Archive from 04.12.00 to 02.16.2003

02.16.2003 "Meerkat Rhapsody"?

Tanabi sends word of an addition to the IMDb page for TLK 1.5:

IMDb has announced that two directors have been hired for a "Meerkat Rhapsody" sequence. This could be the same as "Warthog Rhapsody" or not. My TLK1.5 website @ S&SM ( ) just refers to it as "Warthog Rhapsody/Meerkat Rhapsody", because maybe they just added a little bit to the original song to add some "meerkat" into it. I have no clue.

02.08.2003 Updates on Music and Casting's News page has the following:

'Armstrong' notes that although earlier reports indicated that Lebo M. would be returning to do the songs for the prequel/midquel, S&SM has listed that the movie will have music by Martin Erskine and lyrics by Seth Friedman. The site also reports that a song called "Digga Tunnah" was written for the movie. According to the latest rumors, validated by IMDB, Shaun Flemming (Teacher's Pet) will replace Matt Weinberg as the voice of young Simba.

12.09.2002 Matt Weinberg to play Young Simba

According to the website for the film Spooky House , 12-year-old actor Matt Weinberg will be starring as Young Simba in the new Lion King movie. I guess it stands to reason that Jonathan Taylor Thomas's voice wouldn't work anymore...

11.27.2002 Original TLK writers to pen TLK 1.5?

In April 2000, Walt Disney picked scribes Jeff Ahlholm and Colin Goldman to write the script for Lion King 3, a direct-to-video production. According to Variety, Tom Rogers will also be contributing to the film's script. Plans were to complete production on the pic in time to hit video stores sometime in 2001, but had to be delayed by at least 2 years. Tentatively titled Hakuna Matata then The Lion King One and a Half, this direct-to-video release will tell the story of how Timon and Pumbaa got together. Ernie Sabella (the voice of Pumbaa) revealed in June 2002 that that the writers were now the same as those from the first film [Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton] and that the original cast would be providing the voices once again. Could that mean that the movie will premiere in theaters?

This is apparently an update of the very first piece of rumormongering that we heard (have we ever heard the names Jeff Ahlholm and Colin Goldman without the word "scribes" in front of them?), but the updates-- that the original TLK writing team might now be involved, and that the whole original cast is now back (as happened in Aladdin ), is certainly worth noting...

10.04.2002 Lion King Midquel To Get Theatrical Release?

According to Animagic, Disney is planning to release The Lion King 1 1/2: Hakuna Matata, as a theatrical feature instead of straight-to-video. The project is expected to start production in Australia this month.

So now they're calling it a "midquel". Fine...

If it's a theatrical release, that may mean better production quality than we had to settle for in Simba's Pride . But then again, just because something is made for the big screen doesn't mean it's automatically better quality than TV animation; just look at the Hey Arnold! movie.

09.21.2002 Hakuna Matata Next for Walt Disney Animation Australia

The Sydney studio, which Disney took over in 1988, has mostly made direct-to-video sequels. Its only previous cinema release was the Peter Pan sequel Return to Neverland. Once the new Jungle Book is delivered, the studio will concentrate on The Lion King 1 1/2, which tells the Lion King story from the comical perspective of Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. Rather than a sequel or prequel, this one is being called an "interquel".

"Interquel", huh? Okay, fair enough. Also, there's this bit, titled "Lilo & Stitch A MoneyMaker!":

Co-director Dean Dublois told SMH that the Disney blockbuster cost $80 million to produce: "With the domestic release alone, we're the first film to actually make money since The Lion King," he says. "It's a really positive message for our mission of trying to open the doors towards more quirky and unique storytelling at Disney."


09.19.2003 "Warthog Rhapsody" Storyboard Images

A series of storyboard images, evidently from an edit/work print or animatic of the in-progress material. This does not appear to be the same storyboard sequence as the one that was included in the Deluxe Laserdisc Edition, originally released back in 1995.


09.16.2002  Jim Hill Gives Us An Advance Look at The Lion King 1 1/2: Hakuna Matata!

One of the very best--and most reliable--animation reporters out there, Jim Hill dropped the following informative note to Animated Movies: "Yep, strange as it may sound, Lion King 1 1/2 : Hakuna Matata *IS* the title of the next direct-to-video sequel to The Lion King. At least for now. This new Disney Television Animation project will be set (mostly) during that time period when young Simba was away from the Pridelands. When he was living with Timon & Pumbaa. So expect this film (which will be mostly told in flashback) to reveal how Timon and Pumbaa actually got together as well as show some of the adventures that young Simba had with these two, etc. So what's the real high point of this direct-to-video project? Disney animation fans are finally going to get to see a fully animated version of "Warthog Rhapsody" (Tim Rice & Elton John's first stab at trying to write a comic song for Timon & Pumbaa). Ernie Sarbella gives an absolutely killer vocal performance as Pumbaa in this song. As does Nathan Lane as Timon. The downside of the project?... The Lion King 1 1/2 : Hakuna Matata's story is a bit on the thin side. Not as thin as--perhaps-- Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. But still pretty slight. The upside?... Animation on this project is being done by Disney Television Animation Australia. The very best of Disney's direct-to-video operations. (Why are they the best? Well, the Australians actually *GET* the American sense of humor. So no one has to laboriously explain to the animators there how to properly time out a scene in order to get a laugh back stateside. Too bad that we can't say the same about Disney Television Animation Japan. Disney is constantly sending sequences back to that studio & its satellites to get reworked because the animators there didn't understand a storyboard and--as a result--blew the staging and/or timing of a gag in the movie)."

The image below is also reported to be the official logo for TLK1.5, as it was part of a display booth from the Disneyana Convention Walt Disney Company Showcase at EPCOT in August.

Credit for the picture goes to "Lucky" of The Savannah forum. Thanks for the use of the image!


08.13.2002 Animation Guild Signs Jungle Book, Lion King Contract

The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE (formerly Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists) announced that it has signed a contract with Spaff Animation to work on the upcoming Disney theatrical release Jungle Book II and the direct-to-video sequel Lion King 1 1/2. Spearheaded by accomplished Lead Animator Dave Spafford (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Secret of NIMH, Oliver and Company, The Fox and the Hound), Spaff has been providing animation for films and commercials for 15 years. Animation Guild President Kevin Koch waxes optimistic for local artists, noting to Animation Magazine, "Spaff Animation will be doing work on high-visibility Disney projects that have previously gone to Asia and Australia." He goes on to say, "Dave is proving that Los Angeles artists can compete in cost and quality with Disney's foreign-based animation work."

In other words, Disney is farming out the animation work on TLK1.5 to a third-party contract animation house. I don't think they've ever done this before... and frankly, it can't be good news.

08.01.2002 TLK1.5: From the Warthog's Point of View

According to the IMDB, The Lion King 1 1/2: Hakuna Matata will be released in 2003 and directed by Bradley Raymond (Pocahontas II, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II)... nothing wrong there, until you get to the plot outline: "Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog retell the story of The Lion King, from their own unique perspective." Voice actor Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa) had reported last month that the prequel, to get a Christmas 2003 release, would tell the story of how Timon and Pumbaa met, which makes more sense. Possibly the closing scene will introduce Simba, hence the misunderstanding? Time will tell.

06.10.2002 Ernie Sabella Spills the Beans

The Disney Animation Archive reveals that Ernie Sabella (the voice of Pumbaa) was recently a special guest on Disney Cruise Line's first trip in the Western Carribean. "He signed autographs and was interviewed in the theatre onboard the ship. He talked about the upcoming Lion King movie [a second direct-to-video sequel] where Timon and Pumbaa meet. He says that the writers are the same as those from the original and that the original cast will be providing the voices once again. He wanted footage to be shown but said the company didn't want to show any of the movie yet."

05.18.2002 The Lion King 1 1/2 on IMDB

IMDB, the Internet Movie Database, has a page up for the upcoming "TLK 1 1/2" movie starring Timon and Pumbaa:

03.30.2002 The Lion King One and a Half ?

Reported at :

"I believe 2D is here for a while yet, though I believe we may utilise 3D animation more in 2D," Ian Harrowell commented to In Cinemas. The Disney artist admitted that his favourite animated film of all time was DreamWorks' Shrek -"I love what it says about friendship, true beauty and what a hero is"- and the project he had most fun working on remains An Extremely Goofy Movie . Ian Harrowel went on to reveal that he is currently working on "a movie starring Timon and Pumbaa, currently called Lion King One and a Half ."

12.04.2001 TLK3 Rumored for Christmas Release

Various news sources have obliquely referred to TLK3 as being on schedule for a release in the not-too-distant future. An article in the LA Times , in fact, describes the video as due to be out around Christmas-- though which Christmas is not clear. (Christmas 2001 would be a tight squeeze, given that it's right around the corner.)

05.04.2001 Massive Layoffs at Disney; TLK3 axed

Word from Disney execs and their families is that Disney is responding to a severe falloff in animated movie revenue by scaling back its production teams (giving severe pay cuts and layoffs to even its most celebrated animators, such as Andreas Deja), and striking a number of projects from the drawing boards. It's been strongly suggested that TLK3 is one of those axed projects, and that we won't be seeing it anytime soon, if at all.

04.24.2001 TLK3 at least three video releases away

Word from "the inside" (the TV Animation unit responsible for TLK2) is that TLK3 is indeed in the works, but that Peter Pan 2 is the current project, to be followed by The Jungle Book 2. After that, TLK3 is either first or second in line for production.

Of course this means no work has even begun on the project, and also that its quality will likely be relegated to that of what can only be an uninspiring series of milk-it-for-all-it's-worth sequels.

03.21.2001 Various News Sources Mention TLK3

Lebo M. is working on TLK3, at least as of Jan. 28, 2001; and the Feb. 22, 2001 word on the street is that TLK3 is somewhere on the horizon, if not officially confirmed anywhere. At least, this is what we can glean from news stories popping up in various places on the Web:

Sunday Times (South Africa) article regarding Lebo M. and an oblique reference to TLK3
Article from Orlando Weekly discussing Disney's direct-to-video productions, mentioning TLK3 as being in the production queue

04.17.2000 Lion King could roar again

by Scott Hettrick and Charle Lyons

A second sequel to the best-selling video of all time (It's still got Titanic beat.) and a follow-up to the best-selling made-for-video title of all time, is being considered by Buena Vista Home Entertainment and parent The Walt Disney Studios.

Two first-time writers, Jeff Ahlholm and Colin Goldman, have been hired to write a script for "The Lion King III" along with in-house Disney writer Tom Rogers, under Disney animation execs Sharon Morrill and Brian Snedeker, according to Daily Variety.

04.13.2000 CTV NewsNet Entertainment Report

This video clip confirms the existence of the third Lion King movie, and its status ("being written"). It also mentions a target release date of Christmas 2001.

Download: TLK3-CTV.mpg 7MB

04.12.2000 "Lion King 3" Scribes

Walt Disney has picked scribes Jeff Ahlholm and Colin Goldman to write the script for Lion King 3, a direct-to-video production. According to Variety, Tom Rogers will also be contributing to the film's script. Plans are to complete production on the pic in time to hit video stores sometime next year.