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Long live the king!
~ Scar to Mufasa before killing him
Scar.png

Taka, better known as Scar, was the main antagonist of The Lion King and the second season of The Lion Guard and a minor antagonist in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and The Lion King 1½. He was Simba's arch-nemesis and paternal uncle, Mufasa's arch-rival and younger brother, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed and the other hyenas' former leader and boss, and Zira's husband.

Personality

Scar was known to be very resentful of Simba and Mufasa because Simba's birth ruined any chance of him becoming king, suggesting why he envied both of them. His resentment and anger towards Mufasa were strong enough that, after he became king by murdering Mufasa, he outlawed his name being uttered in his presence, especially not in a favorable light and for anyone who defied the law, he would physically assault them. He possessed 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.

He was egotistical and prided himself on his intelligence, saying, "As far as brains go, I got the lion's share" and was somewhat of a narcissist, the latter trait being especially prevalent when plotting the murder of Mufasa after Shenzi, Banzai and Ed's failed attempt at murdering young Simba at the Elephant Graveyard, where he mentioned that when he became king, they would see him "for the wonder I am." He had some odd quirks that he was aware of as when young Simba affectionately stated, "You're so weird," Scar told him that he has no idea (though this specific line was an intentional in-joke referring to Reversal of Fortune, in which Jeremy Irons uttered the same line).

He 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 thinking he was 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.

Scar seemed to also develop serious paranoia after Simba returned regarding what he was going to do with him as he tried to attack Simba after he repeated the same words Scar told him when Simba exiled him for murdering Mufasa; there was this fear that Simba would pull a similar stunt that Scar himself pulled on him after he said those words. In addition, when Simba first revealed himself upon his return to Pride Rock before Scar realized who it was, Scar backed away while in disbelief that Mufasa's ghost had returned for revenge. While not a coward at heart, he preferred to run away from situations spiraling out of his control or stronger opponents in hostile pursuit. However, when backed into a corner, he would fight back, though this could also be because he would lose everything if he lost. In the face of his supposed cowardice, he was really strong-willed and determined, defending the throne to his last breath.

He was highly intelligent since he himself liked to boast, easily able to handle situations and conversations to his advantage. However, he was somewhat lazy, hedonistic, selfish, and self-centered, making him be a desperate ruler. However, he was physically weak, by his own admission to Mufasa, which was further demonstrated by his decision to subject Simba to a court rather than fighting him openly. Despite this, he did not appear to mind doing his own hunts as evidenced when he brought a zebra leg for the hyenas. He was a fierce fighter who held his own against the bigger and much younger Simba and came very close to killing him. However, Scar would not hesitate to cheat in a fight, as seen when he flung 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 since he berated them due to their failure to kill Simba and Nala and his angrily kicking them out after Banzai made the mistake of mentioning Mufasa's name. He could barely tolerate the idea of counting on them. Worst of all, when he realized they lied to him about Simba's fate, he gave them a glance that indicated he would deal with them later. 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 Simba that he was responsible for Mufasa's death and then taunting him for it further. He even toyed with Zazu whenever the majordomo tried talking back at him. Despite his negative traits, he tried to encourage Zazu to sing a more "bouncy" song, other than "It's a Small World," 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!").

Trivia

  • In The Lion King 1½, Scar is sometimes thought to be the secondary and tertiary antagonist. This is not true as he makes brief appearances with no dialogue so that technically makes him a minor antagonist. This is the only reason why Shenzi, Banzai and Ed take on the role of the main antagonists of the film (as the story focuses on Timon).
  • Scar was loosely based on Claudius from Hamlet who was also the protagonist's uncle and murdered his brother the king for the sake of his throne. However, unlike the diabolically evil Scar, Claudius had a kind side and genuinely felt he could make the country a better place and was a highly competent king, whereas Scar only cared for himself. Like Scar, Claudius was intelligent, cunning, tricky, charismatic, and cowardly. Unlike the diabolically evil and ruthless Scar, Claudius repented from his wrongdoings and regretted killing his brother, but did not reveal the truth about his brother's murder to his family.
  • He also shared some similarities to Iago from Othello: Both were sadistic, charming, smooth-talking, bitter, envious, and narcissistic.
  • He was also similar to Adolf Hitler; the scene where Scar is overlooking his hyena army mimics the scene where Hitler overlooks his army and stretches out his hand over them.
    • His greed for power is very similar to Hitler when he stands on a cliff and looks 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. In fact, a behind the scenes documentary for the film revealed that they used documentary footage relating to Hitler and Nazi Germany for designing "Be Prepared."
  • Scar also shared similarities to Claw from Kimba the White Lion: Both have orange fur, black manes, and have something wrong with their left eye (Claw's is blind and Scar's has a scar). Unlike Scar, Claw doesn't murder the father for the throne as Kimba's father is already deceased. Both Claw and Scar have hyenas as henchmen (Tom and Tab for Claw and Shenzi, Banzai and Ed for Scar). They both have an affection towards the hero's love interest (Kitty and Nala); however, while Claw is interested in Kitty in the series, Scar is only interested in Nala in the Lion King musical. As well, both of their names sound similar.
  • Technically, he would still be king if he did not kill Simba since Simba was too young to be king; though he would have had to relinquish the title when Simba came of age, thus he would not have been able to choose Kovu to be given the title next.
  • Scar's birth name Taka is Swahili for "dirt," "trash," or "want." This is quite fitting, considering he was a monster and had a desire to rule the Pride Lands.
  • While Jeremy Irons voiced Scar for most of the first film, he damaged his vocal cords 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 Cummings) has his only line that is not laughter.
  • Scar was one of the most popular, memorable, and favored Disney villains.
  • In an original draft for the ending of The Lion King, he was to be shown burned alive when Simba throws him off the ledge, with Scar laughing evilly 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 due to the ending's dark nature for a Disney film. Though it was ultimately cut, The Lion King: 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 would banish Nala from Pride Rock because she ignored his romantic approaches, after which she finds Simba alive with Timon and Pumbaa. This idea was ultimately abandoned as sexual harassment (and sexual advances in particular) was considered improper in a family film 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 is only 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 thought Simba was Mufasa and backed away in disbelief.
  • Originally, he would chase young Simba out of the Pride Lands himself.
  • In early drafts, he would have been a rogue lion not related to Mufasa. However, years later, Rob Minkoff stated that Mufasa and Scar are not related. This caused great shock to fans, most of whom had denied this. Afterwards, in an Honest Trailer video about The Lion King, Minkoff corrected his statement and said that Mufasa and Scar are related after all.
  • The final version of his death (being killed by the hyenas as revenge for blaming them for Mufasa's death) was based on an original draft for Gaston's death 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.
  • His 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 the stampede scene, as Scar grabs Mufasa's paws, his claws leave cuts on them (which disappear shortly after). Later, during his final battle against Simba, Scar actually draws Simba's blood; if looked closely at the scene during when Scar's paw hits Simba's face in slow motion before knocking him down, drops of blood sprays from Simba's mouth. This makes him 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.
  • He 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 during Scar's reign.
  • He is the first Disney villain to be biologically related to one of the heroes in the Disney canon. The previous villains, such as the Evil Queen and Lady Tremaine, were related to the main protagonists only by marriage. Though 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 Ursula's case, it is now only considered semi-canon due to the musical.
  • Scar is one of the few Disney villains in the Kingdom Hearts franchise and the only Disney villain in Kingdom Hearts II not to use the Heartless as his henchmen.
  • When he murdered Mufasa, he was originally supposed to say, "Good night, sweet prince!" immediately before throwing him off, referring to Hamlet. However, it was changed to him smugly saying, "Long live the king!" to Mufasa because the former line seemed too "self-aware" to be taken seriously. In the alternate ending, he was also supposed to say the former line when trying to kill Simba, but it was instead changed to him admitting his crime to Simba.
  • Malcolm McDowell and Tim Curry were once considered to voice Scar.
  • He makes a nod to an earlier film starring Jeremy Irons titled Reversal of Fortune. When young Simba remarks that Scar is weird, he replies, "You have no idea." The character played by Irons makes exactly the same response to this statement in Reversal of Fortune, though this would probably not be realized by younger viewers.
  • As explained in "Lions of the Outlands," during his reign, he shared the knowledge of the Roar of the Elders with Zira.
    • The fact that he lost the Roar of the Elders for evil use can perfectly back up his line "As far as brains go, I got the lion's share. But when it comes to brutal strength... I'm afraid I'm at the shallow end of the gene pool."
  • Throughout the first film, Simba never realized Scar's true colors until near the end.

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