- “As Mufasa's brother, Scar was next in line to take the throne until Simba came along. Scar's lack of physical prowess is more than made up for by his devious cunning as he plots to take back his birthright with his henchman hyenas by his side. He is a selfish and greedy leader, nearly destroying the pride and the land in which they lived.”
- ―Scar's official synopsis
Scar is the main antagonist of Disney's 1994 animated feature film, The Lion King. He was the second son of Ahadi and Uru—who were, at one time, King and Queen of the Pride Lands—the younger brother of Mufasa, and the uncle of Simba.
He is a primary member of the Disney Villains franchise.
As revealed in "A Tale of Two Brothers", Scar was once named Taka, and had become upset when he learned that his older brother Mufasa was chosen to be king over himself. He wanders off to talk to three hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, who tell him that if Mufasa is made to look like a failure, then he will look kingly in comparison and soon take the throne.
This leads to Taka tricking his brother into going down to the waterhole, where a Cape buffalo called Boma is refusing to share the water with the rest of The Pride Lands which, at the time, is having a terrible drought.
While there Mufasa starts to try to reason with Boma, and Taka roars and tells Boma that he must move by order of the Lion King, or fight Mufasa, Boma then charges out of the water at Mufasa. Mufasa escapes with the aid of an ape called Rafiki, and Boma goes after Taka instead.
Mufasa runs back and finds Taka being attacked by Boma's herd. A large buffalo slashes Taka with his horns, causing him to be knocked unconscious. Mufasa leaps in to save his brother and the buffaloes prepare to attack again. Before they can do so, King Ahadi, father of Taka and Mufasa, appears with a large herd of animals that surrounds the Buffaloes. It was during this attack that Taka got a scar on his eye, and renamed himself Scar, as a reminder of his mistake.
Scar was known to be very resentful of Mufasa and Simba because Simba's birth ruined any chance of him becoming king, suggesting why he envies both Mufasa and Simba. His resentment and anger towards Mufasa was strong enough that, after he usurped Mufasa's place on the throne by murdering him, he outlawed Mufasa's name being uttered, especially not in a favorable light. He seemed to possess somewhat of an inferiority complex, which presumably also acted as another reason for his resentment for Mufasa, as evidenced by his sad resignation to the fact that he was passed over in the gene pool regarding brute strength.
Scar is egotistical and prides himself on his intelligence, saying "As far as brains go, I got the lion share" and was somewhat of a narcissist, the latter trait being especially prevalent when plotting the murder of Mufasa after the hyenas' failed attempt at murdering Simba at the Elephant Graveyard where he mentions that when he becomes king, they will see him "for the wonder I am." He has some odd quirks that he is aware of, as, when Simba affectionately states "You're so weird," Scar tells Simba "You have no idea" (although this specific line was an intentional in-joke referring to Reversal of Fortune, in which Jeremy Irons utters the same line).
Scar was heavily sardonic, frequently replying to attempts at conversation with sarcasm and subtle insults. After taking over Pride Rock, Scar's overall demeanor took a turn for the worse, becoming somewhat deluded, if not in self-denial, in believing that he is still an efficient ruler despite clear evidence to the contrary, apparently being unwilling to admit even to himself that Mufasa was a better king or finding fault in his own leadership.
He seemed to also develop serious paranoia after Simba returned regarding what Simba was going to do with him, as he attempted to attack Simba after Simba repeated the same words Scar told him when Simba planned to exile Scar for murdering Mufasa due to fear that Simba would pull a similar stunt that Scar himself pulled on Simba after he said those words. In addition, when Simba first revealed himself upon his return to Pride Rock before Scar realized it was Simba, Scar backed away while in disbelief that Mufasa survived, fearful that his role in Mufasa's death would be exposed. Scar was a coward at heart, preferring to run away from violence and manipulate others into fighting his own battles for him although when backed into a corner, he would fight back, although this could also be because he would lose everything if he lost. In the face of his cowardice, he was really strong-willed and determined, defending his throne to his last breath. Scar was highly intelligent as he himself liked to boast, easily able to manipulate situations and conversations to his advantage. However, he was lazy, hedonistic and self-centered, causing him to be a desperate ruler. He liked to pretend to be physically weak stating "When it comes to brute strength, I'm at the shallow end of the gene pool" in order to get his opponents to underestimate him. Despite this, he was actually a fierce fighter who held his own against the bigger and much younger Simba and came very close to killing him. However, Scar will not hesitate to cheat in a fight, as seen when he flings embers into Simba's eyes, temporarily blinding him, to gain the upper paw. Scar was a very charismatic individual, able to inspire the hyenas to follow his cause and gain fanatical loyalty from Zira and her pride of lionesses, even in death.
Regarding his treatment of Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, he was somewhat harsh with them, as evidenced by his berating them regarding their failure to kill Simba, and his angrily throwing them out after they made the mistake of mentioning Mufasa. Despite this, however, he seemed to value them as friends, as evidenced by his remark when he finds the hyenas waiting for him before he realized they intended to kill him for his remarks, as well as his attempts at apologizing to them falling on deaf ears when he realized it was too late to ask for forgiveness.
He was also a sadist, convincing his own nephew he was responsible for Mufasa's death and then taunting him for it further. Despite his negative traits, he did attempt to encourage Zazu to sing a more "bouncy" song, other than "It's a Small World After All", which he apparently finds to be extremely annoying (like a lot of people do in real life), because when Zazu starts to sing it, Scar snaps at him, telling him to stop ("NO, no! Anything but that!").
Scar is elegant and poised, but also unkempt and wild looking. He also speaks with an English accent. He is perhaps the most evidently feline lion in the film, lithe and melanistic in appearance with a sleek, black mane, brownish-orange fur and distinctive, almond-shaped green eyes. He has large, tan paws with long, curving black claws that unlike those of other lions in the film are always bared and never retracted, perhaps alluding to his vicious nature.
Scar also sports a white goatee beard, characteristic of villains, particularly the evil twin archetype which is fitting given his relationship with Mufasa. Finally, Scar has a small, thin, red gash over his left eye, thus earning him his namesake (which happened during his younger days). Some of his physical traits were also based in part on his original voice actor, Jeremy Irons.
Scar remained bitterly jealous of his elder brother, but was allowed to live in the Pride Lands. He did not attend Simba's presentation, much to Mufasa's disgust. During this time, he also tried to eat a mouse, although he was ultimately forced to let the mouse escape when Zazu told him off for missing Simba's presentation, causing Scar to attempt to exact revenge on Zazu by eating him instead until Mufasa interfered, forcing him to spit Zazu out. Scar also implied when Mufasa warned him not to walk away that he might attack Mufasa should he be distracted. He also briefly lamented that he may be cast out of the gene pool anyways before leaving Pride Rock dejected. As some time passed, Scar rapidly became jealous of his nephew Simba's position as the next king of Pride Rock, and started plotting to kill him in order to take out the competition for the throne himself. He started to recruit hyenas, primarily Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, to build an army. He used bribes of food to get them on his side.
The first attempt the hyenas made was to kill Simba after tricking the cub into entering their territory with his best friend, Nala. When Mufasa foiled that plan, Scar saw the whole scene with great unhappiness. Later, Scar admonishes the hyenas for failing to kill Simba, even when it was clear that Simba only survived due to Mufasa's interference. However, he ends up getting the idea to kill both Mufasa and Simba, after feeding them a zebra's leg when Banzai sardonically asked whether Scar should kill Mufasa to get the throne. He promises that under his rule, they will never go hungry again, a promise which he clearly couldn't (and ultimately failed to) keep.
With their help, he engineers a wildebeest stampede meant to kill both Simba and Mufasa, tricking Simba into waiting in a gorge under the notion that Mufasa has a 'marvelous surprise' for him. Scar then sends Mufasa to save Simba. Mufasa manages to save his son and ends up clinging to a cliff where he spots Scar and pleads with his brother to help him. However, Scar instead viciously grips Mufasa's paws with his claws and, grinning evilly, throws his brother off the cliff to his death with the mocking words, "Long live the king".
Scar finds that Simba is still alive, and makes him believe that it is his fault Mufasa is dead. He then convinces Simba to run away, and never return. Scar then sends the hyenas to kill Simba. They fail this task, though Shenzi felt that allowing the cub to flee into the desert would kill him eventually and they would kill him if he did survive and come back. Thus, they let the cub escape, and lied to Scar. Scar then took over the Pride Lands, using the hyena clan as muscle to ensure his reign goes undisputed. Under his rule, the Pride Lands were over-hunted by the hyenas, and the excess of predators drove the herds away, while a drought deprived them of water. Likewise, he also enacts a law that says the subjects can not mention Mufasa at all, especially not in a more favorable light. If they do, he'd kill them.
Even with the hyena clan and the Pride on the brink of starvation, Scar refuses to allow anybody to leave or do anything about it, descending into madness and insisting that he is still a mighty king. He later questions Sarabi, Simba's mother and Mufasa's widowed queen, as to why she and the rest of the lions aren't hunting for food to which she replies there's nothing left and suggests they leave Pride Rock to survive. However, Scar rejects to the idea, in which she tells him that he's sentencing everyone to death. Scar condones to the fact and declares that as king he can do whatever he wants. With Sarabi pushed beyond composure, she openly compares Scar to Mufasa in a condescending manner, angering Scar to the point of violence against Mufasa's widowed queen. Just as this occurred, Simba, alive and well, returns and confronts the anxious Scar, who initially mistakes his nephew for Mufasa's ghost. Simba orders Scar to resign as king or engage in battle for the throne. Knowing he lacks the physical strength for battle as a result of his age, Scar initiates a trial against Simba, blaming him for Mufasa's death in an attempt to turn the pride against him. Simba, still believing it was he who was responsible for his father's death, admits his "crime", allowing Scar to execute him as punishment.
Before he does so, Scar admits to Simba that it was he who was truly responsible for Mufasa's death, enraging the younger lion. Simba furiously tackles Scar and threatens to kill him unless he confesses his crime, and with no other choice, Scar reveals the truth to the observing pride. This leads to a battle in which the lionesses, Timon, Pumbaa, and Rafiki, work together to defeat the hyenas. Scar tries to escape, but Simba corners him on the top of Pride Rock, and Scar, knowing he is not strong enough to defeat Simba, is hesitant to fight. Instead of owning up to his actions, he tries to blame everything on the hyenas, not knowing that Shenzi, Banzai and Ed have followed him and heard him, resulting in them angrily backing away and alerting the defeated hyenas to his betrayal. When Simba chooses to exile Scar rather than kill him, Scar appears to concede, but then blinds his nephew by brushing embers into his face. Scar attacks his nephew and they engage in a fierce fight, the elder lion eventually knocking Simba onto his back.
However, as Scar leaps to deliver the deathblow, Simba uses his hind legs to flip Scar over the edge, sending him flying off Pride Rock and tumbling down the cliff. Scar survives the fall and as he slowly gets to his feet, the hyenas arrive. At first, Scar is relieved to see his "friends," but to his horror, they reveal they overheard Scar blaming his crimes on them, and, in their hunger and vengeance, they begin to surround their treacherous fallen master. Scar begs for mercy and attempts to explain his earlier statements, but the hyenas ignore him; they surround Scar with wide grins and close in, leaping on Scar and viciously mauling him to death, as flames rise around them.
We don't actually see the hyenas kill Scar: as they surround him the camera moves up, and we briefly see the shadows of the hyenas swarming over Scar before the shadows are obscured by flames rising up.
Despite his ultimate demise, Scar maintained the loyalty of the Outsiders, a pride of lionesses led by a lioness named Zira, who were banished to the Outlands by Simba. Zira was fanatically loyal to Scar and intended to install her son Kovu as King of Pride Rock, as he was chosen by Scar to be his heir. They would continue to create trouble for Simba in the following years.
Scar also appeared in Simba's dream. Mufasa clings to the high cliff above the stampede and an adult Simba tries to save his father. However, Scar grabs Simba's paw stopping from reaching him and Mufasa falls off the cliff, Scar morphs into Kovu and throws Simba into stampede. In addition, Scar was also mentioned by Simba when he explains to Kovu the true history of the fight between Scar and him. He also implies during this time that, in addition to the Hyenas exacting revenge on Scar, Scar also ended up burned alive by the wildfire.
In the end, Scar's dying wish would be fulfilled (Kovu becoming the king of the Pride Lands) since Simba would choose Kovu to become king. However, unlike Scar's plan, Kovu ruled for the benefit of all his subjects, and not for his own sake.
In the direct-to-video "parallel film" The Lion King 1½, Scar makes a few brief, non-speaking appearances in the scenes for which he was present in the original Lion King film.
Scar's song, "Be Prepared" is heard briefly as Timon and Pumbaa tour Scar's lair as a possible new home, commenting on how it is quiet, secluded and with no uninvited visitors. The shadows of the goose-stepping hyena army are then seen marching in front of them, though they haven't started singing yet.
He is also mentioned by Nala when tells Timon and Pumbaa that Simba needs their help in order to defeat Scar. Later, he is shown making Simba fall over Pride Rock's peak and fleeing from Simba after admitting he murdered Mufasa, where the hyenas were protecting him. Finally, after Timon, Ma, Pumbaa, and Uncle Max defeat the hyenas, Simba kicks Scar over the side of Pride Rock's summit, into the hole the hyenas fell into, and to his death.
Due to his death, Scar makes no physical appearance in the film, though he appears on a wall mural and is heavily mentioned and alluded to throughout the events that unfold.
A bit of Scar's backstory is also revealed. As part of tradition to all second born children of the Lion King, Scar, when he was younger, served as leader of the Lion Guard; a team of lions who would protect the Pride Lands and the Circle of Life, having had a power called the "Roar of the Elders", which, when used, would cause the previous Kings of the Pride Lands to roar along with him. However, the power went to Scar's head and he vainly believed that with this power, he should be king instead of Mufasa. But when the rest of the Lion Guard refused to help him overthrow Mufasa, Scar furiously used his Roar of the Elders to destroy them. Due to using his powers for evil, Scar lost his power completely and descended into depression, becoming shrivelled and horrible.
Simba's second born son, Kion, is told of this story, and desperately makes an effort to refrain from using his powers for evil, and becoming a dark figure in the vain of his great-uncle.
Cameos and other appearances
Scar makes a few cameos meant for comedy purposes in the animated series Timon and Pumbaa. He is seen when Timon tries to revive Pumbaa's amnesia after being struck by lightning, and when Zazu cleans out his trash can.
In Hercules, Scar makes a cameo as a lion skin briefly worn by Hercules at one point, which in itself was a reference to one of Hercules' twelve labors, which was killing the Nemean Lion. It may also be a reference to a wisecrack made by Zazu in the first film, where he suggested that Scar be made into a throw rug.
In House of Mouse, Scar made few minor cameos. In the episode "Jiminy Cricket", Jiminy used Scar as an example of temptations. At the end of that same episode, Scar was seen aside some of the other guests when they were arguing over Jiminy. In the episode "Ask Von Drake", Scar can be briefly seen being held by Rafiki just as Simba was in the film.
In the animated blooper reel featured in the The Lion King: Diamond Edition special features, Scar makes a cameo appearance, seen botching his line during Simba's climactic trial at Pride Rock.
In the Disney Crossy Road: The Animated Series episode "Hyena Havoc", Scar appears in pursuit of Simba, alongside the hyenas. Simba crosses a road of animals for safety, and Scar orders the hyenas to capture him. Once they fail, Scar attempts to cross the road, himself, though he is comically trampled in the process, humiliating him.
Video game appearances
Scar appeared in this video game as the final boss.
Scar appears as one of the bosses in this video game. He battles Simba and would jump onto a platform to roar, causing rocks to fall towards Simba which he has to dodge before he finally defeats Scar.
Like the cameo in the film Hercules, Scar also makes a cameo as a throw rug in a specific area of the game Hades Challenge. Like before, the cameo also references one of Hercules' twelve labors, specifically his defeating the Nemean Lion.
Largely following the story of the film, Scar is the tyrannical ruler of the Pridelands, after earning his throne through regicide (the murder of King Mufasa and supposedly Prince Simba). At some point, Scar meets Pete, an invader on a quest to dominate the worlds using a legion of demons known as the Heartless. Together, they rule the pride with discipline until Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrive. With little food elsewhere, Scar attempts to devour the trio, only to be stopped by Nala, allowing them to escape. Once they do, they head out to find Simba, who was revealed to be alive by Sora. The group eventually finds him, and together, they return to Pride Rock to battle Scar. The tyrant is forced into revealing he killed Mufasa, and a battle breaks loose, resulting in Scar's demise. However, the darkness of anger and jealously corrupts the lion and revives him in the form of a Heartless, drenching the Pride Lands in darkness, as well. Sora and friends battle Scar, and he's eventually killed off for good.
During the second visit, it's revealed an army of Scar's ghost are haunting the Pridelands. According to Rafiki, the ghosts feed off of Simba's insecurity towards being king. As a manifestation, Scar constantly tortures and taunts the new ruler, until a turn of events prompts Simba to stand up to the demon, finally having the courage necessary to send him off for good. However, the army then come together and converge to create the Groundshaker.
Scar appears as a stained-glass portrait in the Mad Doctor's laboratory along with Maleficent and Captain Hook. There are also two lion statues in the courtyard of Dark Beauty Castle that bare resemblance to Scar.
Scar appears as an unlockable costume character in the game. He is also the boss of the last level of The Lion King universe, where you ride on a train for transportation to battle him with a cannon.
Scar is the main villain in the Broadway musical adaptation of The Lion King. In the original run of the show, in 1997, the character of Scar was portrayed by John Vickery, and is generally portrayed as an intellectual, immature prince, with a heavy hint of comedic elements in an (arguably) more prominent light than his animated counterpart.
Scar's role is also expanded upon with the song "The Madness of King Scar". In it, Scar begins doubting his reign, fearing that he might be losing the respect of the lionesses and indirectly receives an idea from Zazu that he needs a queen to ensure that his family line continues for generations, thus giving him immortality. He attempts to seduce Nala when he chooses her as his queen, promising to share the throne with her, to bear many cubs and to love her dearly, but she rebukes him by scratching his face after realizing what this would truly mean for her. The musical also implies that he might harbor some guilt for murdering Mufasa, as he mentions that Mufasa's ghost kept on haunting him. The musical also implies that his main motives for wanting to become king was due to neglect that he suffered while he was young, especially in comparison to Mufasa.
In the Disney theme parks, Scar's likeness is commonly featured throughout, mostly in merchandise centering the Disney Villains franchise or The Lion King, itself. Other than that, he's actually fairly common in terms of live shows, and makes a limited amount of appearances in some parades.
In World of Color, Scar can be briefly seen in the water projectors and heard vocally throughout a sequence based on the wildebeest stampede from the film. In addition, Scar was featured in the the 2015 rendition of the show, during the brief montage celebrating villains.
Scar plays a role in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. In Adventureland, Scar returns from the dead via Hades and is given a proposition to live forever in exchange for the crystal of the Magic Kingdom. Scar tricks the hyenas into believing he is invincible and forces them to work for him again. However, the park guests prove that Scar lied by injuring him in front of the hyenas, prompting them to leave their former boss. Scar decides to battle the guests himself, but is soon defeated. Hades gives Scar a second chance and transforms him into a hellish storm. Scar battles the park guests yet again, but is once again defeated sending him back to the underworld. He was briefly seen in the final battle when he, Hades, and the other villains ended up getting trapped in the crystal of the Magic Kingdom by the park guests.
Scar appears as one of the main villains in the live nighttime spectacular Fantasmic!. In the show Scar is called fourth by The Queen to destroy Mickey Mouse once and for all. In the end, Scar is killed by Mickey along with the other villains. His only line was "Yes, perfect."
Scar's likeness is also featured in Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
In France, Scar was featured on the villains' float in Disney's Once Upon a Dream parade.
Scar appears in the Shanghai resort's production of The Lion King stage musical.
Songs sung by Scar
- Scar is based on Claudius from Hamlet who was a prince who murdered his brother the king for the sake of his throne. However, unlike the completely evil Scar, Claudius had a kind side and genuinely believed that he could make the country a better place and was a highly competent king whereas Scar cared only for himself. Like Scar, Claudius was cunning, intelligent, manipulative, charismatic and cowardly. Unlike the completely evil Scar, Claudius repented from his wrongdoings, but did not reveal the secret about his brother's murder to his nephew.
- Technically, Scar would still be king if he didn't kill Simba, since Simba was too young to be king.
- Scar's birth name Taka is the Swahili word for "want". Fitting considering his desire to rule the Pride Lands.
- He is also similar to the Shakespearean villain Iago from Othello, being sadistic, charming, smooth-talking, bitter, envious and narcissistic.
- While Jeremy Irons voices Scar for most of the movie, he blew out his voice recording "Be Prepared" (Specifically the line "You won't get a sniff without me!"), and the rest of the song is sung by Jim Cummings. Ironically, "Be Prepared" is also where Ed (also voiced by Jim Cummings) has his only line that is not laughter.
- Scar is one of the most popular and favored Disney villains.
- In an original draft for the ending of The Lion King, Scar was to be shown burned alive when Simba hurls him off the ledge, with Scar laughing as he did so (presumably due to completely losing his sanity over losing everything), which also results in Pride Rock's destruction. This ending was cut presumably because of the ending's dark nature for a Disney film. Although it was ultimately cut, Simba's Pride nonetheless implied that fire was partially involved in Scar's death. Ironically, the final version of his death (see below) was based on an alternate ending of Beauty and the Beast that was cut for the same reasons why the original ending was cut.
- Originally, Scar was going to send adult Nala away from Pride Rock because she ignored his romantic approaches, after which she finds Simba alive and well with Timon and Pumbaa. This idea was ultimately abandoned, as sexual harassment (and sexual advances in particular) was considered improper in a family movie at the time. However, the stage musical adaptation includes this plot development as part of director Julie Taymor's efforts to expand the female characters' presence in the story. This deleted scene can be seen in the Blu-ray's special features.
- The same scene, The Madness of King Scar, also gave further credence that he held remorse for murdering Mufasa, where he was often haunted by his ghost a'la Macbeth, something that was subtly implied in the final film itself when Scar initially mistook Simba for Mufasa and backed away in disbelief.
- Originally, Scar would chase Simba out of the Pride Lands himself.
- Originally, Scar would have been a rogue lion who was not related to Mufasa.
- The final version of Scar's death (being killed by the Hyenas in revenge for pinning the blame of Mufasa's murder on them) was based on an original draft for Gaston's demise in Beauty and the Beast, in which the Wolves would have attacked him after surviving the fall from the Beast's castle with a broken leg.
- Scar's death is perhaps one of the most graphic Disney deaths ever, even with the flames obscuring the screen as the hyenas tear him apart with them burning alive as well.
- During Scar's final battle against Simba, Scar actually draws Simba's blood; if you look closely at the scene during when Scar's paw hits Simba's face in slow motion before he knocks him down, drops of blood sprays from Simba's mouth. This makes Scar one of the few Disney villains to physically draw someone's blood in an animated film, along with Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, Dr. Facilier from the Princess and the Frog (he needed a few drops of Naveen's blood to maintain his voodoo spell), Sabor from Tarzan, Shan Yu from Mulan and the Gwythaints from The Black Cauldron.
- Scar apparently hates the song It's a Small World After All, as he tells Zazu "No, no. Anything but that" when he tries to sing it.
- Scar is the first Disney villain to be biologically related to one of the protagonists in the Disney canon. The previous villains such as the Queen and Lady Tremaine were related to the main protagonists only by marriage, and although Ursula was intended to be Ariel's aunt and Belle was originally supposed to have an antagonistic aunt named Marguerite, the concepts relating to them were cut, and in the case of Ursula, it is now only considered semi-canon due to the musical.
- Scar is one of the few Disney villains in the Kingdom Hearts series, and the only Disney villain in Kingdom Hearts II, to not use the Heartless as his minions.
- When he murdered Mufasa, he was originally supposed to say "Good night, sweet prince!" immediately before throwing him off, referring to the Shakespearian play Hamlet. However, it was changed to Scar smugly saying "Long live the king!" to Mufasa because the former line seemed too "self-aware" to be taken seriously. In the alternate ending, Scar also was supposed to say the former line when attempting to finish off Simba.
- Malcolm McDowell and Tim Curry were once considered for the role of Scar.
- Scar's greed for power is very similar to Adolf Hitler when he stands on a cliff and look on his Hyena "army" in "Be Prepared". It shows the classic Nazi-Germany influence with hundreds of "soldiers" on the march when their "dictator" is watching on at the moment of power.