Shere Khan is the main antagonist of Disney's 1967 film the Jungle Book and its 2003 sequel, and later an anti-hero in both its television series TaleSpin and Jungle Cubs. A powerful, suave Bengal tiger, Shere Khan had nothing but disdain for his victims. His reputation was such that he needed only to show himself to intimidate the inhabitants of the jungle. His only fears were man's gun and fire. The man-cub Mowgli used fire to his advantage in the first film's climactic battle by tying a burning branch to his tail.
As a cub, Shere Khan spoke with an American accent and was best friends with Baloo, Bagheera, King Louie, Hathi, and even Kaa (his future lieutenant; when he grows up). The group went on many adventures. At some undetermined time, Shere Khan developed a strong British accent and became what he was destined to be, a vicious predator. Shere Khan then lost his friends who ended up becoming his arch enemies. Shere Khan's family was killed by man using guns and fire. He then developed a fear of both. Due to the tragedy of what happened to his family, Shere Khan vowed to kill any human that entered his jungle which would lead up to the main plot of the original film. After his humiliation from Mowgli later in life, however, he overcame both fears.
- “Oh, please don't insult my intelligence. It makes me irritable.”
- ―Shere Khan to Kaa[src]
Shere Khan is a large and powerful tiger known for his murderous, cruel, and vicious attitude. Everyone knows he is powerful and he knows it too, leading to an arrogant and boastful personality. He is very sophisticated and suave and shown to be incredibly polite when he wants to, but becomes incredibly dangerous when angered. All animals of the jungle fear Shere Khan and he is often known as the "Lord of the Jungle". The vultures even addressed Khan as "Your highness." His only known fears are man's guns and man's fire, which he overcame in the sequel as the climax took place in a temple surrounded in lava, though he didn't seem to care.
Shere Khan speaks with a British accent and openly thinks highly about himself. But he also has a sympathetic side calling Mowgli a "helpless little lad". He also acts like a British gentleman, saying phrases such as "Good Show".
In the sequel, however, Shere Khan's personality and overall aura takes a somewhat darker turn. Unlike the first film, his polite mannerisms and calm monologues are a rarity, as his bitterness and hatred towards Mowgli drives him to deeper madness, resulting in action being taken much quicker. He's also far more feral in this film; constantly growling, roaring, and losing his control when pestered even slightly.
Before his appearance, Shere Khan is referred to narrowly, indicating his fearsome nature among many. He is first seen stalking a deer as prey. His hunt was ruined when Colonel Hathi came marching by with his heard and scared it away, much to Shere Khan's disgust. After Bagheera stopped them, Shere Khan eavesdropped on their conversation and was delighted when he heard about Mowgli. After they had left, he began his own hunt for Mowgli.
After searching some, he heard Kaa singing and became suspicious. He grabbed Kaa's tail and got him to come down. He questioned Kaa about Mowgli and Kaa acted strangely while answering his questions. Kaa's suspicious behavior prompted Shere Khan to search his coils for Mowgli, but was still not totally fooled when he didn't find him. He told Kaa if he did see him, he was to inform him first before continuing his search.
Later he heard the Vultures singing and investigated the occasion. He then found Mowgli and, after being impressed by his courage, gave him ten seconds to run away. Khan became more and more annoyed when he didn't and tried to kill him after he reached ten. Baloo grabbed his tail before he could and stopped him. After a chase, the Vultures got Mowgli to safety.
Shere Khan then became furious, battled Baloo, and nearly killed him. The Vultures intervened, stopped him before he could, and stalled him while Mowgli tied a burning branch to Khan's tail. Khan then became terrified and tried to put out the fire, but failed. He then fled with burning branch still tied to his tail and burning his back, greatly humiliating him.Baloo left the area with Bagheera in pursuit. He seeks revenge on Mowgli for humiliating him at the climax of the original film and wishes for nothing more than his death. Khan travels to the Man-Village where Mowgli dwells.
He had no luck until he heard Shanti, one of Mowgli's friends, calling him. He then found Mowgli's house and was delighted that he would now have his chance for revenge. He became impatient when Mowgli didn't appear. All at once, Mowgli appeared in the air above the house. After Shanti started screaming about a wild animal, Khan noticed it was Baloo with Mowgli and was surprised. After the villagers responded to Shanti's calls, they saw Shere Khan instead of Baloo and chased him out of the village. Khan was attacked by the villagers with torches but they had no power over him. He escaped in rage but overjoyed to hear that Mowgli is now in the jungle. He encountered Kaa afterwards, who had seen Mowgli. Kaa at first insisted he hadn't, but Shere Khan knew better and intimidated him.
Out of fear, Kaa told Khan to search by the swamp. However, when Khan arrived, Mowgli is nowhere to be found. The vultures return and become uneasy when their newest member Lucky begins to taunt him. After a few "jokes", Shere Khan tricks Lucky into revealing Mowgli's whereabouts. Before Khan leaves, he viciously mauls Lucky as revenge for the annoyance and presumably kills him. Later on he found Shanti and Ranjan and cornered them. Mowgli then appeared to find them and Khan confronted him.
Mowgli ran away and Khan pursued him to a temple in the middle of a pool of lava. After Baloo and Shanti teamed up and started to bang gongs with Mowgli, one fell down revealing Shanti. He then said he would kill her if Mowgli wouldn't come out. Mowgli did and he pursued him and Shanti after knocking Baloo aside. Mowgli and Shanti jumped on to a tiger statue right over a pit of lava with Shere Khan right behind them. Before he could kill them, the statue's head fell off towards the lava. Baloo saved Mowgli and Shanti while Khan fell into the pit. Rather than perishing, he landed of a slab of rock and was trapped underneath the statue's head. Lucky, still alive but lost the feathers on his body and has a bruised right eye, then flew down and started to tease Khan again, much to his annoyance. It's unknown of what happened to him shortly after the events of the film, and especially if he had ever managed to try to escape the volcanic pit unharmed.
Shere Khan appeared in a more anthropomorphic form in the television series TaleSpin. Tony Jay provides his thick, British-accented voice starting from the series, until his death.
Khan is an extremely wealthy businessman who is the dominant economic force in Cape Suzette and an anti-hero. He is sometimes accompanied by an unnamed emaciated tiger "yes-man" office aide. He takes enjoyment out of running small companies out of business (Higher for Hire is sometimes on his hit list) with a sense of ruthlessness to skirt around the law as he chooses. He also likes to feed tiny insects to the many carnivorous plants he grows in his office. He once even hired the Air Pirates to create an artificial oil shortage so he could extort higher prices from the public in "On a Wing and a Bear".
He has a well-armed air force and navy, complete with battleships. This is mainly to protect his shipping and business interests worldwide. However, he is willing to act nobly at times, such as ordering his forces into the air to protect the city from the Air Pirates, and has shown that he respects Baloo's piloting skills, most notably when he allowed Baloo to take over piloting his plane after having all pilots replaced with his own robotic pilots; his plane had been ambushed by the air pirates and the robotic pilot refused to deviate from its flight plan due to its programing causing Baloo to forcefully remove the robot and take control of the plane to evade the air pirates.
He has an extremely cool and calm personality, rarely (if ever) showing any sort of alarm or surprise regardless of the circumstances. In fact, when his plane was attacked by Don Karnage's forces in the incident detailed above, he calmly mixed himself a drink as he explained the situation to Baloo.
This version of Shere Khan also makes a cameo on a mugshot in Bonkers.
Shere Khan appeared as a young cub in the animated series Jungle Cubs. In the series, it was shown that Shere Khan was originally friends with Baloo, Bagheera, Hathi and the others. Shere Khan was more of a bully and cocky in the series rather than a dangerous predator. Khan often tagged along with Baloo and friends on many adventures, usually trying to prove he's braver than they are. In the series, Shere Khan is voiced by Jason Marsden who gives Khan an American accent, while in other appearances, Khan speaks with a British accent.
In spite of being a cub, Khan still holds his intimidating demeanor and continues to strike fear into the hearts of many of the jungle's inhabitants. However, his cocky attitude can get him and his friends into trouble with foes even he's frightened by. Khan prefers to refer to the others as his followers rather than his friends, even though he obviously enjoys spending time with them. Much like an adult, Khan was sometimes found with Kaa often. In one episode, the duo teamed up to take advantage of Louie, after he accidentally injured them. Acting as if they were too injured to do anything themselves, they spent the day bossing the ape around.
In Jungle Cubs: Born to Be Wild DVD, Khan, as an adult, returned to murder Mowgli yet again; however, Baloo was able to throw a beehive onto the tiger's head, having him run off in pain.
Shere Khan appeared in the TV series House of Mouse as a recurring guest, usually seen sitting either alone or with Kaa. In most of his pairings with Kaa he is often seen holding Kaa by the neck, like in the movie.
In his most notable appearance in "The Mouse Who Came to Dinner", Mortimer Mouse was pretending to be the club's critic (which was really Lumière) to have Mickey and friends obey him and when he became annoying, Shere Khan became annoyed as well and quoted "Do you mind?" to which Mortimer replied, "Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do mind, Stripey! Somebody get Tigger's evil twin here a ball of yarn!"
A dish called Shere Khan's Flan, named after the villainous tiger, is mentioned by Goofy in "Rent Day".
In "Dining Goofy", Shere Khan was accidentally given broccoli by Goofy, thus angering the tiger. Soon after Goofy was replaced by advanced technology, Shere Khan's meal order was corrected.
In "Goofy's Menu Magic", when a food shortage occurred, Goofy attempted to serve Shere Khan his shoe for dinner (an apparent reference to the Goofy short "Tiger Trouble"). Shere Khan, however, was unamused.
Despite appearing in the series itself, Shere Khan never appeared in its movie Mickey's House of Villains, as Kaa is the only villain from The Jungle Book to join the Disney Villains, led by Jafar to take over the House of Mouse. However in the opening sequence, a tiger's paw is seen on-screen as the characters are walking towards the club. So it could be possible that only Shere Khan's paw was seen once in the movie.
Live-action appearances1994 live-action film, being portrayed by a real tiger. However, Shere Khan is presented as a more sympathetic character in this film. Khan appears rarely and instead serves as an anti-hero of the film while an arrogant British captain named William Boone (who is played by Cary Elwes) serves as the villain of the film. Unlike the villains in the film, Khan does not kill for sport, and his sole goal is to protect the jungle from those who break its "laws," namely humans who kill animals for fun instead of food. He is described by the narrator of the film as "the jungle's royal keeper," and by Buldeo as the "king of tigers."
At the beginning of the movie, he sees two British guards and a hunter named Buldeo shooting animals for fun, and becomes enraged at this. He roars in his fury, letting the soldiers know he's returned, and proceeds to follow the column of soldiers that the guards and Buldeo are part of. That night, he attacks the humans' camp in revenge for the animals' death, killing the two guards before turning on Buldeo. But before Khan can kill Buldeo, Nathoo (Mowgli's father and the soldiers' guide) shields the hunter. Although Nathoo tells Buldeo to shoot Khan, the ungrateful hunter runs away and abandons Mowgli's father to be killed. Khan's attack is also what led Mowgli to being separated from civilization and living in the jungle. Although he was heard growling when Bagheera found Mowgli, the tiger made no attempts to attack Mowgli at any point over the years.
Shere Khan is not seen again until the second half of the movie. By this time, Mowgli has fallen in love with his childhood friend Katherine "Kitty" Brydon and made an enemy in Captain Boone, who has his henchmen kidnap Kitty to force Mowgli to take them to a treasure. Like before, Khan roars to announce his return, though why he started stalking the group is not revealed (it was possibly to avenge Baloo's earlier shooting by Boone). Two of Boone's henchmen die before Khan catches up to the group, where he scares the villains into splitting up. Once separated, Shere Khan kills Lt. John Wilkins, a henchman of Captain Boone, while Buldeo is buried alive while trying to shoot Mowgli.
After the climactic battle between Mowgli and Boone (ending with Boone being killed by Kaa), Khan and Mowgli meet face to face for the first time. Khan is obviously distrusting of Mowgli (and all humans in general), and attempts to scare him away by roaring in his face, but Mowgli stubbornly roars back and stares Khan down. Seeing Mowgli's courage, Khan develops a newfound respect for him, and begins to see him as a fellow "creature of the jungle." Because of this and the fact that neither broke the jungle law, Shere Khan spares Mowgli and allows him and Kitty to leave peacefully.
Shere Khan is first seen attending the jungle meeting called by Hathi. He then contemplates on who he is going to eat, with his sidekick, Tabaqui, the hyena, telling jokes about it, much to the tiger's annoyance. He then decides to hunt man, claiming to have a craving for "Indian food". He and Tabaqui then ambush some humans visiting the river, but when he is shot at by hunters, he flees and is assumed dead. Years later, he reveals himself alive to the wolf pack and demands that Mowgli be given to him, but Akela refuses, and Shere Khan swears revenge. He is later seen conspiring with the wolf pack bullies about separating Mowgli from the pack, which succeeds. He and Tabaqui then conspire with the chimps about separating Mowgli from Bagheera and Baloo.
Shere Khan is featured as a boss in the game, battling Donald Duck.
The Jungle Book: Rhythm N'Groove
Shere Khan also appears in The Jungle Book: Rhythm N'Groove PlayStation 2 game. As the game follows the storyline of the original film, Shere Khan's goal is the same as the film. However, Khan appears much earlier in the game.
A Shere Khan costume is available to buy on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for the Jungle Book costume pack including the world and characters based on the film.
Shere Khan makes no live appearances at the parks and only appears as apart of parade floats inspired by The Jungle Book. He also appears on several merchandise.
At Disney's Animal Kingdom, Shere Khan played the role as main antagonist in Journey into the Jungle Book and preys upon Mowgli trying to do away with him as he did in the film.
- "It's me Shere Khan. I'd like a word with you if you don't mind."
- "Yes, isn't it?"
- "Thank you for detaining my victim!"
- "Element of surprise? Oh I say. And now for my rendezvous with the little lost man cub."
- "What a pity"
- "No, no I can't be bothered. I've no time for that sort of nonsense"
- "Bravo, bravo, an extraordinary performance."
- "You have spirit for one so small, and such spirit is deserving of a sporting chance."
- "Now I'm going to close my eyes and count to ten. It makes the chase more interesting, for me. 1, 2, 3, 4... You're trying my patience. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!"
- (first lines) "What beastly luck. Confound that ridiculous Colonel Hathi"
- "How interesting."
- "How delightful."
- "I just dropped by. Now forgive me if I've interrupted anything"
- "Where is he?"
- "The man cub Mowgli. I know you know."
- "That snake lied to me."
- "Oh please, don't insult my intelligence, it makes me irritable.
- "I know where he isn't. Now tell me... where. He. Is!"
- "Well, if you do happen to see the man cub, you will inform me first. Understand?"
- "I will kill you for this."
- "He better be for your sake."
- "Well isn't this a delightful turn of events"
- "You seem surprised to see me. I can't think why. I wasn't going to let you get away for what you did to me"
- "But you were singing to someone. Who is it Kaa?"
- "That's an excellent idea. I'm sure you wouldn't mind showing me your coils, would you Kaa?"
Differences from the original character
- In the original stories he is nicknamed "The Lame One" and has a crippled leg but in the films he has no lameness
- The only animal who looks up to him in the stories is Tabaqui but no one does in the films
- He believes himself to be the rightful lord of the jungle in the stories but in the film he is called "Lord of the Jungle" by the vultures and does not see himself as the Lord of the Jungle
- Although Shere Khan was killed off in the end of the book, he was not killed off in the end of original film. Instead he was humiliated in the original film.
- Shere Khan seems to be the only character (besides Kaa himself) who is immune to Kaa's hypnosis, as when Kaa attempted to do so with Shere Khan in the first film like he had with Mowgli and Bagheera, Khan simply ignored him.
- The Shere Khan depicted in TaleSpin has a similairty to the Animalia villain Tyrannicus Tiger, due to the fact they are both tigers but also dress in human clothing.
- In the second film, it is revealed that Shere Khan now knows Mowgli's name. It is unknown how he learned this, although it could be that he heard Baloo mention Mowgli's name in the final battle scene in the first film.
- In the original book by Rudyard Kipling, Shere Khan had a crippled leg and was killed by a stampede of cattle organized by Mowgli and his wolf brothers.
- Originally Shere Khan was actually going to die when Mowgli accidentally shoots him in the head by stepping on the trigger of a shotgun belonging to a hunter that Khan has just killed.
- In House of Mouse episode The Mouse Who Came to Dinner, Mortimer Mouse called Shere Khan "Tigger's evil twin", although it's never really mentioned if the two are family or not. However, it's unlikely as Shere Khan is a real tiger, whereas Tigger is a stuffed animal tiger.
- In the Arabic dub of The Jungle Book 2, the voice actor who played Shere Khan, Khaled Al-Sawi, also was the 2nd voice actor for Tigger.
- According to songwriter Richard M. Sherman, Bill Lee of The Mellomen sings Shere Khan's part in "That's What Friends are For", due to George Sanders not being available. According to the liner notes in The Jungle Book (soundtrack), fellow Mellomen member Thurl Ravenscroft provides the singing for Shere Khan, not Bill Lee.
- Candy Candido supplies Shere Khan's roaring in The Jungle Book, Clarence Nash (Donald Duck's original voice actor) on the other hand provides Shere Khan's meowing at some instances of the film, particularly when his tail is on fire. Currently, his roars are from a real tiger.
- Shere Khan is a Bengal tiger and they prey on sloth bears, so it actually makes sense for Baloo to be one of his enemies.
- Animator Mit Kahl used the films Jungle Cat and A Tiger Walks as references for the way Shere Khan walks. These same references would also be used for Bagheera as well.
- Shere Khan's big chin is actually based on George Sanders's.
- Shere Khan's animation was used as a reference for characters from The Lion King, particularly Scar .
- In The Jungle Book 2, Talespin and House of Mouse, Khan was voiced by Tony Jay who also voiced fellow villain Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- In Jungle Cubs, the young Khan was voiced by Jason Marsden who voices protagonists Max Goof and Kovu.
- Shere Khan's growls are similar to The Bear from The Fox and the Hound or Brutus and Nero the Crocodiles from The Rescuers.
- Contrary to popular belief, Shere Khan does not have Kaa as his henchman as the snake does none of the tiger's evil bidding, and the two apparently dislike each other.
- Shere Khan (more specifically the George Saunders version) was cited to be the inspiration of Richard Waugh's voice for Albert Wesker in the Resident Evil series.
- In the planned third installment of the Jungle Book franchise, Shere Khan was to have escaped from the statue at the beginning of the movie, and end up captured alongside Baloo and forced into a circus environment. During this time, Shere Khan will also end up regretting his actions from the previous two films and intend to reform as Mowgli and the other animals attempt to rescue them. However, due to the Jungle Book 2's poor sales, it was scrapped. If it was released, he would have been voiced by his current voiceactor Corey Burton since Jay's death.
- It's unknown how Baloo and friends became enemies with Shere Khan as they got older.
- It is also unknown how he lost his Mom and/or Dad, possibly hunted down by humans and this was the cause for his hatred of humans.
- Ironically, the word Shere (or "shir") translates as "tiger" or "lion" in Persian, Hindi, and Punjabi, and Khan translates as "sovereign," "king", or "military leader" and so forth in a number of languages influenced by the Mongols, including Pashto.
- Shere Khan is one of few villains who has sympathy for his victims.
- Though Bagheera, Colonel Hathi and the Jungle Patrol are Shere Khan's enemies they never interact with each other.
- During the fight between Mowgli and Shere Khan it is ironic that Mowgli calls the tiger a bully as he bullied Bagheera when he was a cub.
- He is the only Disney villain whose voice has been taken over by Tony Jay.
- When Shere Khan leaps at Mowgli in the first film there is an error. He has a brief goatee but in the film he is shown not to have one.
Similarities with other Disney villains
- Scar: they are both the primary antagonist and voiced by British actors and they both have the same goal of killing the protagonist (Scar: Simba, Shere Kahn: Mowgli) but fail, as well as the fact they are both big cats, Scar being a lion and Shere Khan being a tiger and similar to Zira and Ratigan (who died as a result) and Maleficent (who just got stabbed in the heart) listed below, both of their defeats result in falling. However there is a difference. Although both are voiced by British actors, Shere Khan has a more formal British accent and when Scar falls, he is killed by the hyenas, and when Shere Kahn falls, he survives and his trapped in a giant statue in the shape of a tiger's head. Before they tried to kill who support main protagonist (Baloo, and Mufasa), they have comment (Shere Khan: "I'll kill you for this", Scar: "Long live the king"). Interesting enough, in the Spanish dub, both were voiced by Carlos Petrel.
- Zira: Whilst they are the main antagonist they have a quality that not many other villains have. Zira actually loves her family and Shere Kahn is sympathetic toward his victims calling Mowgli "the helpless little lad". They also hate a certain group (Zira, Pridelanders; Shere Kahn, humans). In the climax, their defeats result in falling (Zira gets washed away in a raging river and drowns while Shere Kahn survives and gets trapped in a giant statue in the shape of a tiger's head).
- Claude Frollo: Both were voiced by Tony Jay and currently by Corey Burton. Also, both have a hatred (Shere Khan for humans. Frollo, gypsies) as well both fell down to where it is burning, but Shere Khan survived his fall.
- Maleficent: Both villains are the main antagonist and have elegent grace most of the time, and their goal is to kill a character same to their gender (Maleficent, Aurora: Shere Kahn, Mowgli) which cause wise characters same to their gender (Flora, Fauna and Merryweather in Maleficent's case, Bagheera in Shere Kahn's case) to take them someplace safe (Aurora's Cottage in Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather's case, Man Village in Bagheera's case) and it causes Aurora and Mowgli to be unhappy about leaving a certain home (Aurora's cottage in her case; the Jungle in Mowgli's case).
- Ronno: They both are the main antagonist of their second film and hate the protagonist of their films (Shere Kahn, Mowgli; Ronno, Bambi). As their first defeat, both villains get things on them, and run off (for Shere Khan, was scared away by fire, for Ronno, bitten on the nose by a snapping turtle). Then results in falling (for Shere Khan, in the sequel, for Ronno, in the original movie). Also, when they were children, they both arrogant and bully, also they had only one family member (Shere Kahn, his grandmother; Ronno, his mom), then when they were adolescent or adult reformed to be murderous. Ironically, at the beginning, Shere Khan wasn't the villain because he became friends with Baloo, Bagheera, King Louie, Kaa, and Colonel Hathi, whilst Ronno was the villain because he was teasing Bambi.
- Jafar: they both have the same goal of killing the protagonist (Jafar; Aladdin: Shere Kahn; Mowgli) but fail and are the main antagonist in the first film and it's sequel as well. They are also inspirations for Scar. They share this similarity with Ronno.
- Edgar Balthazar and Governor Ratcliffe: Both are the main antagonist and do not interact with the protagonist at the start (Shere Kahn, Mowgli; Edgar Balthazar, Thomas O'Malley; Ratcliffe, Pocahontas).
- Prince John: Both villains interact with snakes (Kaa in Shere Khan's case, and Sir Hiss in Prince John's case).
- The Sheriff of Nottingham: they both speak with thick, heavy accents
- Ratigan: They both have a goal on killing the protagonist (Shere Kahn; Mowgli, Ratigan; Basil) and in the climax, they start to claw a main character to death (Shere Kahn, Baloo: Ratigan, Basil).
- Buster and Riley: they are all misanthropic the only difference being that Riley is a hero.
Notes and references
Characters: Baloo | Kit Cloudkicker | Rebecca Cunningham | Molly Cunningham | Wildcat | Louie | Bandar-log | Shere Khan | Don Karnage | Air Pirates | Ivanod Spigot | Sergeant Dunder | Ace London | Trader Moe | Thaddeus E. Klang | Kitten Kaboodle | Ignatius | Captain William Stansbury | Dr. Zibaldo | Joe Magee | Buffy and Muffy Vanderschmere | Douglas Benson | Chancellor Trample | Owl Capone | Professor Martin Torque | Seymour | Covington