Pumbaa Smith is one of the tritagonists from Disney's 1994 animated feature film the Lion King, a supporting character in its sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and the deuteragonist of its 1995-99 spin-off television series and The Lion King 1½. He is best friends with Timon and later, Simba. He has been voiced by Ernie Sabella in all of his appearances.
Pumbaa is a kind and tough character who deeply cares for his friends and is very protective of Timon. He loves bugs and longs for friends who won't abandon him. He is awkward in crowds, and sometimes displays childlike naivety which is sometimes confused for stupidity. Though Timon would say otherwise, Pumbaa is actually the true brains of the outfit, having both common sense and impressive knowledge over things from nature to science, which he often tries to teach the more dim witted Timon, but to no true avail (as seen in the stargazing scene in "The Lion King" where Pumbaa defines what stars really are). Even so, it's Pumbaa's childish nature that sets the two apart. Whilst Timon can be selfish and greedy, he's still somewhat more mature than Pumbaa, overall, thus explaining why he's the de facto leader of the duo, along with the fact that Pumbaa can be very absent minded at times.
Not only that, Pumbaa isn't without his stereotypical dim witted moments, specifically seen in the television series. For example, in the episode Boara Boara, he mistook a starfish for an oversized snowflake, and in Never Everglades, Pumbaa believed he was the mother of a newly hatched crocodile, despite Timon telling him otherwise for obvious reasons.
Despite his history of being abandoned and mistreated due to his foul smell, Pumbaa has a strong sense of loyalty and devotion towards his friends, particularly seen when Timon's selfishness gets himself into trouble despite Pumbaa's warnings, thus resulting in the warthog having to save the day, still willing to call Timon his closest companion. This is also seen in The Lion King 1½ where Timon refuses to leave for Pride Rock to help Simba, yet Pumbaa, knowing its the right thing, decides to do so despite knowing he could lose his life in the battle against Scar.
After running away from his home in the Pride Lands, Simba passes out due to heat exhaustion. As a flock of buzzards begin to surround Simba's unconscious body, Timon and Pumbaa arrive, scaring the buzzards away as part of their game Bowling for Buzzards. Shortly after the buzzards retreat, Pumbaa spots Simba's body. He asks Timon if they can take him in, but Timon refuses because Simba is a predator. However, Timon begins to see Simba as a personal bodyguard, and decides to take him back to the jungle. At the jungle, Simba awakens and befriends Timon and Pumbaa. They teach him the philosophy of Hakuna Matata, and offers him a spot in their home.
Two years later, Simba has grown up, and developed a close bond with Pumbaa and Timon. Underneath the joy however, Simba's past begins to haunt him, as he feels his father's death was his fault. One day, while bug hunting, Pumbaa is spotted by a hungry lioness and a chase begins. Pumbaa gets stuck in a risen tree root and desperately tries to break free. Timon arrives and attempts to save his friend, but to no avail. Simba suddenly arrives and battles the lioness.
After the battle was over, the lioness reveals herself to be Nala, Simba's childhood friend. Pumbaa and Timon are introduced to her, and learn that Simba is a king, and that his uncle Scar has taken control of his kingdom during his absence. Timon however, feels that Nala will destroy the Hakuna Matata trio, getting Pumbaa to believe so as well. Later on, Pumbaa and Timon are woken up by Nala, who is looking for Simba. Rafiki, Simba's mandrill friend, appears and tells them that Simba has returned home to reclaim his throne. Pumbaa and Timon join, and helps Simba battle Scar's hyena minions. During the fight, Pumbaa comes to Timon and Zazu's rescue, expressing anger when Banzai called him a pig. In the end, Simba reclaims the throne, and Pumbaa and Timon move into Pride Rock.
In The Lion King's second film, Pumbaa, along with Timon, become guardians of Simba and babysitters for Kiara. Pumbaa and Timon act as uncles to Kiara and are given the task of protecting her from danger. It's also obvious that Pumbaa has aged. He has gained weight and gained a darker skin complexion.
During the course of the film, Pumbaa babysits Kiara, adapt to her new friend Kovu and constantly argue with Timon about losing Kiara back and fourth. At the film's battle, Timon uses Pumbaa's gas problem to scare off the villainous outlanders and later Pumbaa celebrates Kiara's wedding alongside Timon and Zazu, while he and Timon burst in tears.
In The Lion King's 3rd film (which is all about Timon and Pumbaa from a long time ago), Pumbaa is the film's deuteragonist. It was explained that Pumbaa was an orphan and mistreated because of his smell. He meets Timon after he was stalking him because he thought Timon being so little shouldn't be out alone. Pumbaa also noted that he came across a dream home that would be perfect for him and Timon which turned out to be the jungle they would soon call home.
When Simba returned to Pride Rock to battle Scar, Pumbaa goes alone after an argument with Timon who believes leaving means giving up all him and Pumbaa searched for. During Pumbaa's journey to Pride Rock, Timon reunites with Pumbaa and they battle the hyenas and save the Pride Lands. Timon and Pumbaa return home with Simba and Timon's meerkat colony to celebrate.
In the television series, he and Timon are once again the main characters, and are shown to travel a lot and had many adventures. These adventures are usually due to the fact that Pumbaa always wants to do the right things all the time. In the series, Pumbaa seems to truly be the brains of the duo while Timon thinks and tells that he is. In the show, it's also shown that Pumbaa is very popular among the jungle and usually gains the chance to live the glamorous life, but gives it up for Timon.
One episode revealed that Pumbaa's last name is Smith. This was likely meant as a joke due to how incredibly common Smith is as a surname. Pumbaa was also a member of a group of warthogs but by the time he was fully grown he was banished because of his smell, which was apparently appalling even by warthog standards.
In the television series, Pumbaa had an uncle whose name was Boaris, and lived in Russia. Apparently, Boaris was really good at ballet, but then, because of Timon, he fell on fish eggs and went to the hospital and Pumbaa was dancing the ballet, but he broke his leg, then Uncle Boaris comes to dance.
In House of Mouse, Pumbaa make numerous appearances as one of the recurring guests. A running gag in the show is when Timon attempts to eat Jiminy Cricket, but is stopped by Pumbaa. In "Timon and Pumbaa", Pumbaa became best friends with Donald Duck after an argument with Timon. Pumbaa wanted to do comedy for their performance on stage but Timon wanted to do magic. In the end they were reunited after Timon took up for him after it was proven he wasn't a very good comedian.
Pumbaa was also once kidnapped by Pete in a plan to stink up the House of Mouse with his fart-gas, but he was rescued by Donald in the end. In "The Three Caballeros, Pumbaa was the only guest to know the third member of the Caballeros was Donald Duck. In "House of Scrooge" - Timon grew tired of Scrooge McDuck's cheap entertainment (His Number One Dime) but Pumbaa wanted to stay because it was shiny.
In one episode, Pumbaa and Timon auditioned for a part as the Genie from Aladdin. In "Not So Goofy", Pumbaa wanted to hear Goofy do his signature holler. Unfortunately for Pumbaa, Goofy was acting sophisticated for the night and doffed the mantle.
In the film Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, Pumbaa informs Timon of what a "humbug" is after hearing Donald being called such, Timon believed it was a meal.
Pumbaa and Timon star in a series of educational shorts, following several guidelines to a safety and healthy life. Much like the television series, Pumbaa acts as the secret brain of the duo, often providing far more information that Timon does. At the end of every episode, Pumbaa suggests (or sometimes beg) that the duo perform a musical number, reflecting all that they've learned in the adventure. Unlike previous appearances, Pumbaa notices Timon's selfishness, laziness, and insults a lot more often and is shown to be easily annoyed by it, though Timon would make up a way to forgive and forget. Pumbaa also takes a more serious tone in the shorts as apposed to other roles. However, he manages to maintain his childlike persona in some episodes most notably in the health episode and at the end when he insists on a musical number.
Timon and Pumbaa make a brief, non-speaking cameo in the animated mini-series' episode One Golden Sun.
Video Game Appearances
He was nearly eaten by Nala like in the film and was captured by Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, though Sora saved him. He and Timon taught Sora, Donald and Goofy about "Hakuna Matata", which means "no worries". He was nervous at the climatic battle against Scar since he was afraid of being eaten by hyenas and the like. Later after Simba reclaimed his kingship, Pumbaa advised Simba to forget his past and showed courage when he protected Nala from Scar's ghost, despite his fear.
Pumbaa is a semi-common character in the Disney parks. He is usually seen in parades and some shows. Pumbaa was also one of the characters that had a lot named for him at the Disneyland parking lot until the remains of the Lion King section of the lot were closed for Disney California Adventure expansion space.
Pumbaa has his own spell card in the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom known as "Pumbaa's Ordures Gas".
Pumbaa makes a cameo appearance in the attraction It's a Small World along with Simba and Timon.
He's also appeared in Fantasmic! at Tokyo Disney Sea in the jungle scene with Simba, Baloo, and King Louie.
At Epcot, Pumbaa and Timon are planning to build a resort that will involve the destruction of the jungle in which they inhabitant. Luckily, Simba enlightens Pumbaa and Timon on how dangerous it is to destroy the environment and how important it is to take care of it.
On the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, Pumbaa and Timon appear as the first Disney characters the three high school graduates; Brandon and Nicole and their best bud, Kayla, meet whilst on their journey. The duo also perform "Hakuna Matata".
- Pumbaa is called a "pig" by both Timon and Simba, but doesn't react negatively either time, most likely because they are his two best friends. In the first film, only when Banzai called Pumbaa a pig, he did react negatively. This was reflected in a couple episodes of the spin-off.
- Along with Timon and Simba, Pumbaa is the most popular and famous character from The Lion King franchise.
- Pumbaa is similar to Flower in Bambi in which at first they both don't have friends, because they both stink.
- Pumbaa has a polar opposite named Bampuu. He makes his first and only appearance in the Timon & Pumbaa series' episode Kenya Be My Friend?.
- In Hunchback of Notre Dame, two men carry a dead warthog that resembles Pumbaa in the Out There number of the film and also later on in the movie as Frollo is standing out on the balcony looking for Quasimodo and Esmeralda. A gargoyle that is shaped like Pumbaa is seen in the sequence of the film where Paris, France is burning.
- Actually, the warthog-shaped gargoyle seen in the climax, contrary to popular belief, is not supposed to represent Pumbaa at all. That's actually a real gargoyle, as pointed out by the filmmakers.
- In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Genie turns into Pumbaa in a scene by saying "Hakuna Matata".
- In Enchanted, Pip accidentally transforms himself momentarily into Pumbaa in the DVD extra "Pip's Predicament: A Pop-Up Adventure". In addition, a warthog resembling Pumbaa can be seen at the end of the film with a bunch of animals who are in line to have their books signed by Pip.
- Pumbaa is the first flatulent Disney character ever in a Disney movie.
- According to a director from the film, Pumbaa was an orphan, since when he was a child, his parents were eaten by cheetahs. He joined a group of warthogs, but his smell was very unappealing, more than a warthog, so he was cast out and lived as an outcast until he met and befriended Timon.
- A mongoose resembling Timon and a boar resembling Pumbaa can be seen during the song "W-I-L-D" from The Jungle Book 2.
- Ernie Sabella jokingly stated once that he's proud to be the first Disney character "to have gas".
- Pumbaa prefers slimy bugs to crunchy.
- Pumbaa has been known to dislike being in big crowds. This is revealed in The Lion King 1 1/2, when he and Timon have to get past the huge herd of animals gathered around Pride Rock to reach the small cave nearby. While in the crowd, Pumbaa expresses a lot of anxiety and timidity, especially when the animals he passes give him glares.
- Pumbaa is one character that defines stars as "balls of gas burning billions of miles away", interestingly another character that made that reference was Princess Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" in her depressed bout with Ray about Evangeline.
- A warthog resembling Pumbaa makes a cameo in The Jungle Book 2, along with a monkey resembling Timon, during the song W-I-L-D.