbaa is ready to trust anyone-- even a carnivore like Simba. And when Simba confronts his destiny, the loyal warthog is the first to follow. — © 1994 Skybox


Voice: Ernie Sabella
Animators: Tony Bancroft (supervisor)
Ron Husband
Tim Allen
Dave Pruiksma
The amiable warthog Pumbaa is cursed with the ultimate in social stigma: uncontrollable flatulence. His family background is a mystery, but his story from the point when he meets up with the meerkat
Timon tells us all there is to know about his sad exile from the company of those who can't abide his smell. Dull-witted but packed with common sense, Pumbaa uncomplainingly shoulders the burdens of Timon's selfish quests, as the most important thing to him—surpassing all else—is loyalty to his friends. He wants to be useful, and he wants to be wanted; and what else, aside from his strength, can he offer a friend?

Pumbaa's steadfastness makes him the partner anyone would wish to have when the time comes for Simba, who had been raised by Timon and himself in the luxurious ease of the jungle, to return home to Pride Rock and challenge his usurping uncle Scar. Pumbaa unhesitatingly follows Simba and Nala into battle—for he knows the value of duty, hakuna matata or not. His loyalty to the needs of his friend Simba eventually overpowers Timon into following Pumbaa's honorable example.

lionking.org images featuring Pumbaa | Original Fan-Art featuring Pumbaa


Sarabi
Meaning: mirage (Swahili)
Species: Lion

Sarabi, Mufasa's wife and Simba's mother, is kind, gentle and loving. She's also wise to her little son's tricks. Courageous Sarabi holds her own through Scar's destructive rule, and is proud when her son comes back to battle the evil ruler and claim his rightful place as King.— © 1994 Skybox


Voice: Madge Sinclair
Animators: Russ Edmonds (supervisor)
The head of the lionesses of Pride Rock, Sarabi is the Queen to King
Mufasa and the mother of Simba. She's a responsible mother, watching out for her son and making sure he doesn't get into any trouble that he can't get out of, as well as making sure he keeps clean.

The death of Mufasa all but snuffs out the joy of life from Sarabi, and under the leadership of Scar and the occupying Hyenas, her stolid duty is only to the pride and what remains of the fertile land. Ever defiant to the usurping king, she retains Mufasa's knowledge of the balance of the Circle of Life and tries in vain to make Scar understand the damage he's causing to the Pride Lands; but her advice is unwanted and unheeded by the vindictive usurper. Only the unlooked-for return of Simba stops what surely would have been Sarabi's murder by Scar seeking a scapegoat for his own failures.

lionking.org images featuring Sarabi | Original Fan-Art featuring Sarabi


Rafiki
Meaning: friend (Swahili)
Species: Mandrill

Rafiki, the wise old baboon, is like a tribal medicine man or an ancient shaman. Rafiki travels his own road, sings his own songs and knows what he knows. After anointing newborn Simba, Rafiki wanders off on his mystical way. He returns again to guide Simba back to the path he was meant to follow. — © 1994 Skybox


Voice: Robert Guillaume
Animators: James Baxter (supervisor)
Nobody knows where the old mandrill Rafiki came from, but his quests in search of the secrets bound up in the land and its plants and animals drew him to the Pride Lands in the days of Ahadi, as told in A Tale of Two Brothers. His role in advising the young
Mufasa against mischievous plots by his brother Scar made him a permanent resident of the region, employed as Mufasa's teacher and spiritual guide, and living in a baobab tree within sight of Pride Rock. He is a special guest at the presentation ceremony of the newborn Simba, whom he blesses and shows to the whole assembled population of the Pride Lands; after this, he monitors the young prince's growth and progress with his own mystical arts and the signs he reads in the paintings he makes on the side of his tree.

A ghostly, flitting presence, Rafiki turns up from time to time to dispense wisdom to those in need of it. Timon encounters him at the time of his own exile to be taught of the philosophy of hakuna matata; and later, Rafiki teaches a much different doctrine to the grown Simba, who upon being reunited with Nala must look within himself to discover the meaning of his heritage as the true Lion King and inheritor of Mufasa's throne. Perhaps Rafiki is the only one who truly understands how every creature, in his or her own way, fits into the Circle of Life.

lionking.org images featuring Rafiki | Original Fan-Art featuring Rafiki


Hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed)
Meaning: demon, uncouth (Shenzi); skulk, lurk (Banzai—dubious)
Species: Spotted Hyenas

Always on the lookout for their next meal or an innocent victim to taunt, tease or terrorize, Banzai, the male hyena, and Shenzi, the female, talk and joke while Ed, the third troublemaker, only laughs. When they're not arguing, these three punks can be found doing Scar's dirty work-- which is no laughing matter. — © 1994 Skybox


Voices: Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi)
Cheech Marin (Banzai)
Jim Cummings (Ed)
Animators: David Burgess (supervisor)
Alex Kuperschmidt (supervisor)
Tom Bancroft
Broose Johnson
T. Daniel Hofstedt
Danny Wawrzaszek
Shenzi (the female leader of the pack of hyenas), Banzai (the male), and the moronic Ed are old enough to have terrorized the Pride Lands back in the days of Ahadi, according to A Tale of Two Brothers. In
Scar's youth, the trio struck a pact with the younger lion prince to bring him into their clan, initially to circumvent and undermine the king's restrictions on their hunting for sport, but eventually perhaps because they saw as much opportunity in a partnership with Scar as he did in them. It was the Hyenas who inspired the young Scar's first stirrings of malevolent trickery against his brother Mufasa, and his disinterest with the affairs of ruling (aside from the appeal of its raw power) led him to spend his time growing up among the Hyenas and their destructive schemes.

When it comes time for Scar to move against his brother and nephew, he calls upon the aid of his Hyena henchmen, who by the time of Simba's birth have become lazily subservient to him and his ability to provide food and diversion for them. They're clever enough to be employed in creating a deadly stampede that results in Mufasa's death and Simba's exile, and they are rewarded richly with positions of power and privilege within Scar's kingdom, even surpassing the status of the lionesses of Pride Rock, throughout Scar's destructive reign. However, the Hyenas are also smart enough to realize, when Simba returns for vengeance against Scar, when the usurping king has double-crossed them in an attempt to save his own skin; and they get the last laugh when Scar falls at their feet, cast down and at their mercy. They are not inclined to give him any.

lionking.org images featuring the Hyenas | Original Fan-Art featuring the Hyenas


Web design © 1995-2010 Brian Tiemann | Last revised: Monday, 09-Sep-2013 11:06:47 CDT