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The Lion King Storyline That Could've Changed Everything

Warning: Spoilers for "The Lion King" follow.

It is gospel at this point. 

Mufasa rules the land, Simba can't wait to be king, Scar wants a crack at regal power. Scar kills Mufasa, Scar makes Simba think it's his fault, Simba runs off, Scar takes over. Simba grows up far away, Nala runs into Simba and urges him back, Simba returns, Scar is driven off, Simba fulfills his destiny. It's no exaggeration to say "The Lion King," being the enduring phenomenon it is, boasts one of the biggest, most widely recognizable stories in all of American cinema. It's a movie so iconic it's hard to fathom that anything about it could have been different.

But make no mistake: There are about a hundred alternate versions of "The Lion King" filling DVD drawers and streaming catalogs in alternate universes. The film, which had one of Disney's most troubled and erratic production histories, could have been shaped entirely unlike the classic we know and love in our universe. To give just one example, you'd be surprised at what the dynamic between Scar and Simba — and the archetypes both characters fulfill within the narrative — were originally supposed to be.

Scar was originally supposed to raise Simba

Simba's story is a classic enough example of the Hollywood hero's journey to merit mention in screenwriting manuals. But, instead of the honorable prince knight he is in the finished film, Simba could have been a much more typical Matthew Broderick rascal.

As revealed by Disney Theatrical Group president Tom Schumacher in 2017 (via MTV), the reason Broderick was cast as Simba was that the original plan for the character involved him being raised by Scar. "The whole idea was that Simba didn't run off with Timon and Pumbaa," Schumacher said. "Scar was going to kill Simba the same time he kills Mufasa. He's holding Simba in his mouth, and he's about to break his neck. Everyone comes in and says, 'Oh my gosh, you saved him from the stampede!'" In the original plan, Simba was thus meant to "grow up with Scar, and be the goof-off kid. It was all supposed to be this throw-off, kind of Ferris Bueller, goofing around, delightful scamp."

The clip shared by MTV, a conversation excerpt between Schumacher, Broderick and Nathan Lane (who voices Timon) that got scrapped from the "Lion King" Walt Disney Signature Collection release, features Broderick looking rather stunned as he processes the information, which was news to him at the time as it was to us. "The Lion King" reimagined as a John Hughes teen comedy — now there's something that might have been worth shelling out a $260 million remake budget for.