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This is an alternate ending of the movie The Lion King. Indeed, this was the ending in the earlier production of the movie; however, producers alternated this ending as this first one was too horrific for a Disney Film and letting Scar be mauled by his hyena henchmen was more interesting to Scar's death than simply having him burn to death as he did in this version. Ironically, the final scene was in fact based on an alternate ending of Beauty and the Beast where Gaston was killed by Wolves, which was cut for the same reasons this ending was cut (i.e. it was too graphic for a Disney film).
StorylineIn this early storyboard scene, while Pride Rock is burning and the hyenas battle the lions, Simba battles Scar atop Pride Rock. During their battle, Scar viciously claws Simba in the face, and the impact is so great, that Simba falls backwards. Then, while Simba is on his back, Scar walks towards Simba and says, "This is too easy; why, this is almost as easy as killing your father." Indicating that Scar killed Mufasa and also that he is about to kill Simba as well. Scar acts as if revealing the fact that he killed his brother and Simba's father Mufasa, was something he said by mistake, as indicated when he claimed "the cat's out of the bag". Simba reacts in shock. Before Scar's attempt kill Simba he says, "Goodnight sweet prince." A reference from the Shakespherean play 'Hamlet'. Scar leaps toward Simba preparing to murder him but just as Simba is about to die, he uses his hind legs to shove Scar off of him causing Scar to fall off the edge of Pride Rock. Suddenly Simba hears a cry for help from below. He sees Scar clinging onto the edge of Pride Rock who is trying to avoid falling into the burning flames far below him to his death. It is confirmed that it was indeed Scar who was calling for help as he does so once again. Although Simba is willing to let Scar fall and die, he decides to help him when Scar tells Simba that if he lets him fall he is then a murderer and that he will be no better than Scar, something Scar knows Simba is not. To make his security that much better, Scar even adds that Simba has won, and is now king (which is obviously a lie).
When Simba attempts to help Scar, Scar grabs Simba's mane and dashes him off the edge causing Simba to fall to his apparent death. But just before Simba is about to smash into the burning ground below he lands on a tree, breaking his fall and causing him to hit the ground with lesser impact. As Simba falls onto safe ground, the fire around him begins to spread, so Simba runs for his life, narrowly avoiding the fire. Although to Scar, Simba's survival was too far away to see, to him Simba simply fell until he was too small to see, causing Scar to believe that Simba fell to his death and that he had won. After Scar's evil laugh of victory, he gets consumed by the fire that engulfs Pride Rock, and burns to death.It begins to rain and the rain puts the fire out. After Simba's near death, he goes to see if an unconscious lion is okay. When it is shown that the lion wakes up and smiles at Simba, it can be assumed that the lion is okay. (The lion's name was never revealed).
In this early scene, whether the hyenas ran away, were killed by the lions, or burned to death is unknown. Or whether Scar escaped the flames and lived or just died another way (for example, being mauled by the lions) is also unknown. As well as what happened to the lions, Timon, Zazu, Pumbaa and Rafiki, did they burn to death like Scar? Were they devoured by the hyenas? Did they simply run away from the battlefield and never return? All those questions are unanswered due to the fact that the video to that scene just ends when the unknown lion awakens.
(Scar and Simba battle.)
(Scar claws Simba in the face)
(Simba falls backwards)
Scar: This is too easy. Why it's almost as easy as killing your father.
Scar: Oops. The cat's out of the bag. Oh well, it'll be our little secret.
(Simba is furious)
Scar: Goodnight sweet prince.
(Scar leaps on Simba)
(Simba flips Scar over him)
(Scar hangs onto Pride Rock's edge)
Scar: Help me Simba! Please, help me!
Simba: Why should I?!
Scar: Are you no better than I? You're no murderer Simba. Please! I beg your forgiveness! You won, you're king!
(Simba helps Scar by pulling him to safety)
(Scar grabs Simba by his mane and throws him off Pride Rock)
(Simba nearly falls to his death but smashes into a tree and lands safely. The flames are about to engulf Simba so he runs away to escape them, something he barely accomplishes)
(Scar thinks Simba is dead)
(Flames begin to engulf Pride Rock)
Scar: Hahahaha, Ahhahaha!!!!!!! Ahhahahahaaaa!!!!!!!!
(Flames engulf Scar and burns him to death)
- Although the ending itself was cut, Scar being burned alive was nonetheless implied in the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, in a conversation between Simba and Kovu.
- This is not the only time during development where Scar quotes Hamlet's line of "Goodnight Sweet Prince." He also was originally supposed to say this to Mufasa as his last words before throwing him to the stampede, but it was changed to a sarcastic "Long Live the King" due to it making Scar seem too self-aware.
- Many fans find it somewhat ironic that Scar burning alive was deemed too graphic when other villain deaths, such as Clayton being hanged, Frollo falling into molten copper, and Ursula being impaled, were deemed acceptable.