CHARACTERS - EXTENDED
Simba is the main protaganistic of the film - as a cub he believes in and adores both his father and Scar, his uncle, but is also terribly fond of mischief. At his first appearance in the film, he pesters Mufasa to wake up because he promised to take the young male up to the pinacle of Pride Rock. Eventually, the king wakes and takes Simba to see what his kingdom will be before descending the rock once more to walk through the grasslands, where he tells the juvenile about the Circle of Life and how a king needs to understand it's balance. Zazu halts the stroll to deliver the morning report to Mufasa, after which one of the hornbill's informants literally pops up to warn him of hyenas in the Pride Lands.
Upset that he cannot come, Simba returns to Pride Rock to visit his uncle. When told that the Elephant Graveyard is place where only the bravest lions go, Simba rushes off to tell his best friend Nala about it, then together they manage to loose (temporarily) Zazu, who had been sent to keep an eye out over them. They stumble into hyena territory with a sense of awe and excitement, but turns nervous when Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed appear out from the skull they had been considering climbing. He makes a bid for escape with Nala through the elephant graveyard, slashing Shenzi's face to protect Nala at one point, until they end up trapped in a cave.
Mufasa arrives just in time to defend the cubs and see off the hyenas, but is very disappointed with Simba's actions. Later, as they are walking home, he sends Nala and Zazu off to Pride Rock alone so he can talk to his son, about why he's upset with what his cub has done and how afraid he was for losing him. Snuggling the young prince to him, Mufasa then tells him of the Great Kings of the Past, how they will always be watching over him and help guide him, as will he.
The next day, Simba is out with his uncle Scar, who has lead him to the Pride Lands gorge and promised him that there is a treat for him and his father, a 'marvelous surprise'. Before heading off, Simba asks his uncle if he will like the surprise, to which Scar replies that it's to die for. While the adult lion is off setting his plan to motion, he notices a lizard climb down off the tree he is under and practices roaring at it. His third attempt echoes off the canyon walls, but it does stop there - flakes of stone underneath are rattling and shivering. Simba looks up to see a herd of wildebeest streaming down into the gorge from one of the sloping cliffs, giving him the impression that his roaring started it, before turning and sprinting as fast as he can in the other direction.
Narrowly avoiding being crushed, he climbs a lone tree and grips onto it with all his strength, soon after which Zazu appears with information that Mufasa is coming. He then flies off once more and leaves Simba all alone. Behind him, one of the wildebeest changes direction and collides with the tree, causing it to snap and for the young prince to go flying. A second before Simba can hit the ground, his father leaps out of the stampede and snatches up the cub, before landing and spinning around. He makes a dash back towards the slope he came down and is hit by one of the beest, causing him to cry out and drop Simba. The scared prince looks from left to right nervously while hooves stamp all around him, but Mufasa soon has him again, shortly before one of the herd collapses upon where Simba would have been.
Mufasa places his cub on a flat rock, but gets knocked back down into the stampede. Simba cries out and frantically searches for a sign of him before Mufasa leaps out from the mass of ungulates and lands on the cliff side, his claws digging in. First he slips a little, but then when his father seems to have a good grip, the cub clambers up the rocks to a safer ledge in the gorge. Simba turns around in time to see Mufasa falls backwards off the ledge, crying the word 'No!' at the top of his lungs in unison with his boy. As the herd thins, Simba makes his way back down to the ground of the canyon, then looks about for his dad. Eventually, he spots the still form lying underneath the tree he himself had climbed to get away from the wildebeest.
In one of the most moving scenes of the film, Simba pads over towards the fallen king and noses him, nuzzles him, and even tugs at his ear to try and get him to wake up. Distraught, he runs a few paces away and shouts for help, before slowly returning to Mufasa's side and sliding himself under his father's foreleg, snuggling into the still warm fur with tears in his eyes. Then a familair voice calls his name out softly, nearby. He turns and sees his uncle, who appears both curious and shocked at what Simba had done, before convincing the cub that 'If it weren't for you, he would still be alive'. Crushed with guilt, the poor cub is suggested to by Scar to 'Run away... run away, and never return...'
Turning away from his uncle, Simba runs from the scene with tears in his eyes, but soon finds himself with a pile of rubble blocking the way forward. He then looks back to see Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed coming after him, so he rushes forward and attempts to climb the cascade of stones. Upon reaching the top, he finds himself looking down a sharp incline to a sprawl of briars. Seeing that the hyenas are still after him, he leaps off the ledge he is on, then lands hard on the cliff, tumbling down and down until landing in the pile of thorns. Due to his size, he can navigated them without getting too pricked and comes out the other side onto dry, cracked land. Banzai calls a threat after Simba, warning him that if he comes back, they'll kill him.
We next see Simba lying in the middle of the desert, exhausted, with vultures circling around him. As they descend and get ready to pick at their meal, a warthog-riding meerkat rushes onto screen and scatters the birds. Upon spotting Simba and that he's still alive, the warthog - Pumbaa - urges the meerkat - Timon - that the lion cub should be kept. Simba wakes up from Timon splashing his face with water. After being told that they had saved him, he bids them thanks and tries to head out to the desert once more. Timon and Pumbaa stop and try to reason with him, explaining their philosphy of Hakuna Matata to do so. He follows them back to the jungle and decides to live with them. The next time we see juvenile Simba in the film is in a flash back, at the Battle of Pride Rock.
Juvenile Simba is first seen after Timon and Pumbba have made their new home a little away from Pride Rock, with muffled music blasting away and waking Timon. He charges outside to see what's going on and finds himself at the finale of I Just Can't Wait to be King with Simba atop the pyramid; after it all collapses, the cub can be heard calling 'I'm okay!'
When they next catch up with Simba, it is after scaring away the buzzards. His life in the jungle is expanded here, where the film is paused before going much further by a selection of slides featuring Simba terrorizing the meerkat. During the night scenes featuring juvenile Simba, 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' plays; in the day scenes, 'Jungle Boogie' plays. When the film continues, it is night and the cub wakes Timon because he needs to 'go'. The the scene switches to day, with Simba jumping about the branches of a very high tree while the meerkat tries to tell him off and get him down in the style of a parent., When Simba slips, Pumbaa jumps and lands on Timon to break the cub's fall.
Night again, and Simba wakes Timon. The meerkat assumes he needs to 'go' again, but the cub then meekly explains that he's thirsty so the tired Timon has to go and escort his charge to water. In the day again, Simba is floating happily down a river and Timon is paddling frantically after him. Simba continues floating down, until going right off a waterfall. Pumbaa is waiting on a branch not far down and manages to grab the cub, but not the meerkat, who goes plummetting down. Night once more and Simba wakes Timon for some unknown reason, though the meerkat is shown being exhausted at being woke so often. The last juvenile day is shown with Simba lying on his back, repeatedly batting and kicking Timon into the air like a ball of wool (yarn).
Then at night, Simba awakes Timon to confess he's had a bad dream, but then cheers up greatly at being allowed to sleep atop Pumbaa with the meerkat, wrapping his paw around his more nagging 'parent' as a child would a cuddly toy before falling asleep.
Adult Simba first makes his debut during the song Hakuna Matata, first glimpsed in what has become known as 'the log scene', then properly shown when the chorus starts up once more. After the song, we next catch up with the exiled king lying on his back with Timon and Pumbaa, looking up at the stars. After the comic duo have shared their views on what they think the stars are (Timon guessing fireflies and Pumbaa being scientifically accurate at guessing them to be gigantic balls of burning gass millions of miles away), they persuade a reluctant Simba to tell them his view. He gives in and says that someone once told him that they are the Great Kings of the Past, watching down over them. Met with ridicule and laughter from first the meerkat, then the warthog, Simba pretends to join in but doesn't have the heart. He gets up and leaves the grassy patch they were on and walks to a cliff edge, then gazing up at the stars, flops down onto edge heavily with a sigh, sending milkweed floss flying high into the air.
He next rushes onto screen during the hunting scene, arriving just in time to tackle Nala and prevent her from killing Pumbaa. The two lions fight, swipping and snarling at one another, though it soon turns into a wrestling match. When the lioness flips Simba onto his back in the method his old cubhood friend used to, he calls her name curiously and she retreats, looking bemused. He then explains who he is and realising that she has found the king, the two show their enthusiasm and joy by prancing about, before Timon becomes a little hysterical and prompts Simba to introduce the meerkat and the warthog. Nala reveals in front of the two non-felines that their friend is the rightful king, then as they start to overreact she asks Timon and Pumbaa if they could excuse then (Simba and Nala) for a few minutes. They give in when Simba agrees with Nala, wandering off into the bushes and leaving the leonine friends alone.
Nala appears sad to the male's confusion, then informs him that it's like he's back from the dead, and how he doesn't know how much this would mean to everyone, what it means to her. As she tells him how much she missed him, she nudges her head under his chin in a nuzzle to which her reciprocates tenderly. The two leonines then walk off through a clearing in the trees together and emerge at the top of a waterfall, then descend, Nala just ahead, while they both take in each other's movements. After circling one another around the waterfall, they then move over to a pool so they may drink. When the lioness looks up to find herself being watched, Simba smiles, then runs off past her. Seconds later her returns with a vine in his muzzle, then leaps off the ledge they were drinking from and swings out into the pool, before dropping in. As the king swims underwater back towards his friend, she notices air bubbles on the surface, then she too gets tugged in.
She immediately comes up for a gasp of air, then scrabbles out looking less than amused, pushing Simba in when he does. Nala runs off from the waterfall and out through lush green fields, scattering birds as she is chased then Simba, before they end up in a the jungle again and rear up onto their hindlegs to start batting and pawing at one another. Nala misplaces a paw and ends up falling backwards down a slope, rolling with Simba until he kicks out with his paws and manages for the first time to successfully pounce her. While he chuckles, she leans up to give him a leonine kiss on the cheek, to which he looks down at her in surprise. She smiles in a seductive manner up at him, then after a moment, the king returns it with a smile of his own, then nuzzles into her.
The next scene, Simba and Nala are walking in the jungle and she asks why he doesn't come home - he makes up an excuse, not wanting to reveal his guilt at (or so he thinks) getting his father killed. He ends up saying she won't understand, from where Nala gets more and more shocked at how unlike this Simba is from the one she knew. He comments bitterly that she's starting to sound like his father, then she retorts that it's good that one of them does. They part on angry terms, with Simba marching out of the jungle and into the sweeping grasslands. The lion looks to the sky and shouts that he [Mufasa] said he'd always be there for him, but that he's not. When a strange chanting catches his ear, he turns to spot a mandrill rocking about in a tree, then with an irritated look on his face walks off to log so he can return to being melancholy.
When the water he is gazing into is disturbed by a stone thrown by the shaman, Simba glares up at him and asks him to cut it out. After a brief conversation between the two, Rafiki reveals that he knows the king's name and that he is the son of Mufasa. With a smile, the strange creature manages to run off faster that Simba can and when the lion catches up with the monkey, he is meditating in the lotus position. Rafiki says that he knows Simba's father, the true king lowers his head and corrects him that his father died long ago. Brightening up in a flash, Rafiki says that he is wrong again, then declares that Mufasa is alive, and that he can show him to the youthful male. Disappearing into more jungle, Simba clumsily attempts to keep up, before being stopped at the other side of it, where long grass blocks most of the view.
He tells the lion to look down over the edge, which Simba does. At first he appears amazed and then becomes disappointed, pointing out that it's not his father, just his reflection. Rafiki gently assures him, "No... look harder." before touching the water. The image of Simba ripples and is replaced by one of Mufasa, to which the shaman adds, "You see? He lives in you..." A deep voice rumbles across the sky and Simba looks up as his name is called, to see an enormous silhouette of a lion marching towards him, framed by rolling clouds. Slowly the outline of his features shine a dull blue, then as father and son converse the image becomes clearer. The cloud begin to swirl around the face of the deceased king and the sky behind changes from black to a bright yellow as he intones that Simba must return and take his place in the Circle of Life.
Simba asks how he can go back, that he's not who he used to be. Now, clearly visible in the sky in the colours he was in when alive is King Mufasa, yellow light pouring out from behind him and the clouds swirling around his image. He implores Simba to remember that he is his son, and the one true king. A mixture of awe, shock, and sadness appears on the young lion's face as Mufasa's spirit starts to disappear, retreating into the clouds. Simba gets to his paws and runs after it, calling out for his father, from which they only reply a fading repeat of "Remember..." As the clouds fade away into the horizon the sky lightens a little, then Rafiki catches up with the lion and in his unique way points out how he can either run from the past, or learn from it. Heartened by the lesson, the king bursts into action, running across the grasslands to the whoops of Rafiki as he heads home to the Pride Lands.
When Simba arrives, he is horrified at what has happened to the once green and pleasent lands that are now desolate, grey, and filled with skeletons. He climbs to the top of an incline and looks out over towards Pride Rock, a look of anger in his eyes. Soon he is joined by Nala, then Timon and Pumbaa, who all vouch for sticking with Simba to the end. A grim smile on his features, the rightful king gazes out to his home once more. Once closer to Pride Rock, Simba takes the large amount of hyenas, then prompts Timon and Pumbaa to make a distraction - clearing a path for him. He tells Nala to go round up the lionesses, then arrives in time to see Scar calling his mother up to the promontory. When his uncle gets angry with Sarabi, he slaps her onto the ground and turns in time for lightning to strike, illuminating a growling Simba at the top of a rocky slope.
As Simba leaps down, Scar mistakes him for Mufasa and retreats, but when Sarabi makes the same mistake the golden lion corrects her, telling her that it's him. She speaks his name, then Scar gets his confidence back. When Simba challenges him to step down or fight, the slippery uncle comments that he'd hate to be responsible for the death of a family member. The false king continues to goad and provoke the real one, until making him reveal that Simba is responsible for Mufasa's death. Scar declares his nephew a murderer and starts pressing him towards the edge of the promontory, where he slips at the very tip. The orange lion savours the moment and sinks his claws into Simba's paws, much like he did with the younger lion's father. Thinking that the male is about to be thrown to his doom, Scar whispers that he killed Mufasa.
Simba finds some strength in himself and leaps up, pinning his uncle by the throat. He forces Scar to say what he had whispered so everyone can hear, then the hyenas leap at Simba and get knock him down against the rock. The lionesses leap in to save Simba, who when back up on his paws, goes around after the hyenas while keeping an eye out for the false monarch. A hyena latches onto his neck but is dispatched quickly by Rafiki, freeing him in time to see Scar retreating up Pride Rock, lit up by a bolt of lightning. Simba chases his uncle up the side and slopes of the rock, before leaping out onto the pinnacle as flames shoot up behind him.
Instead of attacking the cornered lion, Simba echoes the advice Scar gave him long ago. "Run... run away, and never return." His uncle agrees, seeming still cautious of his nephew, but tricks the king by then throwing burning embers into his eyes. An intense fight then occurs between the two males, with Simba finally knocked onto his back. As Scar leaps towards him, the floored male seems to remember something, and then kicks upwards into his uncle's gut in a method similar to Nala's pouncing technique. He then rolls over in time to see his uncle lands at the base of Pride Rock, then gets approached and betrayed by the hyenas before they devour him.
As the rain comes down the fire is quenched, and Simba descends Pride Rock to nuzzle his mother and Nala, then hears a rattling sound and looks up to see Rafiki, gesturing to the promontory. Simba turns from his family and walks up to where the mandrill is, then envelops him in a hug reminiscent of Mufasa's during Circle of Life. Then to the looks of awe from his pride and friends, Simba majestically begins to ascend through the rain. At the very tip of the promontory, he looks up and a hole appears in the clouds, revealing a particularly bright star as Mufasa's voice echoes down, "Remember..." Simba's face gains confidence and strength, then unleashes a roar which the rest of the pride reply to.
The camera switches to a full shot of Pride Rock, the grey and dead slowly turning to the green and full of life. It then switches to a clamour of activity at the base of the rock, before moving up to focus on Simba, Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa all standing on the promontory. It focuses on the two leonines, who nuzzle each other before Rafiki turns up, holding a small cub in his arms. Simba and Nala look down to their daughter, shortly before the mandrill steps forward and presents Kiara to the crowd, marking the end of the film.